Home Education Boise, Western Hell, offers limited half-day kindergarten options

Boise, Western Hell, offers limited half-day kindergarten options

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The Western Hell School District is still figuring out where to give kindergarten from noon.

But for Boise parents who prefer kindergarten from the south, they will have to give the child to the only elementary school in Southeast Boise.

The two largest counties of Idaho will offer free kindergarten instruction throughout the day this fall using increase public funding for early literacy programs. West Ada and Boise have offered full-time kindergarten-based tuition – as many districts and charters have pooled funding to complement the state-funded kindergarten at noon.

But although all-day kindergarten is popular with many parents, this move creates logistical problems for large and small schools. And some parents want their children to be home part of the day or to ease them into the school day.

In Boise, Liberty Elementary School will be the only option for the afternoon. Buses will not be available for morning classes, no lunch will be provided, and parents will be required to attend kindergarten at noon at least until the fall semester.

The district says limited options reflect limited demand.

“The number of students who took part in kindergarten from the south in 2022-2023, fell below the desired district threshold for admission to each school in the district,” – said in an email to parents on May 11. “However, the common interest of parents justified the opportunity to invite families to open an enrollment in kindergarten at noon in one place.”

Earlier, the Boise district said that in order to take a lesson in kindergarten from noon, it was necessary to recruit at least 15 children. Less than 20 students are enrolled in the noon option, county spokesman Dan Hollar said Tuesday, and the county decided to hold classes in Liberty because most families interested in kindergarten in the south live in Southeast Boise.

Boise’s parents need to enroll in kindergarten at noon in Liberty until June 1. After that the seats will be filled in the order of the first arrival.

In Western Hell, open enrollment in kindergartens ends on Wednesday, and parents should learn more about their afternoon options by June 1st. It is then that district officials plan to send out notices informing parents where classes will be available at noon.

West Ada has identified eight possible places for half-day kindergartens – partly based on geography, but also based on available classroom space.

District officials are still trying to assess interest in kindergarten by noon, but most parents seem to be happy with the plan for the full day.

Earlier this spring, the district received about 900 responses to the survey – a fraction of 3,000 or so of what is included in a kindergarten in Western Ada. Just over 200 respondents said they were amused by the noon option, county spokesman Greg Wilson said Tuesday.

As in Boise, buses will not be available for West Ada Kindergarten from noon. But unlike Boise, if West Ada’s parents sign up for the program at noon, they will need to spend a full school year.

West Ada is trying to provide options other than a strict session for the whole day or afternoon. Parents can work with principals on a flexible “hybrid” option for the full day that allows children to spend more time at home.

“We’re going to come up with the best approach,” Wilson said.

About Kevin Richard

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent visitor to KIVI 6 On Your Side; Idaho Reports on Idaho Public Television; and “Idaho Matters” on State Public Radio Boise. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. You can contact him at [email protected]

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