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White Bear Lake Area Schools
4855 Bloom Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Phone: 651-407-7500

Kindergarten Update
Parent Resources - FAQs - Rationale - Supporting Research


Free all-day kindergarten for WBLAS students beginning in fall 2013

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.

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.

Parent Resources


FAQs


I am already registered for at least one of the kindergarten options, what do I do?
I have not registered. How do I register?
Where will free all-day kindergarten and half-day kindergarten be offered?
What if my home school doesn't offer half-day kindergarten?
How will half-day and all-day kindergarten options differ?
Why would I choose to have my child attend all day - what will be the advantage?
Why is this being instituted?
Will Extended Day before- and after-school care still be available?
If I have a special education student, will they receive the same IEP services if they are in all-day kindergarten or half-day kindergarten?
If my child goes to a Cluster (setting III) special education program and half day K is not available in my child's school, what will inclusion look like?
Where do I get more information?

Additional questions can be directed to any elementary school principal or the White Bear Lake Area Schools enrollment center at 651-407-7674 or enrollment@isd624.org.

I am already registered for at least one of the kindergarten options, what do I do?

You will be receiving a letter from your neighborhood principals letting you know all the options you have to get your child on the right education path:
  • If you have already registered for Kindergarten Plus, your child will be automatically enrolled in free all-day kindergarten at your current school. Any deposit will be refunded to you by March 22.
  • If you have already registered for half-day kindergarten, you have the option of enrolling in free all-day kindergarten. If you prefer to remain in a half-day program, it will be offered at the following sites: Hugo Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Matoska International IB World School and Otter Lake Elementary. You will receive a letter from your school's principal the week of March 18-22 that outlines your next steps.
  • If you have already registered for Kindergarten Extended Day, any deposit will be refunded by March 22. You may either choose free all-day kindergarten or half-day kindergarten (without Extended Day care). If you prefer to remain in a half-day program, it will be offered at the following sites: Hugo Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Matoska International IB World School and Otter Lake Elementary. You will receive a letter from your school's principal the week of March 18-22 that outlines your next steps.
If you have not received a letter by March 22, please contact your neighborhood elementary school.

I have not registered. How do I register?
Please register by calling your neighborhood elementary school or our Centralized Enrollment Center at 651-407-7674. Find enrollment information here.

Where will free all-day kindergarten and half-day kindergarten be offered?
Free all-day kindergarten will be available at all sites. Half-day kindergarten will also be available at Hugo Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Matoska International IB World School and Otter Lake Elementary.

What if my home school doesn't offer half-day kindergarten?
Birch Lake Elementary families who would like half-day will receive free kindergarten busing to Lincoln Elementary. Lakeaires Elementary, Vadnais Heights Elementary and Willow Lake Elementary families who would like half-day kindergarten will receive free kindergarten busing to Matoska International IB World School. Families may choose to attend any half-day kindergarten site if they provide their own transportation.

How will half-day and all-day kindergarten options differ?
Both options will have low class sizes, innovative programming and award-winning partnerships for which our schools are known. The all-day program will have greater access to specialists currently available for grades 1-5, including music, media, physical education and world language.

Why would I choose to have my child attend all day - what will be the advantage?
Years of research indicate that additional time in the classroom can boost young children's achievement levels, as well as have positive effects on social skills and behavior.

Why is this being instituted?
For nearly a decade, our 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 us. We believe there are compelling reasons to provide all students with the opportunity for a full-day kindergarten experience. 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. Years of research indicate that additional time in the classroom can boost young children's achievement levels, as well as have positive effects on social skills and behaviors. Making all-day kindergarten free for all families assures it is equally available, regardless of ability to pay.

Will Extended Day before- and after-school care still be available?
The Extended Day program will be available before and after the full school day. Extended Day will not be available as a half-day program.

If I have a special education student, will they receive the same IEP services if they are in all-day kindergarten or half-day kindergarten?
The services on the IEP are determined by the team, according to the educational needs of each individual student. They are not based on the length of time the student attends school. Some special education students may require additional support if they are participating in all day K. The IEP case manager and program coordinator will work with the IEP team to determine any additional support needed. If you have questions, contact ECSE Supervisor Margie McMahon at 651-653-3101 or Margie.mcmahon@isd624.org.

If my child goes to a Cluster (setting III) special education program and half day K is not available in my child's school, what will inclusion look like?
If you choose a half day program for your child and it is not offered in the school where your child has been placed in a cluster program, your child will have the same opportunities for mainstream experiences for a half day in the full day program at the cluster site. If you have questions, contact ECSE Supervisor Margie McMahon at 651-653-3101 or Margie.mcmahon@isd624.org.

Where do I get more information?
Each elementary school will host special kindergarten information sessions. If you have any immediate questions, please contact your school principal or our enrollment center with registration questions at 651-407-7674 or at enrollment@isd624.org.


Rationale

For nearly a decade, our 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 us. Four years ago, we dramatically improved our primary grade class sizes, moving from among the highest class sizes in the Twin Cities to among the lowest. This was accomplished with community support and by reallocating money internally, reducing the District's costs on administration and support staff.

We believe there are compelling reasons to provide all students with the opportunity for a full day kindergarten experience. First, 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. Further key points include:

  • Years of research indicate that additional time in the classroom can boost young children's achievement levels, as well as have positive effects on social skills and behaviors.
  • Making all-day kindergarten free for all families assures it is equally available, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Families are increasingly interested in all-day kindergarten; this year more than half of our families selected all-day kindergarten.
  • The Governor has proposed funding for all-day kindergarten, and his initiative appears to have strong support in the Legislature.


Supporting Research