May 19, 2010
TO: Michael Green
FROM: Mark Houk
RE: YALE BOARD REPORT
On May 10th Asha, Michael, and I attended a meeting with the Yale PTO and other parents to listen to proposals regarding next years Kindergarten class and 6th grade placement. This portion of the community is hopeful we will consider having full time kindergarten for the incoming class of kindergarten students, and that we will consider offering 6th grade instruction at Yale rather than sending students downriver to the Intermediate school for 6th grade. Each suggestion has a different purpose/reason from this groups perspective.
The families of current Kindergarten students were excited to learn of the progress made by this years kindergarten students who were invited to attend full time the second half of this year. With the small group of KG students this year, it was doable to include them in a full-day set-up.
The families of 5th grade students stated they believe the transition to the 6th grade and then again into 7th grade the next year will be difficult for their children and were hopeful to reduce the number of transitions by having the children stay at Yale for their 6th grade year.
We were very pleased to have this conversation with this segment of the Yale Community.
Our commitment is to meet with staff, study the potential for these ideas to be both doable and successful for the learning of all students, and to share our conclusions with this group of community.
On May 18, Asha and I met with Yale Staff and reviewed the ideas presented. This was a simple, brief meeting where we all discussed and listed potential benefits and challenges for the ideas. We plan to meet with staff again, at least one more time, to really analyze the impacts such decisions might have on the overall program.
In our economic season we recognize that each proposal would have to be cost neutral if it were to go into effect, and student learning would need to be impacted positively. While we are still researching and weighing the impact of each proposal, we have outlined initial benefits and challenges of each proposal.
Benefits of Full Time K Proposal
Benefits of 6th Grade @ Yale Proposal
· There is a lot of research that Indicates full time Kindergarten Positively impacts student achievement.
· It would be cost neutral at this time
· The staff is supportive of the proposal
· It would provide an opportunity for students who wish to only transition once (from Yale 6th to WMS 7th).
· Parents have committed to significant volunteering efforts to support staff
Challenges of Full time K Proposal
Challenges of 6th Grade @ Yale Proposal
· If a larger group of Kindergarteners comes through in the future we wouldnt be able to sustain the model cost neutral
· Some community members might consider it Inequitable as we do not offer full time K to all WPS kindergarteners.
· While it could be done cost neutral it would increase work load of every staff member @ Yale.
· It would be difficult to sustain in the future with larger groups or groups that require more support
· With current staffing, it would be difficult to provide 7 grade levels of content to students so they can achieve mastery of standards at each level.
After our meeting with the Yale staff Wednesday May 18th we also recognize there are other options we might investigate to ensure smoother transitions for students from Yale to WIS as this was prominently mentioned as a concern by the parents. As we continue to weigh the options well keep you informed. We intend to make a decision and meet with the Yale community before the end of school.