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Half Day Kindergarten Stays In Place For District

Oakdale Joint Unified School District will not be conforming to all day kindergarten any time soon.

A report was given during Monday night’s meeting, Nov. 4, by Superintendent of Schools Marc Malone, who reviewed information gained by the Full-Day Kindergarten Committee. Recent Legislation, Assembly Bill 197 was vetoed by the Governor, yet opened conversation of the district on the pros and cons to adapting if this should become mandated.

“It started a conversation that we wanted to have within the district and with our district employees to really have our employees weigh in on their thoughts on all day versus half day kinder,” Malone stated.

He continued by stating had it passed, the hands of the district would have been tied but it was vetoed. The Superintendent additionally shared he felt it will run its course and eventually be approved and believes conversations will serve the district well moving forward.

Malone reviewed potential positives and negatives as decided by the Full-Day Kindergarten Committee, a committee that is comprised of representatives from each elementary school site.

A few of the positives include: increased time for developmental skills, easier transition to first grade and pacing of content instruction. Potential negatives include: decreased time with credentialed teachers due to the loss of the am/pm split, students not yet developmentally prepared and lack of appropriate kindergarten space (i.e.: classroom, restroom, playground).

“If you do the research on this, the results are really mixed. From an academic standpoint the research is really mixed on this topic,” he shared.

Malone also shared the district’s position and thoughts on recently passed Senate legislation.

Senate Bill 328 states, “This bill would require the school day for middle schools and high schools, including those operated as charter schools, to begin no earlier than 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively, by July 1, 2022.”

“It is our belief we are a rural school district and as a rural school district we are exempt from Senate Bill 328,” Malone stated. “As far as Senate Bill 328 and the implementation of these start times, they will not be implemented until we get further clarification on whether we’re a rural district or not.”

Upon questioning by a board member as to what constitutes a “rural district,” Malone said there are 13 Federal definitions of what a rural district is.

“Since this particular issue is federally related, we’ve got to apply the federal definitions as well,” the Superintendent replied. “Right now it’s up to districts to determine if you’ve got a reasonable case to say that you’re a rural district. Because the Oakdale Joint Unified School District is still an agriculturally based community, that’s what he’s saying that we would be able to define ourselves as a rural district.”

Following Malone’s report, Assistant Superintendent Kristi Rapinchuk offered results from the Spring 2019 SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium). According to the overall summaries for both English Language Arts, as well as Mathematics, OJUSD out performed the county as well as the state of California. A percentage of 51.39 percent met/exceeded for ELA versus the state’s 50.87 percent and 39.9 percent met/exceeded for Math versus 39.73 percent for the state.

Rapinchuk went into great detail on the findings of each category in regards to strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth.

“There’s so many good things to celebrate,” Rapinchuk stated Monday evening. “Teachers are working hard in Oakdale and I’m proud of them.”

The school board meeting was kicked off with reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance by Cloverland Elementary students Liam Thompson, Nicholas Timmons and London Pattan Mitchell.

The next meeting will be hosted on Monday, Dec. 9. Public meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be hosted at the OJUSD Tech Center.