In an effort to improve and expand student learning, the Shawnee Public Schools Board of Education has voted to expand Pre-Kindergarten to a full school day across the district. The move extends instructional time with children and increases the number of children the district will be able to serve.

Partial expansion of the full day Pre-K program will start beginning in the fall of the 2016-2017 school year and will be fully implemented within two years.

“There is a lot of planning and space acquisition needed to completely implement the program, said Dr. Marc Moore, Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent. “Because we want to do this well and implement the program with fidelity, it will take two years to get the program fully expanded to meet the needs of all Shawnee Pre-Kindergarten students.”

There are many benefits of expanding to full day Pre-Kindergarten. Full day Pre-Kindergarten better serves parents by eliminating the need for providing partial day child care arrangements, Moore said, adding that 113 Pre-Kindergarten students have transferred out of the district during the past two years.

By decreasing the need for out-of-district transfers to enroll children in full-day Pre-Kindergarten programs, more children will be able to ride the bus providing an additional time and cost savings for parents, he added.

The addition of full day Pre-Kindergarten also creates 20 new positions: 10 teachers and 10 aides. The job creation is estimated to cost $650,000 in annual salary and benefits; also boosting the local and county economy.

Statewide, full day Pre-Kindergarten programs serve 32,211 children, while 7,874 are enrolled in half-day programs. Currently, Shawnee is the only Pottawatomie County school district not offering full day Pre-Kindergarten.

“This is the right thing to do for all children,” Moore said. “We want our students to be better prepared for their academic future and by expanding into full day Pre-Kindergarten, we are providing more children with a solid base to start with.”

With the transition into full day Pre-Kindergarten, the state funding almost doubles and money will not be pulled from other district programs to implement or sustain the Pre-Kindergarten program.