Kindergarten moves to full day in Seaford

By Ronald MacArthur

Although many students in the Seaford School District have already reported to class, the official first day of classes in the district is Monday, Aug. 30. Students in the balanced calendar (full-year) programs at Central Elementary and the middle school went back to class on Aug. 9. This is the third year for the balanced calendar at Central Elementary School (the first school in the state to have a full-year schedule) and this is the first year for a team of seventh graders to attend school all year. In all, there are more than 135 sixth and seventh grade students taking part in the balanced calendar program at the middle school. District officials are looking at adding a team of eighth graders next year. This will be the first year for students to attend a full day of kindergarten in the district. According to Mellie Kinnamon, director of human resource development and public information, the district is expecting around 260 kindergarten students this year at the four elementary schools in the district - Central (already in session), West Seaford, Frederick Douglass, and Blades. The Seaford School District was one of 10 districts in the state selected for a full-day kindergarten pilot program. According to Kinnamon, the $80,000 state grant will help fund two paraprofessionals, provide additional supplies and provide funding for programs for kindergarten intercession for the balanced calendar program. “We were committed to use Title I funds for full-day kindergarten anyway and with the grant now we may be able to reallocate some of those funds,” she said. The district did hit a stumbling block in preparation for the full day kindergarten at one school in the district - Blades Elementary. Even though the school has recently been renovated and expanded, there is not enough space for the additional students.
The board of education had approved the leasing of portable classrooms, but the portable classrooms will not be in place until November, according to Kinnamon. “We had some trouble with the bid,” she said. “The principal, Susan Nancarrow, has a plan to double some classrooms up and make it work. “The Blades area attendance zone had an influx of students last year,” she added. “We could have transferred some of the students to other schools, but we had just established the zones and didn’t think that was fair.” The district may be going to a referendum next year which could include funds to expand the Blades school. This will also be the first year for a new comprehensive reading program for kindergarten through fifth grade students in the district called Open Court. “This program was selected after a year-long study and all teachers will be trained in it before school opens,” Kinnamon said. The program’s goal is to improved reading test scores among younger students. “We will continue to focus on raising test scores in the district,” she said. “By following the curriculum and remaining focused on learning.” There are also some changes at the middle school with a new system of assistant principals with Kinnamon and Dr. James VanSciver as co-head principals. A new head principal search is under way. An assistant principal has been assigned to each of the three grades in the middle school and the grades will be housed together in the building. Some construction projects are being completed before school starts. Air conditioning is being added in the high school gym and kitchen and a new serving line is being added in the high school cafeteria.

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