The White Bear Lake Area Schools will offer families free all-day, every-day kindergarten beginning in fall 2013. The School Board approved the proposal at its March 11 regular school board meeting.
"Providing free all-day kindergarten to our families is something we as a Board have wanted to do for a number of years" said School Board member Lori Swanson. "Administration has diligently worked to build a sustainable financial plan that will support the rich curricular opportunities for our students."
Free all-day, every-day kindergarten will be available at each of the district's eight elementary sites. Half-day kindergarten will also be available at Hugo Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Matoska International IB World School and Otter Lake Elementary. Half-day sites were selected based on data from a survey sent to all families with incoming kindergarten students.
All-day and half-day options will both have low class sizes, innovative programming and award-winning partnerships for which our schools are known. Students in the all-day program will have greater access to specialists currently available for grades 1-5, including music, media, physical education and world language.
For nearly a decade, the District has considered offering free all-day kindergarten to our families as one strategy to help all students thrive from the beginning of their time with the district. This strategy aligns with the White Bear Lake Area Schools Strategic Plan goal for all children to reach proficiency in reading and math by grade four. Making all-day kindergarten free for all families assures it is equally available, regardless of ability to pay.
"There has been a significant amount of planning that has gone into putting this initiative together" said School Board member Cathy Storey. "I am very excited. I have heard very positive comments from the community."
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Last weekend, students from Central and Sunrise Park Middle School participated in Minnesota's East Metro Regional History Day competition that took place at our very own at White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus. The diverse list of student projects included research on Title IX, morse code, and Gideon v. Wainwright among others. Student information boards were colorful, creative, and chock-full of historical and factual information.
National History Day is an inter-disciplinary research project for students in grades 6-12. History Day teaches students to conduct in-depth research, use primary and secondary sources, read a variety of texts, analyze and synthesize information, and write and present historical content. Students choose a topic that relates to an annual theme, research that topic, and develop their research into one of five presentation categories: research paper, exhibit, documentary, performance, or website. Students may then enter their projects into History Day competitions at school, regional, state and national levels.
Several district students advanced further in the competition and thus qualified for State History Day on Saturday, May 4th at the University of Minnesota.