Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Is Longer Day for Kindergarteners in Fresno Unified's Future?
By Myles Barker
Published 5 years ago on
March 1, 2019

Share

Fresno Unified parents are exasperated by having to take time off from work in the middle of the day to pick up their kindergarteners at school.

And a majority of trustees want to see the district fix the problem.

Trustee Carol Mills said she understands their frustration, and offered a simple solution to the problem: extend after-school program hours.

“We need to start after-school programs when kindergarten is out,” Mills said. “You can’t go and pick up your child when kindergarten is out if you are a working parent.”

“We need to start after-school programs when kindergarten is out,” Mills said. “You can’t go and pick up your child when kindergarten is out if you are a working parent.” — Carol Mills, FUSD Board Clerk

Thomas, Islas Back All-Day Kindergarten

Extending the district’s after school-program hours is a great idea, Trustee Keshia Thomas said, but having kindergarteners stay in regular school longer has benefits as well. One of those benefits is helping the district close its achievement gap.

“You will have longer-term benefits because they are getting the language they need all day,” Thomas said. “Students will have significantly greater progress in language proficiency.”

Trustee Veva Islas said she is in favor of longer days for kindergarten students. However, she said the extra time they are in school should be used for fun activities.

“I think that at this age group, it might be a little taxing for them to have a longer day filled with academic curriculum,” Islas said. “I want to extend it, but look at things like play and art for the extra time they are at school.”

Islas also suggested using the extra time for kindergartners to get some shut-eye.

For Trustee Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas, having the best of both worlds by combining these approaches is the way to go.

“In my opinion, a combination approach to make these opportunities available to more parents is beneficial,” Jonasson Rosas said. “A lot of parents need that extra time for their students to be at school.”

Start Programs Earlier

The district’s elementary after-school programs start when students in grades 1 -6 get out. Although the kindergarteners get out at various times, it is always before their older peers.

Mills said she endured the problem when her son was in kindergarten. It got so bad that she transferred him to another school that accommodated her needs.

“I would like the district to address that because if we want more parents to take advantage of our schools and of the programs that we have then we need to make it easy for them,” Mills said.

Board President Claudia Cazares said the situation wasn’t ideal when her kids were in kindergarten either.

“There is definitely an inconvenience for working parents to have to figure out what to do for those 45 minutes between when school is out,” she said.

Trustee Valerie Davis agreed. She said the district needs to start after-school programs earlier.

“It is a great program, it keeps kids safe and off the street, but we need to extend it to accommodate kindergarteners,” Davis said.

Portrait of Claudia Cazares

“Whatever we can do for parents, we need to figure it out as a community and as a board.” — Claudia Cazares, Fresno Unified school board president

Making Program Available For All

Mills said the district also needs to make its after-school programs available for all students.

Currently, schools with grant-funded after-school programs participate in a lottery process for enrollment each year. Additionally, some programs are not available for English Learners. And parents in the district’s upscale neighborhoods are charged a fee.

“We need (after-school programs) to be available for every parent at every single one of our campuses,” Mills said. “I know that isn’t happening now, and that is a problem.”

Thomas echoed the sentiment.

“I think we should always leave options open to students,” she said. “Why would you want to stop a student from wanting to attend and learn more.”

Making every after-school program the same across the board will fix most issues, Jonasson Rosas said.

“We are evaluating how to provide the same level of opportunities so all students get the same access because we know that if we get them into these programs they do better academically,” Jonasson Rosas said.

Because after-school programs have to abide by state requirements, Cazares said, coming up with a solution will require out-of-the-box thinking.

“Whatever we can do for parents, we need to figure it out as a community and as a board,” she said.

Biggest Problem: Funding

Davis and Thomas said the biggest thing to figure out is funding.

Fresno Unified School Board member Keshia Thomas
Keshia Thomas (GV Wire Photo/Jahz Tello)

“Can we find the funds for that when we are overextended. I don’t know for sure if we can figure it out, but it is definitely something I will look into.” — Keshia Thomas, Area 1 Trustee

“Can we find the funds for that when we are overextended,” Thomas said. “I don’t know for sure if we can figure it out, but it is definitely something I will look into.”

Davis said she is hoping Gov. Gavin Newsom will deliver on his promise to help.

“The governor said he wants a robust after school-program for everyone. If he is going to put the money on it, that would be really helpful,” Davis said.

