Marshfield School Board takes an in-depth look at 4K program
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield school officials are taking a hard look at their four-year-old kindergarten program, and whether to expand it to an additional site.
The Board of Education held a special meeting April 8, to talk solely about the 4K program. The first hour was spent in closed session. An additional hour was spent discussing issues related to a proposed 4K addition at Madison Elementary. Superintendent Dr. Ryan Christianson says it boils down to projected enrollment figures, and whether the district will lose families if they’re not given options that best fit their needs.
For years, Marshfield had a community-based four-year-old kindergarten program running out of local daycare sites. For the past two years, the district has operated a blended program, after adding a 4K option at Washington Elementary. Christianson said that alleviated some of the needs, but not all of them. As an example, he says morning sessions tend to be more popular than afternoon sections. That may lead to a conversation with parents about having to transition their child into a section they don’t necessarily want.
Right now, early enrollment figures for this fall are running at a more than two-to-one margin in favor of morning sessions versus the afternoon.
Current enrollment figures as of March first indicate an even distribution of students. At the Pied Piper, Tiny Tiger and Washington Elementary locations, there’s only one more student in the morning section than the afternoon. In the Child Care Centers of Marshfield program, 17 students take the A.M. session while 12 attend in the afternoon. Bucking the trend is Bright Horizons, where 16 attend in the morning, while 19 students take the p.m. shift.
Along with officially adopting a blended program between school and community sites, the Board of Education on April 10 will also consider adding up to two 4K sections at Madison Elementary, and either a fulltime or halftime four-year-old kindergarten teacher–depending on which expansion option the board chooses.