2015, july, kindergarten, schools, teachers, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Teachers hired, trained as part of kindergarten prep

Thursday July 16, 2015 9:34 AM
The Westerville City School District has hired five new teachers and reassigned five others in preparation for the launch of all-day kindergarten this fall.
Full-time teachers were hired both because of the new kindergarten offering and higher enrollment numbers, according to Executive Director of Elementary Academic Affairs Barbara Wallace.
The following teachers were reassigned to all-day kindergarten classrooms: Theresa Momeni at Alcott, Abigail Shepherd at Annehurst, Amy Postlethwait at Cherrington, Erin Holloway at Hawthorne and Amy Cliffton at Whittier.
New teachers are: Amy Curran at Frost and Bridget Hilinski, Tonia Tombaugh, Steven Veltriat and Kaylann Yankie at Longfellow. The school board approved the hires June 8.
The new all-day kindergarten teachers participated in an eight-hour professional development session June 9.
Alcott, Annehurst, Cherrington, Hawthorne, Robert Frost and Whittier elementary schools each will have one classroom of all-day kindergarten and four will be at Longfellow, which closed in June 2012.
Wallace said preparations for the re-opening of Longfellow have been going smoothly.
“There have been no challenges thus far,” she said in an email interview. “The school will be fully ready when school opens.”
She said the district is close to filling the 260 seats available in the all-day program.
“Currently, we have 257 seats filled and the remaining three will be filled this week,” she said.
Wallace said the curriculum in all-day kindergarten will be the same as the half-day program. The main difference will be that teachers will have more time to explore subjects.
For instance, she said, half-day classes might spend 45 minutes on language arts while full-day students might spend 120 minutes.
In all-day kindergarten, most classes will feature a morning meeting, language arts, lunch, recess, math, afternoon recess, music, art, gym and a goodbye meeting, Wallace said.
In its first year, the district’s all-day kindergarten program is both optional and limited.
A lottery was held in April to determine which students would be offered a spot. Registration closed April 24, with more than 408 applications received.
The program is tuition-based, with participating families paying $3,000, or $300 per month for 10 months.
Kindergarten will start on a staggered schedule Aug. 12-14. All kindergartners will report to school Aug. 17.

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