I represent Carroll Values Education and we are requesting that kindergarten assistants remain in the kindergarten classroom throughout the day.
The parents of this community were told repeatedly that three main items were on the chopping block if we did not get flat funding from the County: Outdoor School, media clerks, and kindergarten assistants. Thankfully, we did get flat funding and now we are confused. We are hearing that kindergarten assistants’ duties will be expanded outside of the kindergarten classroom next year. Yet no one can or will tell us exactly how the kindergarten assistants are going to be used; how much time they will be spending in the kindergarten classroom; or why this issue, which so many parents fought for, is not being decided upon until the summer when parents and teachers are less mobilized to ask questions and provide input? I truly hope that that is not intentional.
Carroll Values Education recognizes that every resource must be stretched, and that kindergarten assistants are no exception. We are willing to accept that kindergarten assistants may not be able to remain exclusively in the kindergarten classroom. But, we believe that kindergarten assistants must remain in the kindergarten classroom daily during the critical times of reading groups, math groups, assessments, and the first few weeks of school. Reducing the kindergarten assistants’ time to any less than this will undoubtedly affect the rigor and high quality of the current kindergarten program. Additionally, we ask that you reach out to the kindergarten staff, which seems to have been left in the dark about these changes, and ask them what they need. And lastly, we ask for transparency in regards to kindergarten assistants as we move forward. If hard decisions need to be made, the community has a right to hear them and those making the decisions need to be prepared to stand by them.
I was not going to spend time discussing kindergarten assistants’ merits, because I believe that is obvious. But I would be remiss if, on my son’s last day of kindergarten, I did not send out a huge thank you to my son’s assistant. Thank you for teaching him how to write; for working with other students in the classroom so that he could learn to read with only four other students and to learn to add and subtract with only six other students; and for keeping the classroom running during assessment time so he was able to continue learning and not just do “busy work.” Thank you for nurturing him, teaching him respect for others, and helping to establish a strong future for his education.
Removing kindergarten assistants from the kindergarten classroom will decrease the level of learning occurring in kindergarten. This decrease will be felt in subsequent grades as teachers are forced to cover material from the previous year. Keeping kindergarten assistants in the classroom will help maintain the high quality foundation currently found in our public schools. Again, Carroll Values Education asks that kindergarten assistants remain in the kindergarten classroom throughout the day, but at the very least during reading groups, math groups, assessments, and the first few weeks of school. Thank you.