A boost in state funding will allow the Nooksack Valley School District to offer full-time kindergarten at its elementary schools starting this fall and will pay for existing full-time kindergarten at five Bellingham schools.
A total of 269 additional schools in 131 school districts across the state will begin receiving state money for full-day kindergarten in the 2013-14 year, after the state Legislature approved the funding in its most recent session, according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The goal is to implement full-day kindergarten throughout the state by the 2017-18 school year.
Nooksack, Sumas and Everson elementary schools will go to full-day kindergarten so their schedules are the same as other grade-school students: 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. daily. Before, the schools had offered two part-time classes: one that ran Monday, Thursday and every other Wednesday, and another that ran Tuesday, Friday and every other Wednesday. Each school has hired a new teacher to cover the classes.
The state also is funding full-time kindergarten for Alderwood, Cordata, Carl Cozier, Roosevelt and Sunnyland elementary schools in Bellingham. The district has had full-time kindergarten in place at its schools since the 2011-12 school year, though it had been funded with local levy money.
That local money now can be used for other instructional purposes, district spokeswoman Tanya Rowe said.
"We're very excited that the state is recognizing the importance of early childhood education," she said.
Reach Zoe Fraley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-756-2803. Read the School Days Blog at bellinghamherald.com/school-days-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamschools.
Reach ZOE FRALEY at email@example.com or call 756-2803.