Marlow switching to all day pre-K

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Mar 13, 2014 - 9:28:12 AM

After March 3 school board approval, Marlow Public Schools will begin full-day pre-K classes for the first time in district history.
Superintendent George Coffman said the new elementary school would allow the district to have classes all day instead of having morning and afternoon sessions.
“We feel like it is what is best for our kids,” Coffman said. “We built the building in order to have the opportunity to have a program for four-year-olds.
“Next year will be an adjustment. There will be a lot of firsts for kids getting adjusted to going a full day to teachers getting adjusted. It could potentially lead to hiring three addition pre-K teachers and potentially more teacher assistants,” said Coffman.
The superintendent said the district averages 100 kids per grade.
“It’s definitely a growing trend,” Coffman said. “Oklahoma kind of leads in early childhood program nationwide in testing and the things kids are asked to do today.”
“Our job is to get them in school to get them prepared and to get them ready. It’s not to say I like (the testing), but that’s a part of society today with high stakes testing. Kids are going to have to accomplish more. What you did in the second grade, now we are now doing in kindergarten,” said Coffman
He continued, “Kids are learning to read in pre-K and we’re just trying to get them prepared for all the demands put on them. We’re going to do our best to expand those kids capabilities.”
More is involved in keeping kids all day versus a half day.
“You’re going to have to get those kids fed. You’re going to have to get them a recess, computers. There are just a lot of new things. You add to that a brand new building and trying to get everything organized in that. Traffic patterns will be different, buses will run different. There’s just a whole lot of firsts that will come next year,” said Coffman
Marlow Elementary School principal Kim Kizarr realizes the task in front of her and her teachers, and it doesn’t dampen her enthusiasm.
“I’m excited about it,” Kizarr said. “With the demands of kindergarten, we just felt like we needed an all day pre-K. We’ve always felt we’ve done a good job academically, but this will allow us to get an even earlier start.”
After spring break, pre-K teachers will be visiting Deer Creek school district to see how they do their all-day pre-K.
Currently, two pre-K teachers handle a morning and an afternoon class each. The all day session will mean teachers will have the same students all day.
“We’re looking at having 20 students per teacher and an assistant,” Kizarr said.
Kizarr mentioned the school is already updating the cafeteria with smaller tables to accommodate the four-year-olds.
“Academically, I think we’ve got it, but we’ve got to learn to deal with other things,” Kizarr said.