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Idaho Falls District 91 plans to offer all-day kindergarten at all elementary schools

Education

IDAHO FALLS — Idaho Falls School District 91 plans to offer all-day kindergarten at all elementary schools beginning this fall.

“Our experience shows all-day kindergarten helps prepare children to be successful in school,” said
Dr. Jim Shank in a news release. “All-day kindergarten programs close learning gaps, and give children the academic, social and emotional foundation they need to be confident learners in elementary school.”

All-day kindergarten is currently offered in four D91 schools but the new plan would be adopted in all 12 elementary schools. The district would use general fund, K-3 literacy funds, special education funds, title funds, ESSER and federal grants to make all-day kindergarten available districtwide, according to a news release.

“This is an investment to ensure our children start school with a strong foundation, and that they have all the support they need to be successful,” Shank said.

The number of students entering kindergarten ready to learn in Idaho Falls School District 91 has declined over the years, leaders say. This year, only 31 percent of D91’s kindergartners were at grade level on the fall Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI), compared to 41 percent of kindergarteners statewide.

“D91 schools with all-day kindergarten programs such as Temple View Elementary School have
been successful in closing those learning gaps,” the news release says. “In 2020-21, only 27% of Temple View’s Elementary School’s kindergartners were at grade level on the fall IRI, but 74% were at grade level on the spring IRI.”

Over the last few months, district administrators, elementary school principals and a committee of kindergarten teachers have been looking at how to make all-day kindergarten available districtwide. They have identified space in their schools for all-day kindergarten, analyzed staffing and curriculum needs and researched furniture and technology needs.

The Board of Trustees will take formal action on all-day kindergarten during its Jan. 25 work
session.

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