FWCS finds first year of full-day k successful - October 09, 2008

Record Number: 4415
Displayed from: Oct 09, 2008 , until: Nov 09, 2008

Fort Wayne Community Schools' investment in full-day kindergarten is paying off in higher student achievement rates, FWCS officials announced Thursday, Oct. 9. By the end of the first year of full-day kindergarten, four out of five students had the reading skills expected at the end of the year. When students began the school year, half that many or two out of every five were reading at the appropriate level. Improvement rates at individual schools ranged from an increase of 26 percentage points from fall to spring to 92 percentage points from fall to spring. The success continued when students returned this fall for first grade with nearly three out of four students still reading at the appropriate level. Some decline is expected from spring to fall because some students regress over the summer and new children join the district. There was no guarantee of success when we decided to invest in full-day kindergarten," Superintendent Wendy Robinson said. "The results are overwhelming. We now know that our investment has already paid off in building a strong academic foundation for students." In the spring of 2007 when state officials announced the state would offer grants to school districts providing full-day kindergarten, FWCS decided to move forward with offering the program to all students even though the grant would not fully cover the cost. In the first year, FWCS spent $1.7 million out of its General Fund on full-day kindergarten to make up the additional expenses not covered by the state grant. Costs to the district this year have not yet been determined. "The expense is a burden for FWCS, but it is one that we believe is necessary for the success of our students," Dr. Robinson said. "As we share our success with state legislators, we hope they see the benefits and begin funding kindergarten students at the same rate as a first- or fifth-grader. Our children deserve it."

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.