Kindergarten age requirements changeChanges in admittance requirements for potential kindergarten students won’t affect Dickinson Public School substantially, a DPS official said, but added there are concerns over where to house elementary students for the upcoming year.
Changes in admittance requirements for potential kindergarten students won’t affect Dickinson Public School substantially, a DPS official said, but added there are concerns over where to house elementary students for the upcoming year.
Students have to be a month older to start kindergarten in the fall. They must now be 5 years old before Aug. 1, the state Legislature decided.
According to testimony regarding House Bill 1378, the bill discussing the change, lawmakers felt changing the date would allow students to be more “socially and emotionally ready” for kindergarten.
Enrollment for new kindergarten students begins Monday, said Doug Sullivan, DPS superintendent.
“We want parents to be aware it is an earlier birth date,” Sullivan said. “We’re not anticipating a significant impact, but we wouldn’t want someone to have to waste part of their day to come over here.”
In conjunction with the kindergarten enrollment, Sullivan said information will be provided regarding a shortage of classrooms due to a booming elementary population. There have been 166 additional elementary students since May.
“The Dickinson Public School District needs to have access to two new additional classrooms for elementary next year,” Sullivan said. “The administration has been discussing that and trying to come up with solutions on where we’re going to house these two classrooms.”
Though the district has called for bids to add additional classrooms to Lincoln and Jefferson to accommodate the growing elementary population, the additions will not be available until the fall of 2011.
“Last year we actually projected a kindergarten class of 220 and ended up with 260,” he said. “This year, based on our projections and live birth rates, we’re projecting a kindergarten class around 200 students.”
Options to be presented to parents include: Moving two classrooms of fifth-graders to Berg Elementary School one year early, having two classrooms of kindergarten enrolled at Berg for one year (2010-2011), with those students transferring to Lincoln or Jefferson elementaries the following year, when the building additions are complete and space is available, according to DPS information.
Information will also be provided to parents of fourth-grade students as well. Those filling out the questionnaire should have them returned to either the child’s elementary school teacher or to the Central Administration Office.
The classrooms that could be used have activities assigned to them, but they would be relocated, Sullivan said, adding that classrooms wouldn’t be overly cramped.
Dickinson resident Melissa Frenzel, who will be admitting her 5-year-old daughter into kindergarten, said she was unaware of the change in age requirements, but said she has concerns over the space issues.
“I’ve heard good things pretty much about every school, but it’s the class size that scares me,” Frenzel said. “Kindergarten is really important; it’s their head start of where they get to go. If there’s not enough one-on-one time, are they going to have problems down the road?”
Sullivan said anyone with concerns or questions can contact him at 701-456-0002.
Kindergarten registration runs next week from Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day at the Central Administration Office at 444 Fourth St. W.