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School Committee Notebook: Full-Day Kindergarten, Cheerleaders Headed To Florida

Dec 16, 2014 06:25AM ● By Bill Gilman
The Tewksbury School Department could end up offering free full-day kindergarten starting next fall but not before residents have a chance to weigh in on the matter.
Later this month, households throughout Tewksbury will receive a letter from the School Department, explaining an online survey that will take place between Dec. 22 and Jan. 9. Residents will be asked to answer six questions dealing with the town's full-day kindergarten program and a proposal to make that program free of charge to all families.
Presently, full-day kindergarten is offered at a tuition of $4,000 per student.
The survey was crafted by a sub-group of the Tuition Free Full-Day Kindergarten Task Force, including Liz Keeley, Dewing School Assistant Principal Jan Fuller, Trisha Keddie, Jen Malizia, Jennifer Mullen and Dawn Sandberg. The team outlined the survey in a presentation to the School Committee at its meeting on Dec. 10.
The group said the primary questions they are hoping to have answered by the survey include:
  • What percentage of our education community is in favor of tuition-free full-day kindergarten?
  • Attitude toward concept of tuition-free full-day kindergarten?
  • Do parents feel their child is ready academically and emotionally?
  • Do parents feel full-day kindergarten will better prepare their child for the 1st Grade and beyond?
Cheerleaders are heading to Florida 
In a unanimous vote, the School Committee approved a request to allow the Tewksbury High cheerleading team to travel to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 6-10 to compete in a national competition.
"We're very excited to have our team achieve this honor," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. John O'Connor. "This is a chance for them to go to Florida and display their talents."

7th and 8th graders to be surveyed on risky behavior
Students at the Wynn Middle School will be taking part in the 2015 Massachusetts Youth Health Survey. Questions will deal with drug and alcohol usage, sexual activity and other potential risky activities.
O'Connor said that while he believes the type of activities included in the survey are beyond what Wynn School students are participating in, national data indicates that children are engaging in riskier behavior at younger and younger ages.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Brenda Regan explained that the survey falls within the Wynn School Health Curriculum and that the surveys will be anonymous. She said the state had not yet specified when it would be administering the survey but that parents would be notified in advance.
The survey is similar to one taken by students at the high school every year.


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