Washington Charter School
The school year is quickly coming to a close. I want to thank our families for their continued support of Washington Charter School. We see each day through your actions how important a balanced educational program is for your child and how much we are valued. WCS is a committed team that cares deeply about the welfare of every child who attends the school. We always try to do what is best for our students. As the final day approaches I can already see our staff not yet ready to say goodbye for the summer. I appreciate the thousands of volunteer hours that come our way each year. As I visit classrooms and talk with students on campus they share how hard their parents work with them at home, reinforcing concepts that we teach in school.
I will deeply miss our promoting 5th graders. They added so much to our school and I know they will be successful as they go into middle school.
Enjoy the summer with your kids but try to include some reading, math, and writing with them during the next few months. This will keep their minds sharp and ready for the following school year. Meanwhile, be safe and I look forward to seeing you on August 25 when we kick off the 2016-17 school year.
I would like to share why WCS will not offer a full-day transitional kindergarten or kindergarten program next year. With the inception of transitional kindergarten in the fall of 2012 we have fewer spots for incoming kindergarten students. For the past three years as the school year approaches we have not been able to enroll all of our preferred attendance-area kindergarten students. Typically all of our kindergarten spots are filled by August 1st. After that date a family who moves into our preferred attendance area often is unable to secure a space because we are filled up.
Current capacity in our TK program is 40 students (20 students in the morning and 20 students in the afternoon) and capacity in Kindergarten is 120 students (60 students in the morning and 60 students in the afternoon). If the school were to offer a full day program in TK and K, the capacity in TK would be 25 students, and K would be 75 students. This would further compound our challenge of getting all students who reside in our preferred attendance area into the school. For those that want it stated simply: WCS does not have facilities to house full-day TK and K programs. In fact, we would need 3-4 additional classrooms to house TK and K students in a full-day program.
If a school offers full-day kindergarten by law it must also offer a full-day transitional kindergarten program. The length of our K and TK school day would mirror that of first grade. For five-year-olds, six hours and 50 minutes is taxing and, in my opinion, excessive.
Many of our parents welcome the opportunity to spend the morning or afternoon with their children engaged in enriching activities. Parents share that it is their last opportunity to spend an extended period of time with their children; they don’t want to lose that.
There are certainly reasons why a lengthened day does benefit students. Studies have shown that students who enter kindergarten performing below grade level and/or are second-language learners, do benefit from a longer school day. Teachers also have additional time to present and reinforce what has been taught. What I did find interesting is that, while there is not a lot of research in this area, what has been discovered is that, although students who are enrolled in a full-day program initially show more growth academically those who were in a half-day program caught up by the end of second grade.
Sunday, May 29, 2016