Reed supports Governor's full-day kindergarten plan - December 05, 2006

Record Number: 2916
Displayed from: Dec 05, 2006 , until: Dec 18, 2006

The following news release is from the Indiana Department of Education: Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed issued the following statement regarding Gov. Mitch Daniels' proposed implementation plan for full-day Kindergarten: The Governor's plan is a thoughtful three-year roll out that should assure full-day Kindergarten statewide for all who wish to attend, Reed said. Starting with students from low-income families is a good first step since research has shown that is where early learning opportunities can have the greatest impact, though clearly all children benefit from the experience. For months, Reed has worked with Daniels, key lawmakers and other stakeholders to develop a full-day Kindergarten (FDK) implementation plan that was logistically and financially feasible for local schools as well as Indiana taxpayers. Reed repeatedly has stressed that FDK must be fully funded for every school, voluntary for every parent and high quality for every student. Reed is credited with doing her homework on the issue, in-part by contacting each of Indiana's 293 local school superintendents this fall to gauge their districts' capacity and concerns related to implementing FDK. A recent survey showed many schools would need time to provide the teachers, classrooms and transportation needed for FDK. News of Daniels' announcement came as Reed was visiting Kindergarteners in Lafayette, Ind. part of her statewide K-12 education listening tour to gather feedback on FDK and other critical issues expected to be addressed by the Indiana General Assembly during the upcoming 2007 legislative session. Daniels telephoned Reed this morning to discuss final details of their top joint legislative priority prior to the official announcement. The two have repeatedly pointed to a growing body of research on the benefits of Kindergarten programs: increased academic achievement; improved attendance; fewer and better special education referrals; improved social skills resulting in fewer classroom disruptions; and fewer grade retentions.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.