Sat10252014

News

LASD officially green lights full-day kindergarten at Gardner Bullis

Town Crier File Photo Kate Goines, above, teaches a full-day kindergarten class on the Gardner Bullis campus in 2006. Goines helped write the proposal to revive the program at the school next year.
The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Jan. 25 to approve a full-day kindergarten program at Gardner Bullis School for the 2010-2011 school year. The district will offer the full-day kindergarten option first to students living in the Gardner Bullis School attendance area, second to students in the Palo Alto Unified School District who live in Los Altos Hills (to honor an agreement between the school districts) and third to all students in the district through intradistrict transfers.

The district plans to administer two sections of full-day kindergarten, with a limit of 25 students per class. Gardner Bullis will no longer offer a half-day program, but the district is committed to working with families who prefer the half-day option by plaing their children at other schools, according to Superintendent Tim Justus. Several district kindergarten teachers attended the Jan. 25 school board meeting to voice their support for the program. Their support, however, was contingent on the board’s approval of an aide in each full-day class. Board members approved both the program and the addition of classroom aides, estimated to cost the district $20,000 to $25,000. The two current Gardner Bullis kindergarten teachers, Amy Lile and Kate Goines, wrote the proposal for the full-day option based on their experiences teaching at the district’s full-day kindergarten pilot program, which ended in 2008 due to budget constraints. The full-day kindergarten program would begin as a half-day program August through October, then evolve into a full-day program in November. The reasoning behind beginning the program as a half-day is to provide more individualized attention to students during the afternoon to ease them into the full day at their own speed, said Jeff Baier, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Board members offered their support for the full-day kindergarten program because Gardner Bullis has the space needed to absorb a full-day program, without additional facility costs or the need to import another portable classroom. Gardner Bullis needs the full-day program, board members said, to strengthen its student population. Due to low kindergarten enrollment this year, Gardner offers only one section of kindergarten. Board members said they would like eventually to expand the program to the district’s other campuses. “I wish that we could do this at more schools,” said Trustee Mark Goines. “I am happy we can at least continue the program and start the process again.” Contact Traci Newell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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