Summit Schools Host Full Day Kindergarten Town Hall Meeting Tonight

This meeting will be held at Jefferson Primary Center from 6:30 to 9 p.m. A panel will educate the Summit community on impact of Full Day Kindergarten and answer questions.

Summit Public Schools will hold a Town Hall meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. to educate the Summit community on the impact of Full Day Kingergarten on the students and the city.

This meeting will be held at Jefferson Primary Center, located at 110 Ashwood Ave., from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

This panel will present the educational, societal and community benefits of a FDK program, the financial and operational costs to Summit, the district’s facilities plan, and where FDK fits into the Board of Education’s priorities and goals, according to school officials. Additionally, early childhood education consultant, Kathie Priestly, will share an overview of FDK from a national perspective.

Board of Education Vice President Gloria Ron-Fornes will serve as the evening’s moderator.

Panelist include:

Celia Colbert, Board of Education Member and Education Committee Chair

Felix Gil, Principal of Summit’s Primary Centers

Julie Glazer, Assistant Superintendent

George Lucaci, Board of Education President

Louis Pepe, Business Administrator

Kathie Priestley, Early Childhood Education Consultant

Following the panel discussion, there will be an hour-long question and answer session. Refreshments will be served.

Tyler D January 23, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Societal benefits? It is not the business of the schools to take care of our society. We the people are supposed to do that. They should educate our kids as efficiently as possible. Kindergarten is not even required. The job of getting our kids ready for school is the parents. The wealthy parents of Summit should not burden future tax payers with more government schooling.
Dorrie gagnon January 23, 2013 at 01:41 PM
The STATE standards have changed forcing children to learn more before 1st grade, 2nd grade etc. The need for a full day program for our Kindergarten children is necessary to educate them so they are ready for 1st grade. This has nothing to do with being wealthy or poor. It has to do with what is right for our future children of Summit.
jeff goldstein January 23, 2013 at 04:01 PM
FDK would be tremendously expensive to all of the taxpayers of Summit so a very small minority would get a few months of free baby sitting. How much of the increased time in FDK would be taken up with nap time and play time? Only one of all the surrounding communities has FDK and they would like to eliminate it due to the expense. Currently there are many options available for parents who want FDK. I am sure that some even subsidize low income families.
Tyler D January 23, 2013 at 04:27 PM
There are solid studies showing that the benefits of this approach a limited to 1st grade. Performance then falls back to the original level in subsequent grades. Also, since this is to prepare kids for 1st grade, maybe we should also have the schools prepare our children for kindergarten. We can just keep working out way back to birth. That way, the parent has less and less to do for their kids.
Marion Knott January 23, 2013 at 04:44 PM
As a former first grade teacher and now for many years, a volunteer in Kdg. first and second, I see how the kindergarten curriculum has changed. I see virtually no playtime. The teachers will say that pre school has taken the place of kindergarten but there are still kids who weren't ready for certain concepts in pre school and are not ready for the curriculum of today's kindergarten. My husband's district for years was the only full day kdg. in Suffolk County, New York. The parents loved it and the teachers did have playtime. It would be nice if Summit act like a leader and use full day kindergarten to ensure that playtime is observed. There is a reason for playing with blocks or using an easel. I hope that tonight the k teachers in your district will spell out their current curriculum and what a full day curriculum would look like. Let me know. My daughter lives in Summit but has no kids that are afftected by this. Teachers don't baby sit. They teach!
Tanya Pulver January 23, 2013 at 05:20 PM
I am shocked at how many people couldn't care less how much an expensive proposal such as FDK costs. Get real, people! This is how our country has become insolvent. Spending, spending, spending on questionable programs, financed with debt or increasing taxation. It's time to CUT government spending, not increase it ... residents are moving away from Summit due to the ridiculously high property tax burden here, and the exodus will accelerate if FDK is implemented and taxes increase again. For my family, this will probably be the last straw and we will move and take our tax dollars with us. It is almost too absurd to even argue about the merits of FDK ... at such a young age, children SHOULD spend time playing and exploring, and this is something which can and should occur at home, under the supervision of parents, NOT at the expense of taxpayers. If parents want or need their children in school all day in kindergarten, that is fine, but they should pay for it at one of the many private options available.