Davis said she is also looking for district staff to come up with cost estimates for several options.

“There are a lot of options, we just have to figure it out,” Davis said.

DON'T MISS

Trump’s Allies Say They’ll Enforce the Comstock Act. Believe Them.

DON'T MISS

Small Dog With a Big Personality: Lester ‘Les’ Schwab Needs a Forever Home

DON'T MISS

A DA Kept Black Women Off a Jury. California’s Supreme Court Says That Wasn’t Racial Bias

DON'T MISS

Seriously Strange: Real Hobbies You Didn’t Know About

DON'T MISS

The Museum Yoga Trend Where Fine Art Meets Downward Dog

DON'T MISS

Obesity Drug Used in Mounjaro and Zepbound May Help Treat Dangerous Sleep Apnea

DON'T MISS

At Least 6 Heat-Related Deaths Reported in Metro Phoenix So Far This Year as High Hits 115 Degrees

DON'T MISS

Coffee Research Center at UC Davis Poised to Deliver a Jolt

DON'T MISS

Workers Sue Disney Claiming They Were Fraudulently Induced to Move to Florida from California

DON'T MISS

Fresno Suspect Arrested in Armed Home Invasion, Earlier Burglary

UP NEXT

Fresno Suspect Arrested in Armed Home Invasion, Earlier Burglary

UP NEXT

Fresno Police Will Target Dangerous Drivers on Saturday

UP NEXT

Still Need Your Landline? California Just Stopped AT&T from Pulling the Plug

UP NEXT

Fresno State’s New AD Says Bulldogs Will ‘Achieve New Heights of Success’

UP NEXT

State Board Says Clovis Unified Violated Labor Laws, Must Disband Faculty Senate

UP NEXT

Fresno Trustees OK $2.1B Budget & $500M Bond Measure, But Question Special Ed Contracts

UP NEXT

Newly Named Washington Post Editor Decides Not to Take Job After Backlash, Will Stay in Britain

UP NEXT

FBI Raids Several California Homes, Including Oakland Mayor’s

UP NEXT

Fresno Trash Rate Protest Fails. Decision Rests with Council Next Week.

UP NEXT

Give-and-Take Between Dyer & Council Yields a Fresno Budget. What’s In It?

Seriously Strange: Real Hobbies You Didn’t Know About

2 days ago

The Museum Yoga Trend Where Fine Art Meets Downward Dog

2 days ago

Obesity Drug Used in Mounjaro and Zepbound May Help Treat Dangerous Sleep Apnea

3 days ago

At Least 6 Heat-Related Deaths Reported in Metro Phoenix So Far This Year as High Hits 115 Degrees

3 days ago

Coffee Research Center at UC Davis Poised to Deliver a Jolt

3 days ago

Workers Sue Disney Claiming They Were Fraudulently Induced to Move to Florida from California

3 days ago

Fresno Suspect Arrested in Armed Home Invasion, Earlier Burglary

3 days ago

A Half-Century of Roaring Passion: Cobras, Shelby Mustangs & The People Who Love Them

3 days ago

On a Night for Doubling up, Lilly King Also Takes Home an Engagement Ring

3 days ago

Paris Awaits for Sha’Carri, Lyles and Dozens More, but Olympic Spots Must Be Earned at Trials

3 days ago

Trump’s Allies Say They’ll Enforce the Comstock Act. Believe Them.

Opinion by Michelle Goldberg on June 21, 2024. Until the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, it was hard for feminists to get Amer...

23 hours ago

23 hours ago

Trump’s Allies Say They’ll Enforce the Comstock Act. Believe Them.

2 days ago

Small Dog With a Big Personality: Lester ‘Les’ Schwab Needs a Forever Home

2 days ago

A DA Kept Black Women Off a Jury. California’s Supreme Court Says That Wasn’t Racial Bias

2 days ago

Seriously Strange: Real Hobbies You Didn’t Know About

2 days ago

The Museum Yoga Trend Where Fine Art Meets Downward Dog

3 days ago

Obesity Drug Used in Mounjaro and Zepbound May Help Treat Dangerous Sleep Apnea

3 days ago

At Least 6 Heat-Related Deaths Reported in Metro Phoenix So Far This Year as High Hits 115 Degrees

3 days ago

Coffee Research Center at UC Davis Poised to Deliver a Jolt

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend