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School board to again pick up discussion on expanding kindergarten program

By Staff | Dec 5, 2008

The Rugby School Board will resume discussion this Tuesday, Dec. 9 about possibly expanding the district’s kindergarten program to five days a week beginning next term at Ely Elementary.

The district currently offers four days a week of classes for all kindergarteners and a fifth day of class for those students determined to need additional instruction through a student learning assessment conducted by teachers.

This is the second year the district has offered the four-day-a-week program at Ely.

Over 90 percent of school districts across the state have expanded their kindergarten program to every day. Jeff Lind, Rugby school superintendent, believes the driving force behind that decision is the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI), which now funds full-week, full-day kindergarten. In past years, DPI funded just half-day kindergarten.

Last year, the Rugby district used grant dollars to offset the cost of expanding the program from every other day to four days a week. This year, DPI funds are helping cover costs.

Getting input

School administrators spent the past few weeks getting input from teachers regarding the possibility of expanding the program, and a short survey was given to parents whose children recently completed the kindergarten program. That input and data will be shared with board members at the Dec. 9 meeting, which begins at 8 p.m. at the Jr.-Sr. High Library.

Expanding the program doesn’t come without its critics, though. Lind said some of the concerns include the argument that we are pushing kids too far, too fast. Critics question if the children are physically and mentally ready to go through the rigors of being in a classroom all day for five straight days.

However, Lind, who has been involved in education for many years, believes students are quite capable of making the adjustment. And the additional class time used to build a solid foundation of skills will prove beneficial — maybe not right away, but in time. And data does support that claim.

Of course, kindergarten is not a requirement, and parents can hold their students out of the program, if they wish. However, a good number do value its importance in preparing children for elementary education. Also, Rugby is unique in the fact it also has a parochial grade school — Little Flower Catholic School. There, kindergarten is offered three days a week.

Even though the DPI has started to fund full-week kindergarten, the state has not yet adjusted its curriculum standards. It still centers around half-day instruction. Lind said those changes will eventually be made.

Whether the board makes a decision at this week’s meeting to expand the program next year remains to be seen.

Other agenda items of note include a report from the district’s auditing firm; and representatives of architecture and engineering firms from Minot will go over building improvements for the board to consider.

City reminds residents of snow removal policies

The region has received a good share of snow so far, and likely more will be coming in the weeks and months ahead.

The Rugby Street Department wants to remind residents about the city’s snow removal policy. Snow removal will not begin until after the main snowfall or storm is over, unless an emergency arises. The city has designated a handful of streets as emergency snow routes, including Main Ave.; Highway 3 and 3rd Ave. S.E.; 10th St. S.W.; and 1st St. N.E. These routes will be cleared first.

After larger snowfalls, plows will make one pass down the middle of the streets to enable all streets to have at least one lane of traffic open within 12 hours. Eventually, streets will be cleared. To save time, snow is moved to the center of the street in the central business district and then hauled away. Routes near the hospital, schools and business district will be cleared first, and then residential areas. Motorists should move vehicles off streets following significant snowfalls or storms to enable plows to clear the roadways. Vehicles not moved will be tagged.

Property owners are responsible for clearing their sidewalks by 2 p.m. the day following a snow storm, and snow from sidewalks and driveways should not be piled in the streets. Snow should be placed in yards or boulevards. For more information about the snow removal policies, contact City Hall at 776-6181.

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