Barrington school district forming full-day K task force


Barrington Schools Superintendent Michael Messore said Thursday night that he is fully committed to implementing full-day kindergarten in Barrington. Mr. Messore also told the school committee he wanted to build a task force that would study the full-day kindergarten issue and help construct a plan for bringing the program to Barrington in the 2014-15 school year.

The committee obliged, approving a motion to form the task force, which would include principals from local elementary schools, kindergarten teachers, district administrators, support staff for the special education program, and local parents, among others.

“We will do the best we can to get it included in the budget,” Mr. Messore said.

Some members of the school committee asked Mr. Messore to have a report ready for the board when it returns from its summer recess — the school committee will not meet again until late August.

District officials have been recently criticized for their handling of the full-day kindergarten situation. Parents of soon-to-be kindergartners have pressed school committee members and district administrators to implement a full-day kindergarten program this fall, but officials have denied that request. Instead, funding (about $275,000) has been earmarked for computer purchases, and Mr. Messore has recommended the full-day K program be added in 2014-15. 

That has not pleased some parents. Moms and dads of young children have crowded school committee meetings and pleaded with board members to implement full-day K this fall, telling administrators that the current crop of kindergartners are not receiving the required amount of instructional time as prescribed by the newly adopted Common Core standards. The parents are also concerned that their children will not enjoy this introduction to learning.

At a school committee meeting earlier this month, the board members voted to explore the option of rolling out a full-day kindergarten program in Jan. 2014. And at last Thursday’s meeting, officials tried to make clear their support for full-day K and take immediate steps to constructing a future program.

Committee member Patrick Guida asked Mr. Messore what he would need in order to build a better campaign for establishing community-wide support for full-day K during the next budget cycle.

Mr. Messore’s answer: Build a task force.

The superintendent said he needed a group to compile the necessary, accurate data that could be presented to the public. He reiterated that he was “fully committed” to bringing full-day K to Barrington and that he wants people to understand that the program will not be a pilot or limited approach — he said he wanted it to be imbedded in the district.

The vote for creating a full-day K task force passed 4-0. School committee member Scott Fuller did not attend the meeting.


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