Marion Knott January 23, 2013 at 05:50 PM
In my husband's experience FDK got increased aid for full day kdg. I don't know how NJ does it. In my opinion the lack of a full day kdg. may make future buyers in Summit decide not to purchase property there. My beef about FDK is that many districts eliminate the play factor and make it all academic. You can do a lot more readiness with kids in full day. Imagine your child has no full day kdg. and moves to a district where as first graders they are lacking in many of the skills that their peers have had in FDK. Just make sure that if you do adopt FDK it will not be purely academic. Don't rely on these comments administrators and Board members. Go out and visit FDK in other districts. While I always liked the "old" concepts of a three or four hour kdg. that concept fit well with the first grade curriculum of the time. So, when you attend tonights meeting you will know what it all means. I wish I could be there and put in my "two cents." I have no children or grandchildren in FDK or part time kdg. But I am an educator and my volunteer job three times a week is to work with those K kidi who are not ready for the academic curriculum they are faced with. The majority of the kids in my schools kdg. can handle the new k curriculum but it saddens me to see that the only playtime is recess.
Marion Knott January 23, 2013 at 05:50 PM
FTK not FDK. Sorry!
Tyler D January 23, 2013 at 06:09 PM
The problem with property values is that they are more complex than that. To expound: 1. If there are only about 300 kids in kindergarten and only half of those families care about full-day, then, at most 150 properties may be up related bidding. Then, many of those may already live in Summit. 2. The cost will increase property taxes on everyone in Summit. The price of homes must be reduced to make up for the higher property taxes since that is a major decision factor give that Summit has the highest in Union county. 3. Many come to Summit, used the schools (kindergarten included) and move away leaving us all with the additional long-term costs.
Marion Knott January 23, 2013 at 07:10 PM
As I said before, explore what aid N.J. gives towards FDK. My concern is the curriculium. Visit school districts nearby and see how they handle FDK. When my husband was supt. in his district that had the only FDK in Suffolk Co. NY it's true that while the K kids in his district were ahead of the K kids in three or four hour k, those kids tested the same by third grade. But that was years ago when FDK was a rarity. Today someone decided that FDK was an academic program so if you have a child from the Summit part time K move to a district when he/she is in first grade, they might be at a disadvantage. The children are our future, let's not equate them in dollars and cents. I pay taxes in two communities and I have no children in schools. I have no complaints tax wise just education wise. If that makes sense.
Tyler D January 23, 2013 at 07:26 PM
RE: "explore what aid N.J. gives towards FDK" - State Aid = Taxes. So, when I eventually find a job (while still paying property taxes) I will have more state taxes to pay. Yeah! That is money I could use to pay for summer camp, math tutoring, birthdays, etc. I have my priorities and FDK is not one of them. So, I should pay for it anyway? RE: "that was years ago when FDK was a rarity" That was in the 1970s when it started. In 2010, studies continue to show the same result. RE: "children are our future, let's not..." The children are our future, lets not saddle them with more debt, less inheritance, less money saved for college and instead paid for over priced, unwanted FDK. The only sensible solution, is to give individual families their on choice to pay for FDK. Let those who consume the service pay for it.
rmh January 25, 2013 at 02:10 AM
FYI - for all of you who are unaware of it, state law mandates only half a day of kindergarten, ergo parents would have the option of sending their kids only half a day if Summit offered FDK. Bacause of that law, all mandatory subjects must be taught in either the am or pm (at the discretion of the school) so that if a parent opts to only send thier child for half a day, he/she will not miss anything. Bottom line, the reamianing time is filled with "teacher's choice", a fancy name for restime and playtime. That can be done at home or in a private setting, not with taxpayers dollars.
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