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Burlingame Introduces New Kindergarten Model

10.13.2011 | Patch | Miriam Finder

Burlingame school officials introduced a new kindergarten structure at their Tuesday night meeting, one that will push the 5-year-old birthday deadline for admission from Dec. 2 to Sept. 1 over the next three years.

The change comes as the result of Senate Bill 1381, which allows for gradual implementation. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, the deadline for turning 5 for kindergarten admission is Nov. 1, then Oct. 1 for the 2013-2014 school year and finally Sept. 1 for the 2014-2015 year, said Asst. Superintendent Jud Kempson.

The bill also requires schools provide a transitional kindergarten class for students who would have been admitted to regular kindergarten, but are now delayed. The district will receive state funding for the transitional program.

“It’s optional [for parents], but mandatory for us to provide it,” Kempson said. “Essentially, we’re adding another grade.”

The goal behind the bill is to give younger students time for further emotional and academic development before beginning traditional kindergarten, Kempson said.

The board members now face the task of finding the right teachers, sites and curriculum for the program and scheduled a study session on the issue for Oct. 25.

“We’re introducing the information, but also what you can think about is we’ll have a philosophy on how we’ll use this,” said Supt. Maggie MacIsaac. “There hasn’t been a lot of guidance from the state.”

California is one of just four states with a cut-off date later than Dec. 1. Government officials feel the bill allows more time for children to become better prepared for kindergarten.

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