Eileen McPeake 0

Preserve a Kindergarten-only K-Club at Del Rey

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To the Del Rey Parents' Club's Leaders & the Dolphin Club Advisory Committee:

Thank you for hosting a Town Hall on June 9, 2010 to discuss the planned changes to K-Club/Dolphin Club. Although a decision was made to integrate the 1st and 2nd graders into K-Club at 2pm starting this fall - effectively eliminating the kindergarten-only enrichment program currently known as K-Club and replacing it with a childcare center for grades K-2 - we request that you reconsider this decision. We would like a kindergarten-only enrichment program until 3pm each day

We specifically request that you:

(1) Preserve the uniqueness of our kindergarten program

In the effort to replace Mrs. Inada, the K-Club leader's job description should refer to a "kindergarten after-school enrichment program," not a K-2 program. Dolphin Club should state that 1st and 2nd grade students may join K-Club activities between 1:55 and 3:00pm if (and ONLY if) the number of students actually residing in the Dolphin Club room exceeds the limits dictated by the Fire Marshall (as some enrolled children could be in other location like enrichment or the playground). The new K-Club leader should have ultimate discretion  in deciding which children are allowed into the K-Club room. 

(2) Revisit how you utilize space inside the portables

We appreciate that Dolphin Club faces capacity issues that could be alleviated by integrating 1st and 2nd graders into what we now call K-Club. Rather than eliminate our kindergarten program, we encourage Dolphin Club leaders to think more creatively about how the current space is organized and used. Could the programs simply swap portables? This would alleviate the space issue but necessitate a reworking of check-in and snack procedures. Should we spend money to move walls or add plumbing, among other ideas? If so simple calculations - using the Dolphin Club Advisory Committee's own utilization data - show than an investment could be recouped within a year by applying a nominal surcharge (50 cents) onto K-Club's hourly rate. 

(3) Consider raising the price for K-Club

Currently, parents pay $4.50/hr for both K-Club and Dolphin Club, though K-Club's significantly smaller average student-to-teacher ratio justifies higher fees. Elsewhere in our community, parents pay $6-15/hr for preschools, $9-27/hr for a variety of enrichment activities for kindergartners, and $15-25/hr for nannies/babysitters. If we feel uncomfortable sending our kindergartners to a K-2 after school program, we will face more expensive (and less convenient) childcare options. We are willing to spend more than the $5.50/hr Dolphin Club rate proposed for next year for a high-caliber, kindergarten-only K-Club. 

We, the parents of Del Rey kids of all ages, as well as parents of incoming kindergartners, believe that this investment of time, energy and money to keep a stand-alone K-Club at Del Rey is absolutely critical. Several among us would like to volunteer our time to make these suggestions reality. KIndergarten may only be one of six grades at Del Rey, but K-Club touches all of us during our children's first year at Del Rey. Every 1st through 5th grader at Del Rey was, not that long ago, a kindergartner. 

Please sign on to show your support! And tell us what grades your child(ren) will be next fall, if you have a future kindergartner (2011 and beyond), and what maximum hourly rate you'd pay for a high-quality K-Club program. Thank you!


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