At the School Board meeting on Monday, May 13, Will Cahill, principal of Fremont, A.D. Hay, and Union elementary schools, along with Susan Warner, teacher at Union school, updated the Board on the Full Day Kindergarten Pilot Program. The program started at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year and was championed by Warner at Principal Cahill’s behest.
Faced with declining numbers in the student population at Union school, Principal Cahill was looking for solutions. After putting out feelers, Warner responded with the idea of implementing a full day Kindergarten program. Until the 2012-2013 school year, none of the three elementary schools have full day programs; all of the programs were half days. The goal of the full day program is two-fold: to help increase the student population at Union while giving students a working knowledge of life at a rural school, and second, to use Union as a pilot to develop full day Kindergarten in Lakeview.
Once the teachers and Principal Cahill agreed, they took the idea to the School Board. Ten of the 15 students whose parents applied for the program were chosen via a random, impartial lottery system to enroll. The lottery took place in August of 2012, and the Board signed off on the idea thereafter. Instructor Claudia Moore teaches the class, which is the first of its kind at Union. The Kindergarten students attend class from 8:05 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., which coincides with the older kids’ school schedule.
The students also get introduced to all subject areas. Math, beginning reading, science, and social studies are all part of the curriculum. Moore, with the help of Warner and a few other teachers, constructed the curriculum. This is Moore’s second year teaching at Union, and first year as the Kindergarten teacher. The 10-kid class is the largest in the school’s history, to the staff’s recollection. Moore spoke to the importance of the program, saying that it helps kids transition smoothly into first grade. “They have a lot of confidence and exposure to school,” she said