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: Full-Day Kindergarten Snuck in Budget Without Advance Public Notice  ( 68817 )
Counselor
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« #30 : January 16, 2011, 06:32:51 AM »

10-15 or 6-8 year old research, so what? You mention several times you want the board to re-open the study because the data is old. Said research, of which you were a part is 3-4 years old and thus by using your standards, for determining validity and efficacy, (the newer it is the more valid it is), younger and thus more valid than the research you cited. Meaning, it is still a valid and integral part of the discussion for determining whether or not full day kindergarten is a viable option for our community. It is not out of date and in need of being re-opened, re-tested and re-submitted.  Even though as you mention, the vote then was not unanimous then, people on that very committee have since changed their minds and believe that now is the time for full day kindergarten. Not to mention, if you use the radically informal data here in this forum, there are by my calculations, currently, seven forum members (significant others included) who support full day, four that clearly do not (significant other included) and one undecided.  The numbers are 10-4-1 if we include the school boards votes here. Using your measuring stick for research validity, my numbers are more recent, thus valid and the yes votes here seem to indicate it should indeed be a part of the budget.

You want transparency? By definition the fact that the item was discussed in a public forum and not hidden within a larger bill like some pork barrel piece of legislature means that there is transparency here. Albeit a bit opaque, but it is certainly there for public debate. The argument and comparison to a home budget is totally relevant. Full day kindergarten has been a part of every budget discussion since 2008. The district took seriously the states edict to level fund and as a result it was removed every budget cycle until now. Clearly, the district supports the idea but has not felt it had the funds to support it until now. We all make similar decisions with our own personal lives. Forgoing desired items until one day we decide the time is right for that expense. Our district has decided that the time for this budget item is now.

As ANS Baker said on this forum earlier, “This isn’t a “research-based” discussion.  There is no definitive research either way.  It’s about a community making a decision in the best interest of the children.   Look around us – why have so many other school districts implemented full-day kindergarten if it is truly so detrimental and costly to the community?”  DrewCash, right in this forum, took the liberty of finding many statements in FAVOR of full day kindergarten within the very research you cited. Not in just one article, but in every one of them. Yet, you go on to say, “The research, however, does not support the notion that full-day kindergarten provides any lasting advantage”. 

Again, as discussed several times already, taken as a whole, this statement is an incredibly irresponsible, gross over- generalization. The whole of full day, kindergarten efficacy research, most certainly DOES NOT say this! If anything the research leaves us at a stand-off, equal on both sides. So, let us take research out of the equation, because we can both use it to make it say whatever the heck we want it to. This is about the community making a decision about what is in the best interest of our children. What is so bad about full day kindergarten? Can the thousand if not hundreds of thousands of district with full day kindergarten all be wrong? What about the fact that in the east, children go to school for a full day (which is actually 2-4 hours longer than our existing school day), six days a week? Is that wrong too? Full day kindergarten is not the root of all evil…  I promise. If it added a huge dollar figure to the budget I might agree with you. In the long run the overall budget impact is quite small with potentially a HUGE return. Even if it is just a “big” return is it not worth it?

Lastly, I honestly, do not understand why you would encourage the entire community to vote down an entire school budget. That seems rather brash and just a bit dangerous. Do you realize that you would not just be impacting the kindergarten program, but the entire school budget? Are you willing to sacrifice any and all budget items for the sake of a full day program? What if full day is left in the next budget and theater is subsequently cut before the budget comes back to the community. Was this all worth it? We all saw (or most of us did based on the attendance) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Beauty and the Beast. Clearly, the answer is NO. Is the thought of a full day program that bad that you are willing to risk anything in the budget just to prove your point? What is it about full day kindergarten that you are truly afraid of?
suze
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« #31 : January 16, 2011, 07:43:12 AM »

Whoa, counselor... nicely done, and a very important point to make. 

“I choose to believe that full day kindergarten is beneficial.”  I will support the school budget, as I do each year. 
DrewCrash
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« #32 : January 16, 2011, 10:34:27 AM »


To clear up a misquote, the research reports I cited was not 10-15 years old but from 2004 and 2006.  The internet links were put in my earlier post to allow anyone interested to read the research reports cited.  Everyone can choose to believe what they wish, and everyone is free to say “I choose to believe that full day kindergarten is beneficial.”  The research, however, does not support the notion that full-day kindergarten provides any lasting advantage. 



