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ASD provides information to kindergarten parents
ARLINGTON — Parents of incoming Arlington kindergarten students got an education of their own on Tuesday, March 18, about what their kids can expect in the coming school year.
Principals from each of the Arlington School District’s elementary schools outlined subjects such as the approximate schedule of a kindergarten day, with lessons on reading and writing before lunch followed by a focus on math and science after lunch, and an emphasis on building problem-solving skills throughout the day.
“When it comes to getting your kids ready to start school, you are the best teacher for your child,” Eagle Creek Elementary Principal Kari Henderson-Burke said. “Read to them and with them, because anything that familiarizes them with the alphabet increases their probability of success.”
If parents can help train their kids to take care of themselves, through measures ranging from putting on coats and tying their shoes, to blowing their noses and using the bathroom, Henderson-Burke promised that her teachers would do their best to develop those students’ hand strength and coordination through safety-scissor cutting, as well as their social skills through group interactions.
Presidents Elementary Principal Dave McKellar noted that the Arlington School District’s eventual hopes of obtaining state-funded all-day kindergarten classes have yet to be realized, so in the meantime, he explained that Arlington schools only have 25 slots for all-day kindergarten, which requires a $100 deposit and a monthly fee of $295.
“If you happen to be number 26, 27 or 28 to pay your deposit, you’ll be put on a wait-list,” McKellar said. “If you can verify your income level, you might be able to qualify for tuition assistance.”
Kent Prairie Elementary Principal Karl Olson sought to reassure parents who might harbor concerns about student testing in kindergarten.
“You might hear the words ‘kindergarten screening’ and wonder what that’s about,” Olson said. “If your child is not doing well, we can start that conversation and help the child out. After our assessments, we can share learning strategies. We want to help our students meet their potential, and it’s easier when you have those snapshots of their performance.”
Cheryl Power and Charity Prueher, of the Arlington School District’s Transportation Department, encouraged parents to put their kids on the bus that first day of school, so that their bus drivers can put faces to all their names, and promised that those bus drivers would look out for the kindergarteners by having them ride up front.
“Our bus drivers expect parents to be waiting for their kindergarteners at the end of the day,” Power said. “They won’t let those kids off the bus unless you’re there.”
Arlington School District Public Information Coordinator Andrea Conley encouraged kindergarten parents to go to the district’s website at www.asd.wednet.edu for their registration and general information packets, while District Nurse Gloria Davis reminded parents that their children must be immunized before their first day of kindergarten, and likewise directed them to the district website for the proper medical forms.
“Also, we need medical authorization to give your kids medicine,” Davis said. “Without that, we can’t give them cough drops or anything else.”
Terri Bookey, program support specialist for the Stillaguamish Valley School, touted the Arlington School District’s strong emphasis on bilingual programs in the K-3 grades, which is intended to develop students’ proficiency in English while still working with them in their native languages.