Highline Public Schools to fund free full-day Kindergarten at all schools

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Highline Public Schools announced Thursday (May 23) that it will fund tuition-free full-day kindergarten at all schools starting this fall, regardless of the amount the state legislature allocates to full-day kindergarten.

State lawmakers are currently debating over budget plans with varying levels of kindergarten funding. Each of the three plans would fund full-day kindergarten at some, but not all, schools in Highline.

“We cannot wait for the legislature to act. Full-day kindergarten is the right thing to do for all our children and families now,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “This is a game-changer for our students.”

Full-day kindergarten is a key strategy for meeting the district goal of 95 percent of next fall’s kindergartners performing at or above grade level in all core subjects by the end of Grade 3. Multiple studies show that children who participate in full-day kindergarten make significant gains in reading and math compared with students in half-day programs. Research also shows that mastering reading and math skills by third grade is critical for success throughout middle and high school.

“Kindergarten is a critical year. It sets the stage for a child’s entire school experience,” said Highline’s P-3 Director Anne Arnold, who directs early learning (preschool through grade 3) programs.

“This is one of several critical investments Highline making toward the bold goals in our new strategic plan,” Enfield added. The district is also investing in high-priority goals for older students, such as ensuring that 19 out of 20 students pass Algebra by Grade 9, and that 19 out of 20 students in the freshman class of 2013 graduate successfully.

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