West Side News

All-day kindergarten launch planned for 2015-16

District also aims to start college credit program for high schoolers the same year


Planning is underway for a potential start of all-day every-day kindergarten in South-Western City School District, as the district also studies offering an expanded program for students to earn college credits while in high school.

Updates on both programs were given Feb. 15 at the school board's annual "visioning" meeting.

Deputy Superintendent David Stewart presented a draft timeline for offering the all-day kindergarten program.

The timeline represents "our current thinking of where we see the process heading" in order to begin offering all-day kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year.

During the summer of 2014, the district will be transitioning to the new elementary school buildings constructed in the first phase of the districtwide facilities project.

In the last four months of 2014, the board would receive reports on classroom space and transportation issues and a policy review would be conducted, including developing options for parents who want to opt out of the all-day program, Stewart said.

One potential opt out option is to offer a half-day every day program for math and literacy instruction, he said.

The board would take action to approve an all-day program in January 2015, followed by a formal announcement and a set of community meetings held in January and February, Stewart said. Registration would begin in February.

"We've found nothing so far that would stop us from offering all-day kindergarten in 2015-16," Superintendent Bill Wise said.

The district's budget would support the expanded kindergarten program, including the hiring of additional kindergarten teachers, he said.

Wise also presented the board with a potential idea of creating a program in which high school students could attend a half-day program to earn college credits in courses offered through a partnership with a local college.

Students from each of the district's four high schools would attend the program for half a day and attend their home school the rest of the day, Wise said.

The program would be "the next step" in the district's stated goal that every student leave South-Western schools with some college credit, he said.

It would be more efficient and economical for the program to be offered at one school with all of the participants bused to the site rather than try to offer it at each of the high school buildings, Wise said.

Central Crossing High School could be a possible location, since it has sufficient space to accommodate the program, he said.

The program would be similar to one offered at Hilliard's Innovative Learning Center through a partnership with Columbus State Community College, Wise said.

Planning for South-Western's program could begin this April with a target of presenting it to parents in December and January and beginning the program in the 2015-16 school year, he said.

"Obviously there are significant logistics involved," Wise said. "So we're talking about it theoretically at this point," Wise said.

The board gave its informal consent for the administration to begin studying the feasibility of the program.