Longfellow Elementary is open for business again, now serving as an All-Day Kindergarten for four classrooms of more than 100 students.
The first day of Kindergarten in the Westerville City School District was Monday, August 17. New this year, parents had the opportunity to enter their child’s name in a lottery which determined placement in tuition-based All-Day kindergarten. 369 families applied for 260 All-Day kindergarten seats in 10 classrooms. Four of those are located at Longfellow Elementary School, which has been closed since June 2012. The remaining six classes are being held in elementary buildings throughout the district that had available space – Alcott, Annehurst, Cherrington, Hawthorne, Robert Frost and Whittier. The curriculum is the same that is used in the current Half-Day program, but with more time for delivery; time for early intervention; time to practice new skills; and time for free play and socialization.
The success of this year’s All-Day Kindergarten pilot program will be monitored with the possibility of expansion in the 2016-2017 school year. Determining factors will include community interest and available space. It is anticipated that at least 338 All-Day kindergarteners will be served next school year.
The Westerville school community has been having conversations about All-Day kindergarten programming since 2009. Westerville currently educates some 900 kindergarten pupils.
Approximately 71 percent of Ohio kindergarten students attend All-Day kindergarten programs, and about 76 percent of kindergarten students nationwide attend school all day. “I’m delighted that we are finally able to bring this exciting option to families in our community,” said Barbara Wallace, Executive Director Elementary Academic Affairs. “All-Day kindergarten is an excellent way for young children to begin their educational journey.”