In the week from May 21 to May 28, enrollment in Arvada’s Weber Elementary’s half-day kindergarten program dropped to zero — with each of the six families who had enrolled their children in …
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To learn more about full-day kindergarten and how to enroll a student in full-day programs, visit jeffcopublicschools.org/schools/enrollment
In the week from May 21 to May 28, enrollment in Arvada’s Weber Elementary’s half-day kindergarten program dropped to zero — with each of the six families who had enrolled their children in half-day kindergarten reenrolling their children in the full-day program.
The change resulted when Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation on May 21 that will utilize state finances to fund tuition for full-day kindergarten students.
“Everyone jumped at the opportunity, and that was really exciting,” said principal Lisa Malloy.
Schools across Jeffco are seeing similar reenrollments, such as Golden’s Mitchell Elementary, where principal Samantha Hollman said the legislative change has made a huge difference for families.
“We have a handful of families who were going to wait a year that can start now,’” she said. “And we’ve had about ten students switch over from half-day to full-day.”
Funds from the legislation will go to all district schools, including charter schools, covering the costs of kindergarten programs and eliminating enrollment fees for families. Previously, half-day kindergarten in Jefferson County was free for families while full-day kindergarten was associated with a monthly fee of $300.
“I think it’s great, because the families who can’t afford the fee don’t have to have that worry,” said Tina Steinbach, school secretary at Belmar School of Integrated Arts in Lakewood. “They were very excited about that.”
All students are guaranteed a full-day kindergarten placement in their neighborhood school. Families who have already enrolled in a half-day program can reenroll in a full-day kindergarten program in their neighborhood school or at a choice-enrollment school, if space is available.
Private schools will not be included in the funding and will continue charging tuition for full-day kindergarten students. However, several of them offer tuition assistance programs for families who cannot afford tuition.
Meanwhile, though many schools have seen a decline in half-day kindergarten enrollment, all district schools will continue to offer the program to those who are interested.
“Some families want their children to get some of that experience, but may not feel like their child is ready for a full day of school,” Malloy said.
She added that full-day kindergarten has many benefits, as well, providing students with opportunities they do not have in half-day programs.
“They can fully participate in all the goodies, like specials and the afternoon fieldtrips,” she said. “They get more of the school experience.”
“We get to know the students and learn about who they are earlier, because we have them for the whole day,” Hollman said. “Exciting times are coming for us next year.”
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