@ Patricia: Your report(s) are from 2004 and 2006. But if you read the report and the data, the data is from 1998-1999. Therefore, the data is as old as I said it was and thus I was not misrepresenting the data you presented. Your report(s) are done to see the long lasting effect of kindergarten. Your report(s) states that there are signs of early advantages, but that the report(s) state these advantages are no longer recognizable after a certain grade point. As I stated before, which I deleted because I thought Counselor's argument of ($0 budget impact) was better than mine, if your report(s) state that there is no advantage by the 5th grade, then there is a recognizable difference in other earlier grades.  And thus the impact or the loss of advantages gained can not be attributed to kindergarten, but the then quality of education between kindergarten and the fifth grade (the grade your report measured to.)

Even your report, says that it should be looked at carefully as it recognizes the variables that the data doesn't account for, etc. You are using this RAND report as if it was 'law' and the report itself says its not 'law.'

ohhman
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« #33 : January 16, 2011, 02:18:17 PM »

Backing up a bit, as to the mention of daycare cost, Drew it was a posting YOU had done, which now has been removed, that said it'd be cheaper for full kindergarten than your full daycare costs. It is true that whatever side you agree with you can find information to support your belief.  What I think should have happened, was for this, as Patricia said, to be discussed in a public forum, especially during these harder economic times.  I feel Patrica is being responsible taking into consideration the "extras" it will cost, not just for lights, but as I mentioned before, lunchroom extras, custodial extras, the extra in supplies needed for a full day.  But another point that some seem to just skip by, is that kindergarten is NOT required! So, in my opinion, what our school offers with a 2/3 school day is more than adequate for our children & a good use of our tax dollars.  Angie, not everyone unfortunately takes as much time with their child/ren as you do; she is very lucky, but so were you...you come from good parents that devoted time for their children;  sadly this does not always happen in many homes.  I have been a daycare provider for over 27yrs., and many times over these years, children have been brought to us in the nighttime diaper, not fed & clearly with no bath the night before & when they pick them up, they can't wait the 2 hrs. or so to get them to bed!  Reality bites, but this is what happens more than some can imagine.  So NO matter what "extra" is put in the budget, we are still always going to have some kids that just aren't so fortunate &yes we need to help all of them, but WE ALREADY ARE!!
As for counselor's comments on how people on this forum have sided, I am sure you can't begin to imagine people that do not write on this forum, do NOT even read this forum,(although it's a great forum!), so that comment does not validate what many may feel;  I know many that DO NOT support a full day kindergarten for many reasons just as you may know many who do.  And to say not to pass a budget in fear something good may be deleted, like theater,  if the public comes back & voices to the board the reason to vote down our budget is possibly because of the full day-K, our board most likely will listen!  The reason why budgets are voted down are because people simply cannot afford the tax increase;   to put in something extra, something that we already include in our budget that is NOT mandated, is just NOT being financially responsible at this time!  Everyone's bills are increasing: food, gas, utilities,etc., but NOT everyones wages are increasing; some are lucky to have a job & some are not.
Another good point Patricia brought is the discussion on the possible merger of Fletcher to Fairfax.  I read Fletcher school would not close, but could this possibly mean kids that are on the boarder of our towns, may have option to come here? That could increase enrollment, SO then we'd be looking a BUILDING??!!  These are things that should be looked at before deciding to have a fulltime K program...my opinion.... but I do vote & I will not vote for this school budget!
Counselor
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« #34 : January 16, 2011, 03:26:14 PM »

If we are paralyzed by what if’s and maybes then we will never move forward. We can’t assume something MAY happen and let that influence all of our decisions today. As for my comment about items being deleted from the budget, if this budget is voted down then anything, is fair game. For this budget cycle there is a ZERO percent increase if we go to full day kindergarten. Do we really think the board would remove an item that this year costs them nothing? At the very least, lets go for it this year and evaluate the validity of the program and gauge community support before the next budget cycle when there would be a financial impact. As for merging with Fletcher, they have1/2 day kindergarten now, and have approved a move to full day. Would we tell those parents upon a merger, nope sorry back to 1/2 time? There is something to be said for the standardization of both curriculum and programs across the district, that this would bring.

As for the “extras” that are again mentioned, custodial costs would be the same. Each room would be no dirtier and they are cleaned at the end of the day anyway along with every other room. Cafeteria costs? Again, marginal, as families pay for lunches or utilize the free and reduced programs. As for supplies, I think we would all be surprised at the volume of supplies each individual teacher in that entire school supply to their classrooms out of their own pockets.  Though Kindergarten may not be mandatory, it is fast becoming essential. So, though VT does not mandate it, I am curious to see the data for where the students who did not have kindergarten, full or 2/3 day are when they enter first grade.  I suspect we would find that a majority lag behind their peers quite substantially.

