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Council Rock survey respondents overwhelmingly favor full-day kindergarten


A survey to determine the community’s interest in having full-day kindergarten in the Council Rock School District revealed 75% of the overall total of respondents strongly support it.

The Council Rock School Board introduced members of the Hanover Research team to distribute an analysis of the full-day kindergarten interest survey responses at the June 12 Education Committee Meeting.

The district partnered with Hanover Research to conduct the survey, which was active from May 20 until June 2. Over the last two weeks, Hanover scrubbed the data through a rigorous procedure to examine responses for completeness, completion speed, and redundancy.

Jennifer Campbell, content director at Hanover, shared that the survey had a very strong response rate from both parents and the community.

“We started with 4,493 valid responses, and after cleaning, we retained 3,587, which was about a 20% drop,” Campbell said. “This is often typical as you go through the data-cleansing process.”

After cleansing, it was revealed that the majority of future parents are somewhat to very likely to choose a full-day kindergarten option if provided, with 89% strongly agreeing to the full-day program. If CRSD does not transition to full-day kindergarten, 67% of future parents are somewhat to very likely to enroll their child in a private or charter school setting with a full-day kindergarten option.

As for current parents, nearly one third previously enrolled their child in a full-day kindergarten program outside the school district. If a full-day kindergarten program had been available at Council Rock during that time period, 79% said they would have been very likely to enroll their child.

Next, respondents were asked about the benefits of full-day kindergarten, allowing them to select up to three options. Sixty percent of respondents believe the biggest benefit would be to support working parents, with the second most selected option, 44%, being better preparation for first grade.

Council Rock School Board Member Bob Hickey raised a concern over this data. “I support working parents and single families, and I understand what it takes to put a kid in the district,” Hickey said. “But the job of our school district is to educate kids.”

Hickey believes that improving academic outcomes should be the biggest benefit, yet it was listed as number four, with only 27% of respondents selecting it.

Board members Nicole Khan and Linda Stone countered that there has been research to support the academic advantages of full-day kindergarten. Over the course of the year, Council Rock staff members were able to visit neighboring districts with full-day kindergarten to learn more about their programs. Staff witnessed first-hand the benefits of purposeful play and engaging learning, and are eager to implement similar programs in the Council Rock School District.

As for the benefits of half-day kindergarten, the highest response was lowering costs for the school district, at 30%. Forty percent of respondents said there were no benefits to continuing a half-day kindergarten program.

Following the results of this survey, Council Rock board members and administration will continue to research the benefits of full-day kindergarten to determine if it is fitting for the school district.

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