November 1, 2014

Elyria
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42°F
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Midview kindergarten enrollment up over 2013

GRAFTON — Kindergarten enrollment at Midview Schools is up, something Superintendent Scott Goggin attributes to moving to an all-day, every-day free program.

Monday marked the first day of classes for Grafton-area students and now, just two days later, Goggin will go to the school board with a request to add a kindergarten class.

Last year, the district had 162 kindergarten students. This year, that number already is at 180 and is projected to grow as students continue enrolling this week and next.

“I believe switching to all-day is going to work well for us,” he said. “It’s making a big difference in our enrollment numbers.”

In March, the district announced that it would end the $2,000 fee for the all-day program starting this fall.

Previously, parents who did not pay the fee could open-enroll their students in another district, pay for private kindergarten or opt for an all-day, every-other-day program.

With changes in curriculum standards and the state mandate known as the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, districts are changing the way they teach young students to avoid playing catch-up while preparing for stringent state tests.

In Elyria, the push for more classroom time for young learners is most visible at Franklin Elementary School on the city’s south side. Thanks to a $1.25 million grant from the Stocker Foundation, the district has started a preschool initiative called New Beginnings for 36 4- and 5-year-olds in the neighborhood.

Elyria has had free all-day, every-day kindergarten since 1998.

The Midview school board will vote whether to approve adding a kindergarten class during its board meeting at 6:30 p.m. today. Goggin said the teacher can be added without expense to the district because there was an open slot for a fourth-grade teaching position.

“We knew we weren’t going to need that 10th fourth-grade class this year and were either going to save the salary or use it for a kindergarten teacher based on enrollment,” he said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.