WCSD to Implement Free Full-Day Kindergarten District-Wide in 20 - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

WCSD to Implement Free Full-Day Kindergarten District-Wide in 2015-2016

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From the Washoe County School District: 

Under the leadership of the Washoe County School District (WCSD) Board of Trustees and Superintendent Traci Davis, and as part of its continuing commitment to ensuring academic success for all of its students, the Washoe County School District will expand free full-day kindergarten to all of its elementary schools beginning this school year.

“Kindergarten represents such an important time in young students’ lives,” said John Mayer, president of the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees. “It is part of their introduction to formal education, and it can help set the tone for their academic careers. The more support we can provide in those early years, the better it is for our students.”

“This is a crucial part of our mission to provide a world-class education to each and every one of our 63,000 students,” said Superintendent Davis. “Access to free full-day kindergarten is important and will be a complement to interventions being made possible through legislation of the ‘Read by 3’ program. Full-day kindergarten helps our youngest scholars to begin their academic journeys with the resources and support they need to be successful. We are very proud to be able to offer this to our families.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval signed legislation in the 2015 session expanding full-day kindergarten throughout the state to be fully implemented by the 2016-17 school year. Because Trustees and Superintendent Davis agree that early education is crucial to the success of students, WCSD is accelerating the implementation of the governor’s plan and is putting the legislation in place one year sooner.

“I am thrilled that all families in Washoe County will now have equal access to free full-day kindergarten,” said Sen. Debbie Smith (D-Sparks), a longtime education advocate. “We know full-day kindergarten provides a strong foundation for academic success later on, and I am so proud that Washoe County will be offering this opportunity to families for the upcoming school year.”

“Universal full-day kindergarten was a priority of the 2015 Legislature to ensure children spend more time in the classroom and meet our requirement that all students read at grade level by third grade,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno). “I applaud the Washoe County School District for implementing this program this year rather than phasing it in.”

At a meeting of WCSD leadership earlier this week, Nevada Department of Education Deputy Superintendent for Student Achievement Steve Canavero praised the District for fully implementing the free full-day kindergarten program one year early.

“This action will help even more students find success in the classroom, and will bring needed resources to students that much sooner,” Dr. Canavero said. “I applaud your efforts on behalf of your students.”

WCSD has offered a number of options to its families in the past, including state-funded full-day kindergarten at some schools, half-day kindergarten, and tuition-based full-day kindergarten classes. But with help from the state’s expansion of the full-day kindergarten program, Zoom School funding, and the general fund, the District will make free full-day kindergarten available in each of its elementary schools beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. WCSD is communicating information about this new opportunity to families whose children will be attending kindergarten this year.

“I am so grateful the District was able to bring full-day kindergarten to fruition a year ahead of schedule,” said Breanne Read, whose daughter will start kindergarten this fall. “My daughter was only going to be attending half-day morning kindergarten due to the high demand for—and low availability of—full-day kindergarten at her school. Now she will have all the benefits of a full-day program where she will be better equipped with the skills she needs to start her educational journey. What a great surprise to end the summer!”

From the Washoe County School District 

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