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Hancock Kindergarten to go to four days

Kindergarten classes in Hancock will be held four days a week, effective this coming school year. However, the four day schedule will be optional with parents having the choice of sending their child for three or four days.

The Hancock school board had discussed the possible four day schedule at their March meeting but decided to wait to make a decision until after the kindergarten round-up held recently. During the round-up kindergarten teacher Ashley Christianson was able to get some feed back from the parents about the additional day. She reported to the board that of the 26 students who are enrolled thus far for next year, the parents of four of those students have requested three days instead of four. The rest of the parents are in favor of the four day week.

The board discussed the four day week and decided that they would approve this plan but give parents the option of three days if they desire. The fourth day that the students will miss will continue to move forward with curriculum and parents will be asked to provide educational support at home on that day so their child does not fall behind. Mrs. Christianson will be able to provide curriculum guidelines, teaching materials and recommendations for that day.

The plan for the year will be one section of kindergarten with classes on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. One of those days will be selected as optional. On Friday a remediation class will be held for students below AIMS target scores. If a student is not eligible for the remedial class, they may attend the preschool class on Friday.

Kindergarten students will be screened in August using AIMS evaluation techniques to determine literacy skills and reading levels. Students who score below their target number will be eligible for the extra day of instruction on Fridaya. AIMS evaluations will be administered again in December to all kindergarten students.

School board members felt they needed to respect the wishes of the parents desiring only three days yet offer the four day plan for others. Since the school began the remedial class in kindergarten, there has been a significant change in the academic achievements of the students.

The additional teaching time has been beneficial to young children who make significant academic gains from the extra help.

In fact, state legislation is changing to recognize this benefit. Some additional dollars will soon be available to schools based on the test scores of third grade students. The dollars will be multiplied by the number of students shown to be proficient on tests. The state is tying money to the benefit of catching students at an early age.

However, the board also recognized the desires of some parents who have the time and resources to teach their children at home. The key thing heard from these parents was to simply give them the option. Therefore, the board approved the four day week with the option of students attending three days.

Other action

• The board approved a teaching contract for Hannah Wright as an elementary teacher for the second section of first grade next year. There were 38 applicants for the position and seven were interviewed.

• The board heard a review of summer work projects that will be included in the $20,000 previously approved for this. These will include ramp repair, gym painting, mat replacement, brick repair, and removal of the old equipment in the ITV room. The ITV system will now all be on a cart and can be moved from room to room. The ITV room will be converted to a classroom, possibly for sixth grade next year.

• The board approved a proposal from I&S Group to develop a master plan for future needs at the school, specifically structural. They will be looking at the current structure, determining what can be saved or needs to be replaced and the possible need to construct additional space. This pre-plan and evaluation will cost $15,000 but will give the district a preliminary plan and assessment of needs.

• A meeting was held with the Cyrus School board about consolidation. The Hancock school board continues to take a wait and see approach, wanting answers to their questions before proceeding.