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Full Day Kindergarten to Be Offered in Ludlow Schools

Ludlow Independent Schools Superintendent Michael Borchers announced Thursday night that the district will be able to offer full-day kindergarten next year as a pilot program to any child within the district. Ludlow joins other Northern Kentucky schools in offering the full day program, including Covington, Dayton, Erlanger, Newport, and Beechwood.

"In Kindergarten now you have to be able to read," said Borchers. "The younger you can get children into a preschool program, the better chance they will have to be ready for first grade. In order to be able to be grade ready, children need to have preschool, and then kindergarten. If you close the gap early, the child will be able to enter first grade ready to learn, and they won't have to play catch up."

Since the district already has a half day of kindergarten, with one and a half teachers, the district will need another part-time teacher, costing about $20,000 to $25,000. The district is testing the full-day kindergarten option and will monitor whether first grade-readiness test scores improve.

The district will limit the pilot program to 48 children because more students than that would require the addition of another full-time teacher,

Currently, some testing in the district shows that 55 percent of first-graders are at grade-level reading, and 52 percent score first grade-ready in math. Borchers said the district is hoping for a 10 percent increase in those scores in the first year, if not more. If all the children who are eligible for kindergarten in the city sign up for the full day kindergarten, and that does not equal 48 kids, the district will make a decision on whether to accept children from outside the district who would pay tuition.

"All of the children will also get breakfast and lunch free of charge," said Borchers. "This will help parents who work, and have to look for a full day program. Registration for preschool and kindergarten is March 31, and April 1. Details are also on our website."

In addition to Ludlow offering preschool free for all four-year-olds, and now a full day of Kindergarten, Ludlow also pays for all students who qualify for the dual credit college courses so that when a student graduates they can potentially have almost two years of college credit, and the district is currently looking at more programs that will be offered to seniors.

In a related matter, one preschool teacher and one kindergarten teacher have told the district that they won't be back next year so they can focus on being stay-at-home moms. That leaves two positions open, and those will be advertised.

Other notes:

The board voted to enter into owner/architect agreements on both the Mary A. Goetz HVAC project and the Ludlow High School gym roof project with Ehmet Hayes and Associates. Superintendent Borchers said the district has received approval for both projects from the state, so at next month's meeting they hope to be able to award a bid contract.

Approval was also given for the summer food program. The program is made possible through federal grant money from the USDA, so it is not affected by the possible 4.5 percent cuts proposed in the state budget. The district is looking into grilling out some days and brown bagging it some days with the children being able to eat inside if it is very hot, since the air conditioning should be in by then.

A report was given on the survey presented in the Infinite Campus Messenger. 83 district families responded, and most of the results were favorable. One of the main concerns was communication and how to get news of what is new, such as the mobile computer labs, and the fast internet speeds, as well as what the mission statement of the district is, and how the teachers and principals are working to fulfill the mission statement.

The board also agreed to enter into an agreement with the Slam Dunk company, which will install new scoreboards in the gym with the agreement that the company will have advertising on the board for five years. The two boards will replace the ones installed in the 1980's. Borchers said he wanted to do what he could to improve equipment in the district with minimal funds, so that the district can spend on other things that are necessary. He hopes to get side backboards to replace the ones from 1971 to be able to adjust the hoops for the smaller players, and wants to acquire a floor to ceiling batting cage in the future.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor