Full-day kindergarten will debut in Marlboro

MARLBORO – Full-day kindergarten in the Marlboro K-8 School District is set to become a reality for almost 300 youngsters beginning in September.

“We are very excited and proud that the 2017-18 school year will be the first year we have full-day kindergarten in Marlboro history,” Superintendent of Schools Eric Hibbs said. “We are ready to go. Desks, pencils, room construction is going well and we are excited for our little ones.”

Until this upcoming school year, Marlboro provided a half-day kindergarten and all kindergarten classes met at the David C. Abbott Early Learning Center on Tennent Road. Parents had the option to have their child remain in school after the half-day session in order to complete a full day of instruction at an additional cost.

District administrators have said kindergarten classes will be held at the David C. Abbott Early Learning Center, the Frank J. Dugan Elementary School, the Marlboro Elementary School and the Defino Central Elementary School.

No kindergarten classes will be held at the Asher Holmes or Robertsville elementary schools.

Administrators said about 280 children have been enrolled for kindergarten. At this time, each child will attend the school that is closest to his or her home. The district budgeted for 325 kindergarten students.

Administrators said kindergarten will be fully staffed by the Board of Education’s Aug. 22 meeting, including teachers and teacher’s aides. Staff is being hired based on current need, not on projected enrollment.

Staff members are designing a comprehensive program that will address the social, emotional and learning needs of every child, according to district officials.

The kindergarten pupils will take a bus to and from school with the older pupils and they will sit in the front of the bus.

Administrators said they would like to place between 20 and 23 pupils in a kindergarten class. They reserved the option to place students in a school based on enrollment at the schools where kindergarten classes will be held.

“We are watching attendance at each building very closely to make sure that (sending a child to a school that is not the closest one to his home) does not need to happen,” Hibbs said.

In April 2016, the board appropriated $1.8 million to renovate space at several schools in order to create kindergarten classrooms. Albert Perno, who is the principal at the early learning center, will oversee Marlboro’s kindergarten program.