The BUSD School Board approved the Junior Kindergarten program at their most recent meeting held on Thursday, November 7. As of November 12, 22 families have signed up for the program, reports Dr. Tom Kissinger, Director of Elementary Education and Categorical Programs for the district.
Junior Kindergarten will begin in the spring semester on January 6, 2014, and follow the regular school calendar, with the last day of school on May 29. It is open to children born between December 2 and 31, 2008, and will follow a condensed version of the Transitional Kindergarten program. The classroom will be housed at Edison Elementary. After completion of the Junior Kindergarten program, students will join the regular Kindergarten programs at their residential schools for the 2014-2015 school year.
The Junior Kindergarten program will not likely cost the school district money, but it will not generate funds for the school either. The Junior Kindergarten teacher and classroom costs will be paid for by the State of California’s Average Daily Attendance program, which pays the school district money depending on the daily attendance rate of children over the age of five. A minimum class size of 22 – 24 children is planned, with a maximum class size set at 28 students.
Children born in January 2008 or later are not eligible for the State’s Average Daily Attendance funds because they are too young. Thus, setting up a pre-Kindergarten program for those children would cost the school district a significant amount of money.
“The community has expressed a real need for Junior Kindergarten, a real desire for this program,” comments Dr. Kissinger. “This is a way for us at the district to reach out to the community and give them what they are asking for.”
Those interested in enrolling in Junior Kindergarten should contact Dr. Kissinger’s office at 818-729-4401. An informational meeting will be held on January 23 at various times throughout the day at the Burbank Adult School Auditorium.