September 30, 2014
Rate this
More than one ‘first’ for schools
First day for some kindergartners is first of all-day K at 5 schools
Warwick Beacon photos
FINDING FRIENDS: Lilly Pigeon is delighted to find a friend, Catherine DeLuca, among those kindergarteners waiting to be ushered to their room at Warwick Neck. The girls met at St. Kevin School last year.

As of noon yesterday – the first day of school – everything was running smoothly, reported Superintendent Richard D’Agostino.

D’Agostino joined Mayor Scott Avedisian shortly after 7 a.m. to greet freshmen as they arrived at Veterans Memorial High School. The rest of the classes return today. After Vets, D’Agostino looked in at other schools.

“The schools are in beautiful condition,” he said, praising the efforts of custodial staff and fire code improvements completed during the summer.

D’Agostino believes Warwick is ahead of most other districts in the state in meeting stricter fire code regulations following The Station Nightclub fire more than 11 years ago. He said the district has completed its three-year fire code improvement plan, with the exception of some work to be done at the Drum Rock Early Childhood Center and Greene School, which is being used for administrative offices. He said code improvements at Gorton and Aldrich Junior High Schools, which were recommended for closure due to declining enrollment, “are in limbo at this point.”

The district’s response to declining enrollment is likewise in limbo (consultants are to examine the issue this year), but the administration has moved ahead with all-day kindergarten at five elementary schools. Parents, teachers and the mayor enthusiastically greeted that development. The verdict was still out on students’ feelings.

D’Agostino said the prospect of all-day kindergarten at as many as eight schools surfaced in March, when kindergarten enrollment projections totaled 343, a decline of 153 from enrollment in the last academic year.

“It looked to be feasible to combine both morning and afternoon classes,” he said.

As registrations continued, three of the schools that had been under consideration saw kindergarten enrollments exceed 30, making it impossible for an all-day K. Under the teachers contract, class enrollment is not to exceed 23 students.

D’Agostino credited the union with agreeing to increase that number to 25, thereby assuring all-day K at Warwick Neck, Oakland Beach, John Brown Francis, Robertson and Scott Schools.

The Warwick Neck kindergarten numbers 24. That’s more students than teacher Elizabeth Morrissette is accustomed to, but she’s excited by what all-day can do.

“Half a day is such a short time. They’re here and they’re gone,” she said yesterday.

She said the added time with students would allow for her to cover the curriculum while giving the students time to socialize and make choices for selecting activities.

“It will give them a big block to socialize…they need that. They need to play and have fun,” she said.

Parent Karen DeLuca saw no drawbacks to a longer day.

“She’s so eager to learn,” she said of her daughter, Catherine, “All she wants to do is to learn to read.”

All-day K brought nods of approval from all the parents, although some were still finding it difficult to leave their children. And a few children, often the case on the first day, didn’t want to be left.

D’Agostino couldn’t say whether additional schools might join the roster of all-day K come next year. Although projects show enrollments continuing to drop, he could not say how many parents might transfer their children from day care or private schools. He noted that generally schools see a “bump” in enrollment in first grade as that is a full-day class.

Regardless of how many more all-day kindergartens they initiate, D’Agostino called the existing classes a “win-win” for parents, students and teachers.

Avedisian saw it as a positive, too. He said schools “are moving in the right direction.”

“Hopefully,” he said of the School Committee, “they’ll talk about the next step and how they can expand.”

The mayor said all-day K is a benefit to working parents as well.

“We have great day care centers.” Nonetheless, he said, “All-day K is where we want to be.”


Comments
3 comments on this item

Mr. D'Agostino's comments that "the schools are in beautiful condition" speaks to how totally detached and out of touch that he is. I would recommend an immediate urinalysis to confirm either his use of hallucinogenic drugs or that he in fact is simply wagging the tail of the dog named Scott. Make no mistake, the schools are in deplorable condition. Compare these 50 year old schools and whatever upgrades that have taken place, with our neighbors in CT and MA. They are laughable at best. To make the statement that they are all up to fire code is an outright lie. Which speaks to the fact as why a letter was sent out by the Winman principal earlier this summer asking why so many parents have decided to remove their children from the Warwick crap hole schools and send them to private schools. The answer is obvious. As an example, the Assabet Valley Regional High School in Marlborough just performed a 58 million dollar renovation for HVAC, electrical and mechanical alone. The town school teaches curriculum in plumbing, auto mechanics, electrical, welding, cosmetology, hair dressing, auto body, computer science, drafting, HVAC, and marine mechanics. What does Warwick offer those kids who cant go to a matriculating college?

Keep up the propaganda to support Scott, even at the cost of our children's safety, education, and future?

One thing that I have always felt is that good teaching can be done in a less than adequate environment; and Warwick has an excellent teaching and support staff. That being said, all that fenceman says about the superintendent is true, and it is a shame that many more don't come forward and express their discontent - which I hear constantly. He just doesn't care and remains unable to face issues head on. He won't even answer emails or phone calls that may cause him to become "involved" leaving others to take the "heat".

“The schools are in beautiful condition,” he said, praising the efforts of custodial staff and fire code improvements completed during the summer.

he hopes to last at least until he gets his pension.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Click here to log in.
Welcome to RIjobs.com
Copyright © 2014, Beacon Communications. Powered by: Creative Circle Advertising Solutions, Inc.