Education

Lazovick: Full Day Kindergarten Would Require $5 Million in Construction Costs

3d74e9bf955eb049dba1_DSC01341.JPG
3d74e9bf955eb049dba1_DSC01341.JPG

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - In the midst of an evaluation of all programs in the district, Superintendent Russell Lazovick presented to the board of education findings regarding the option for full day kindergarten in the district, recognizing it would require doubling the number of classrooms and staff to accommodate projections of students in the coming years.

“There is no doubt that a full day program would benefit every student further,” he said. “Most of the research has to do with students who are underperforming, and we have to address issues earlier. There are critical skills that must be mastered by third grade.”

Lazovick said studies say students in full day kindergarten are more connected with school in the later years than those who are in a half day program

Sign Up for E-News

“In a full day program, students are less likely to need special services, but long term cognitive growth is not connected between half day versus full day, it is more how they are exposed and formative experiences,” he said.

Lazovick said the studies into the district has shown that there are differences between students in first grade after the half day program, and those who enter the district for the first time in first grade, but everything levels out in terms of scoring by third grade.

“At that point, they are all performing overall like their grade level peers,” he said. “One of the things we are thinking of asking when we do registration is what students did before grade one.”

Lazovick cited a number of benefits to full day kindergarten, including greater exposure to content areas, higher grades and GPA through the later grades, stronger reading and writing skills in later grades and higher achievement on assessments.

Based on surveys of stakeholders in the district, teachers say that with full day kindergarten they have more time to get to know students, students developed literacy skills faster and there is greater satisfaction with the overall schedule.

For parents, they believed full day kindergarten makes students better prepared for first grade, more comfortable with the school, more self-confident and more excited about the content.

But in addition to that, Lazovick said, the district has to be able to reasonably handle the change to full day kindergarten.

The current half day program, in 2017, had 414 kindergarten students, and the recent demographer report estimated a range of 392 students in 2018 and 382 students in 2022. Currently, he said, they use 14 classrooms for kindergarten.

If the district were to move to full day kindergarten, Lazovick said, the projection of students would be as high as 585 students. For 25 students per classroom, they would need 24 classrooms.

“But that is not ideal, so we would really need about 28 classrooms, and double the staff,” he said.

An initial investment to handle that, Lazovick said, would require $4 to $5 million in construction costs, in addition to $980,000 for additional staff plus contractual increases in the future.

“There would be increases to special education costs because we don’t currently service all students who are special needs in kindergarten,” he said. “And there will be more students coming through for materials and other items, so we are more than doubling the amount of materials.”

Lazovick said the move to full day kindergarten would require an increase in evaluations and administrator time; an increase in technology; the need for more professional development; an impact to transportation; and more.

“It is hard to say we can answer yes to the facilities and staffing,” he said. “There is clearly a significant difference between the half day and full day programs.”

In answer to a board member question about when they could feasibly bring full day kindergarten to the district if the decision was made to move forward, Lazovick said they would have to go to a referendum to get the money needed to do the construction and other improvements.

“We have to look at the schools and see how we are going to add the classrooms and present that to the community,” he said.

Lazovick said they are looking at a year-long process to get something that can be voted on in 2019, and then construction would take about a year-and-a-half to complete.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bridgewater/Raritan

Upcoming Events

Thu, July 19, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Thu, July 19, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster,

2018 Members’ Non-Juried Exhibition & Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, July 19, 10:30 AM

Bridgewater Library, Bridgewater

Moving Out: How to Live on Your Own

Health & Wellness Other

Somerville Woman Arrested for Shoplifting from Macy's, According to Bridgewater Police Report

July 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Somerville woman was arrested for allegedly shoplifting more than $400 worth of merchandise from Macy's at the Bridgewater Commons Mall July 7, according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police.

Sara Morales-Silva, 51, was charged with shoplifting after she was found with about $435.04 worth of merchandise from the store.

She was processed and released pending a ...

Creating a Dynamite Job Portfolio

July 18, 2018

The job market continues to change, as does the way we look for work. This Workshop examines the value of presenting yourself as a complete package by using a resume as an introduction to an employer and backing it up with a portfolio presented at the interview.

How You Will Benefit:

Learn how to brand yourself and define yourself using descriptive language.
Explore the essential ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 15, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

Take Action to Reduce Debt

In our last article, we broached the subject of debt and the township’s reliance – or over-reliance – on debt to fund our yearly expenditures for items such as roads. So, ok, we want to reduce our reliance on debt moving forward, especially as the cost of borrowing is rising. What’s the solution?

Well, there’s no magic wand we can wave to suddenly end ...

Is the Mediterranean Diet Still the Best for Heart Healthy Eating?

The Mediterranean diet has long been the standard for heart healthy eating.  It is a diet that emphasizes olive oil, fresh vegetables, nuts, whole grains over refined grains, fish and plant-based protein over red meat, herbs and spices to flavor food over salt, and fresh fruit for dessert instead of refined sweets. The US News and World Report even named the Mediterranean diet its ...

Celebrate Summer with Freedom & Responsibility

Parents and students rejoice!

School is out and everyone can now experience a great sense of freedom. Kids want to be outside enjoying summer weather and; although it’s the most wonderful season for non-academic activities involving swimming, traveling, and hiking to name a few, let us not forget that summer loss is a serious long-term result of not opening a book or writing for eight ...

Unique Skill Set Offers Students an Advantage

One of our SAT prep students recently gained a lot of attention for being accepted to all seven of the Ivy League schools to which she had applied, as well as to Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) She has chosen to attend M.I.T. and major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Of course, Diana had earned stellar SAT scores and had a most impressive ...

Rutgers Hikes Tuition, Student Fees for 2018-2019 Academic Year

July 19, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University Board of Governors approved a 2.3 percent hike in tuition and fees, as well as increases for dorm rooms and meals, for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The increase now brings the annual cost for undergraduate students to $14,975, which is $337 more than this past school year.

Student housing will increase 1.9 percent, and dining ...