I think it is time. I notice that Patricia created her account here in order to spread her view point. I created my account, in order to offer a counter point to hers.  It is my hope that the community will see the value in both of our positions and make their own informed decision. Again, I want to know that I am part of a democratic society full of critical thinkers; each of them capable of making their own informed decisions.

I know that nothing will convince those rooted in their belief to change those beliefs. Patricia’s position is certainly valued within our community and that’s good. She certainly makes a logical case for her position. I hope that she feels the same about me, when she and her peers reflect upon our discussion. I think we have done a reasonable job of presenting both sides to this coin and I do not think we can effectively push this discussion any further. Just as we do in the research, we have a stalemate, with no one side the victor.

As I said, my intention was to be the counterpoint, in this discussion. I feel that this discussion has run its course and valuable ground was gained on both sides. Now it is up to the community to decide, should the BFA Fairfax schools institute a full day kindergarten program or not? Again at ZERO impact this budget cycle. The research on this topic, if anything, is inconclusive. There is no such thing as an absolute, (except absolute zero), as nothing happens ALL the time. Not ALL research says just one thing about this topic. So, research aside, we must ask ourselves, is it worth it? Is the cost money wise too great? Is the cost of a full day on our children too great? Is the cost of voting down a budget in the best interest of every child? These questions and many others are the ones we as voters must consider as we go to town meeting and subsequently to the polls to formally vote. Though I hope community members vote yes, because I believe the cost of not voting yes is way too high, I understand the opposite perspective enough to respect it.

So, I encourage people to use reason and passion when making this decision. Individually each of these ideas are powerful, however, we can lose sight of the forest for the trees when we decide using exclusively one or the other. Don’t let your passion for a subject, rule your reason. For, it is when we combine the two, that we make truly powerful, meaningful and important decisions.

I think it is time for me to say thank you to you Patricia and Co., for this opportunity and to Henry Raymond for the forum, (both literally and figuratively). I will see you at the polls.
suze
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« #35 : January 16, 2011, 05:37:07 PM »

The case for civility in kindly and thoughfully expressing one's opinions is beautifully exemplified on this thread - kudos to all. 
Henry
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« #36 : January 16, 2011, 06:20:28 PM »

I was going to comment on that - What a truly good group of commenters

Henry Raymond
rod anode
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« #37 : January 17, 2011, 05:51:42 AM »

vote no!!!!!!!!!
ohhman
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« #38 : January 17, 2011, 10:22:10 AM »

rod anode....for once I agree with you!!!
No way No how does it cost "nothing", but I am glad comments have been civil!  Thanks Henry!   I don't think we should close this as there may be others that may want to offer their thoughts........nicely!
vtgoober
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« #39 : January 17, 2011, 12:40:13 PM »

Again to clarify misinformation, I did not register just to post my view point as Counselor stated and did.  I registered on February 20, 2006; this is clearly seen if you click on my profile. 

I began this thread to notify the public, as my title indicates, that full-day kindergarten was snuck into the budget without advance public notice at the final budget meeting held on January 10th.  I then listened carefully to chatter around town for a few days, watched this very forum, and engaged in conversation with many community members following this board vote.  The news continued to be silent; no one knew about the vote, no one knew that full-day kindergarten was before the board, and no one knew it was up for a vote to be included in the FY2012 school budget.  The public was still not being notified that this very divisive issue was entered into the budget at the last minute that taxpayers would then be asked to vote on.  This troubled me deeply.

As I have continued to state, the budget process must be open, honest, and transparent at all times.  When it is not, trust is damaged.  Every time the topic of full-day kindergarten has been properly warned on the school board agenda, people from both sides have shown up, voiced their opinions, and asked questions of our administrators and board members.  As I will continue to state, this time our communities’ right to have this opportunity was denied to us. The agenda, posted late the prior week, just references "kindergarten" as an item to be discussed (not voted upon) and that it would be discussed after the passage of the FY2012 budget.  There was no notice that this was going to be discussed as a budget item or program addition during the January 10th meeting so people would know to attend and voice their opinion.  You cannot say this was adequately discussed in a public forum if no one knew it was going to be discussed except those select few who were solicited by school employees to go and support it.

This forum is a wonderful resource for our community (many thanks over to Henry); but not everyone reads it, most certainly not everyone that has an opinion posts it here, and it doesn’t replace the boards’ and administration’s legal responsibility to warn the public properly of agenda items.   I do appreciate the discourse this forum allows community members to engage in.  I personally have enjoyed using it for years to keep myself informed about the little happenings around our community that you can truly enjoy in a small connected community like ours.

