Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The Marshfield Board of Education approved a 4K program at Madison Elementary at Wednesday’s meeting.
With the approval, sessions will be available starting the fall of 2019. The board also formally endorsed a blended model for its 4K program, which means the program uses both daycare and in-house locations. Two years ago, Washington Elementary became the first school in the district to add 4K.
The hiring of a 4K teacher was approved unanimously.
Board President Frances Bohon made a motion for an amendment to delay adding the Madison Elementary site until fall 2020, which failed due to lack of second.
“I’m for opening a site at Madison Elementary,” she stated. “My personal vote may not reflect that only because – I think for two big reasons. One, I think we could roll it out better if we did it before 4K enrollment so all parents registering see that option and we could let the community know about it rather than rolling something like this out after we’ve already had 4K enrollment for next year.
“The other thing is what I referred to before, just not knowing how we’re going to support this many sections. We’ve had 194 kids already register for next year, we have 12 sections. That puts 16 kids in each section. If we had another 25-30 kids…we would still have 18-19 kids in each section. Our sections are pretty much defined at 17-20 if they’re full. I’m not sure how we’re going to sustain this number of sections unless we have a better plan to do so in place before we do this.”
“I do remember during our discussions we have talked to administration about the difficulty that might occur if we decide now to add another section at Madison school when registration has been completed,” said Dale Yakaites, board clerk. “Although it’s clunky, I’ll agree with you, in terms of how we might be going to roll that out, I don’t think it’s impossible and I got the assurance from district administration due to letters that they would send out and notifications, that this would be doable. We still have quite a few months before 4K starts.”
Board member Dorothy Chaney spoke of the need for a strategic plan for the blended model.
“We need a vision and a plan that the community stakeholders are part of, the kindergarten teachers are part of, parents should be able to be consulted as part of it, so it’s my clear expectation that next year we’re doing to have the Cadillac model of 4K blended program with a really good collaborative, strategic plan. This year feels like a lumpy transition, but I agree with Dale. With all that in consideration, I think it’s the right move for us to move to the site at Madison.”
Whether Madison Elementary will have morning or afternoon sessions, or both, will be decided by enrollment numbers and parent preference. Currently 194 children have been enrolled in 4K for the coming year, a number which is expected to increase by about 30 before the start of the school year based on past trends.
The new location is ideal for children who would already be attending Madison Elementary after 4K, have siblings who attend there, and do not need daycare the other half of the day.