Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is PYLUSD implementing full-day kindergarten?

  • The PYLUSD full-day kindergarten program will be grounded in developmental research to ensure all students participating receive strong academic foundation instruction as well as additional time for participating in enriched visual and performing arts activities. Through the gift of additional time, students will have the opportunity to interact with other students during purposeful play, physical education, computer labs, library, music and movement, hands-on science, and many other extended lessons.
  • Additionally, it is believed that some families that currently do not send their children to PYLUSD for Kindergarten may choose to do so if the district offers a full-day program. Currently, there are fewer students in kindergarten than in first grade across the district. The missing students go to another program in kindergarten and then return to PYLUSD in first grade.  

 

Does research support extending the day for kindergarten students?

  • There is a great deal of research in support of full-day Kindergarten:
    • Longitudinal data demonstrate that children in full-day kindergarten classes show greater reading and mathematics achievement gains than those in half-day classes. (Walston and West)
    • Full-day kindergarten can produce long-term educational gains, especially for low-income and minority students. (Education Commission of the States)
    • In full-day kindergarten classrooms, teachers have more time to get to know kids and identify and address their learning challenges early. (Center for Evaluation and Education Policy)
  • Below is a list of references to research: The first reference is from WestEd, an educational research organization that provides a helpful overview of the research. Following that are specific citations of various studies done on full day Kindergarten over the past few decades.  

 

How many students are in a full-day kindergarten classroom?  

  • PYLUSD currently implements an Early Bird/Late Bird schedule which allows up to 32 students to be placed in a kindergarten classroom. The size of the full-day kindergarten classroom has not yet been finalized.

 

What is the full-day kindergarten “Focus Group”?

  • The full-day kindergarten “Focus Group” is an advisory group made up of parents, teachers, and PYLUSD site and district administrators. The Focus Group meets regularly to discuss plans for implementing full-day kindergarten district-wide for the 2020-2021 school year.

 

What is the full-day “Kindergarten Committee”?

  • The full-day “Kindergarten Committee” made up of Preppy K, kindergarten, and first-grade teachers. The Kindergarten Committee meets regularly to design plans for implementing the 2020-2021 full-day kindergarten program.

 

Will all elementary schools in PYLUSD implement full-day kindergarten in the 2019-20 school year?

  • No, only five schools will implement full-day for the 2019-2020 school year. The pilot schools include Brookhaven, Glenknoll, Morse, Topaz, and Woodsboro elementary schools.

 

Will all elementary schools in PYLUSD implement full-day kindergarten in the 2020-21 school year?

  • Yes, all PYLUSD elementary schools will adopt a full-day kindergarten schedule for the 2020-2021 school year. For the first time in history, all PYLUSD kindergarten students will have the same daily schedule as the rest of their school.

What are the benefits for teachers of a full-day Kindergarten program?

  • The full-day kindergarten program allows time in the morning for rigorous instruction in the core content areas.  During this time, teachers will work with small groups of students and provide appropriate supports to ensure their success. With a longer school day, teachers can provide intervention for students needing additional time and supports, as well as enrichment for students who demonstrate advanced skills. Students leave kindergarten better prepared for first grade and are used to the longer school day, allowing first-grade teachers to build on the foundation provided by kindergarten teachers.

 

Kindergarten students often need to be assessed individually.  This can be difficult to accomplish in the first few weeks of school as students are still learning routines. What can be done to help get students assessed at the start of the year?

  • Most full-day kindergarten students will be assessed prior to the start of the school year. Each site will contact parents and notify them of the date and time to bring their child to the school.

 

Does a full-day kindergarten program help English Learners?

  • The benefits of full-day kindergarten for English Learners is similar to their English speaking peers. The benefits of full-day kindergarten programs are apparent with academic achievement, decreased grade-level retention, special education referrals, and social and behavioral effects. Students living at the poverty level who were enrolled in full-day kindergarten programs also had the greatest improvement in English vocabulary.

 

How many kindergarten students (in full-day programs) still take naps?

  • Glenview’s full-day kindergarten program and full-day programs outside of PYLUSD do not incorporate naps into the daily schedule.  

 

Will Instructional Aides (teacher’s aides) be provided to help in the classroom?

  • Instructional Aides will not be provided to kindergarten classes.  IA’s will only be assigned for students with IEPs who require additional support.  However, we encourage schools to actively recruit volunteers to help support the classrooms, especially in support of small group instruction.

 

In the current Early Bird/Late Bird model, half-day kindergarten classes, a portion of the day has class sizes of approximately 16 students.  This time is often used to provide small group instruction. With more students in a class, will small group instruction be compromised?

  • Small group instruction will continue to take place in all kindergarten classes throughout the district. Teachers will train groups of students in how to work independently during small group instruction, recruit parents/volunteers to run small groups, and be very strategic in their small group lesson design.  Classroom management is critical in ensuring that groups run effectively, but there are opportunities for small group rotations in both ELA and math during the course of the day. Foundational reading skills practice can be woven into whole group instruction and reinforced during the small group workshop block of time.
  • Current full-day kindergarten schools demonstrate kindergarten students making significant progress on reading assessments as compared to Early Bird/Late Bird

 

What is the average class size in California?

  • California law allows up to 33 students to be placed in one kindergarten. PYLUSD currently allows 32 students in the Early Bird/Late Bird kindergarten model.

 

What is the total amount of increase instructional minutes for students in full-day kindergarten from our current Early Bird/Late Bird model?  What is outlined in the contract?

  • Currently students in Early Bird/Late Bird average 200 minutes a day, five days a week.  Calculating reduced minutes across the year for parent conferences and other minimum days, the total instructional minutes for the year = 36,000.  In full-day kindergarten, students would attend 320 minutes (four days a week) and 260 minutes (on early release days). Calculating reduced minutes across the year for parent conferences and other minimum days, the total instructional minutes for the year = 54,990.