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Jun 19, 2018
Charlton Heights Elementary SchoolPashley Elementary SchoolStevens Elementary SchoolO'Rourke Middle SchoolBH-BL High School

District NEWS

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District studies full-day vs.
half-day  Kindergarten.

February 26, 2013

Opinion survey & March 18 public forum offered

BH-BL study of full-day vs. half-day kindergarten gets underway

 A task force of 14 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake staff and parents has been formed to study the opportunity currently facing the school district of offering full-day kindergarten starting in September 2013.

The task force has been charged with studying the feasibility and advisability of a full-day program and making a recommendation to the Board of Education by March 26. They will examine a number of factors, including:

  • The instructional, social & emotional needs and development of kindergarten-age children,
  • The increased rigor of New York's Common Core Curriculum requirements,
  • How the additional time at school would be used to enhance learning,
  • Enrollment numbers and short-term and long-term space capacity at the district's three elementary schools,
  • Short-term and long term costs,
  • Transportation impact,
  • Impact on school schedules and other school programs,
  • Data from other local districts that have transitioned from half-day to full-day, and
  • Community opinions and values.


Share Your Opinions

To take the kindergarten opinion survey, please click here

To learn more, be sure to come to the Public Forum on BH-BL Kindergarten Options on Monday, March 18 at 7:00 pm at the O'Rourke Middle School Cafetorium, 173 Lakehill Road, Burnt Hills.

Reminder: If you can't attend in person, you can also "attend" online. See online participation.


The question of full-day versus half-day kindergarten arose based on a recent analysis of enrollment and preliminary budget numbers for 2013-14 -- which uncovered the fact that, should the Board of Education so choose, the district may have the opportunity to offer full-day kindergarten for all students.

While most NY school districts have already made the transition to full-day K programs, up to now BH-BL has not had enough space in its elementary schools to accommodate a full-day program. Ninety percent of districts state-wide and ten of 13 Suburban Council districts offer full-day kindergarten.

Increased academic rigor has changed kindergarten

"Just this year, the state's new Common Core curriculum has brought about a significant increase in the skills and material kindergarten students are expected to master," says assistant superintendent Rick Evans. "Kindergarten teachers say they now need so much time to ensure all students can be successful with the increased academic expectations that the day feels hurried for students."

"Teachers tell me that with a full-day program, material could be covered at a more nurturing, developmentally appropriate pace," Evans says. "Our kindergarten teachers are dedicated to delivering curriculum in a child-centered way. We want kindergarten to feel joyous and not rushed or pressured."

Potentially budget neutral for several years

Switching to a full-day program would require hiring more teachers. But, depending on final enrollment numbers, assistant superintendent Chris Abdoo estimates that the increased cost for teachers could be completely offset by reduced costs for transportation since 11 mid-day bus runs would no longer be needed. Abdoo projects that -- depending on enrollment -- full-day kindergarten classes would likely be budget neutral for 2013-14 and beyond.

Additionally, the district would be eligible for one-time, state full-day kindergarten conversion incentive aid of at least $600,000 in 2013-14, an amount that could be spread strategically over several following years to offset the cost of full-day kindergarten, Abdoo feels.

Parents and residents are invited to attend a special Public Forum devoted to this topic at 7:00 PM on Monday, March 18, in the O'Rourke Middle School cafetorium on Lakehill Road.