Gilroy kindergartners, teachers adjust to full-day classes

 

One week into the new school year, Antonio Del Buono, El Roble,
Glen View and Luigi Aprea are in a tough adjustment period when it
comes to the newly implemented all-day kindergarten program.
One week into the new school year, Antonio Del Buono, El Roble, Glen View and Luigi Aprea are in a tough adjustment period when it comes to the newly implemented all-day kindergarten program.

This year marks the first time that all of the eight elementary schools have a full day of instruction for kindergartners in the Gilroy Unified School District. With class sizes increased due to budget cuts, which has freed up classrooms districtwide, administrators now have the space necessary for a full day of curriculum.

“Change is difficult,” said Velia Codiga, Principal at Antonio Del Buono. “The kids are not used to the full-day program yet and they are ready to go home after lunch.”

But Codiga, who used to be a primary teacher, acknowledges that the first month is always the hardest for students, teachers and parents. Though she is currently trying to problem-solve the issue of finding relief times for kindergarten teachers who are used to having extra support in the half-day program, she is optimistic about the future. “The kids will learn the routine.”

In an effort to smooth the transition to larger classes and new school hours, Antonio Del Buono held a special kindergarten parent orientation August 16. So far, the decision to start a full-day program has pleased parents.

“We’re thrilled,” said Jose Pulido, who came with his wife Brandy to drop off their daughter at Antonio Del Buono for her first day of school, August 18. “It gives the children more opportunity to learn.”

Before the all-day program was implemented districtwide, Glen View ran five half-day kindergarten classes between three rooms, with separate morning and afternoon groups. Two teachers shared the classroom and overlapped for about an hour.

Although kindergarten teachers at Antonio Del Buono declined to respond to the change, Elaine Knutzen, literacy facilitator for Antonio Del Buono, has already recognized the increased pressure with reorganizing classrooms and addressing staffing issues.

“The teachers are working really hard to make sure the children and the parents are comfortable with the changes.”

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