Having said this, there are never zero budget implications when a recurring program is added.  All board members and the administration stated in open session on January 10th that the costs for full-day kindergarten would be included in the general school budget for FY2013; this means that Fairfax taxpayers would then pay the $25,000 plus any salary increases and additional program expenses fully.  I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand all the nuances of Medicaid dollars versus general budget dollars in compiling a school budget.  The federal Medicaid funds being used are derived from taxes as well though.  The only reasons Medicaid dollars are being used this year to fund the additional cost to add full-day kindergarten instead of these expenses being directly placed in the general school budget are:  1.  the board could still state it met the Challenge and 2. an additional $25,000 would have had to be cut from the general school budget in order to add in this program and still allow the board to meet the Challenge.  Did these Medicaid dollars suddenly appear overnight?  No.  If full-day kindergarten was something the administration wanted to advocate for, then it should have been done so in an open, honest, and transparent way over the course of the many budget discussions and meetings the board held this year that would have allowed the public its right to comment on the issue.  Instead, the board and administration told the public that it would not be a part of the FY2012 budget.  Then, suddenly and without notice, the administration and board made an about-face and slid it in the budget without advance public warning. 

This further strikes me as deceptive to sneak in a controversial program for one year with the advertising that it will not cost anything and then hit the taxpayers with the full cost (again the roughly $25,000 plus the salary increases and additional program expenses, if we trust the current figure provided by this administration) the following year as part of the general FY2013 budget.  Would the public even be notified of the breakdown of costs at that point because it is an existing program?  Or would it be hidden in the general ‘kindergarten’ line item for the budget for the year?  I personally don’t trust that the taxpayers would be notified. 

I went to the January 10th school board meeting to speak out against staff members petitioning in the school hallways during school hours.  This was important to me because our local Success By Six program received calls from parents who were made to feel uncomfortable by this because they were not in support of full-day kindergarten.   I was shocked to say the least when full-day kindergarten came up for a vote to be included in the FY2012 budget while I was sitting there.  I felt intentionally deceived by the agenda, the board, and the administration.  The agenda posted for this meeting clearly sold this as an item that would not be discussed as part of the FY2012 budget that was to be voted upon that very night.  This is compounded again by the board and administration haven clearly told the public that this program was not going to be added for FY2012 as well. 

Yes, I was able to speak out against full-day kindergarten during this meeting because I was accidentally sitting there.  Another parent who had been approached to sign the petition who was opposed to full-day kindergarten was also there and spoke in opposition.  It saddened and troubled me greatly to think of all the voices that went unheard and unsolicited from the board and administration that night.  My thought went out immediately to all the families and community members who I personally know who are opposed to full-day kindergarten, the ones I don’t know who are opposed, and those who are undecided who could have asked questions and been part of the discussion who would wake up the next morning not knowing something that was important to them was so silently snuck in the budget. 

There are a number of people who won’t speak their opinion because of fear of public backlash or ridicule that sometimes comes from publicizing an opinion.  It is difficult for parents and community members to speak publicly against a position that both an administration and their children’s past, current, or future teachers hold.  What is great about the country we live in is that we have an Australian ballot voting system.  People in our community get to go into the voting booth on Town Meeting Day and cast a vote or an opinion completely on their own.  This is where all registered voters in our community get to speak.  I have publicly stated I will be voting NO to this budget for many reasons.  The two main reasons are that I do not support full-day kindergarten and that I do not support back-door attempts to slide in controversial programming without advance public notice.

The unfortunate position the board and administration have put the community of Fairfax in with their actions on January 10th is that most people will go into the voting booth and vote on a budget that they do not know includes full-day kindergarten.  It was my hope in making this post to do my small part to alert the community to this slide-in item.
Frankly, I find it irresponsible to suggest that if the budget is voted down, that other programs may be lost like drama and so we should just support the budget.  This is simply a scare tactic. If the budget contains items you do not support, it is your right and responsibility to do your part to vote it down and make your voice heard. 

As far as what will happen, if consolidation occurs between Fairfax and Fletcher regarding the kindergarten programs, that will ultimately be up to the new Board and the people of both communities.

As for my statements regarding the research being irresponsible, I would encourage you each to read the research reports I cited and re-read my statements.  I did not say the research says nothing that could be read as support for full-day kindergarten.  The research I cited were compilations of research from around the country done by the US Department of Education and by a think tank (Rand) at the behest of Congress; they were not just based on one study.   I said the research I cited clearly states that the evidence demonstrates that full-day kindergarten does not provide a lasting effect.  That is all I said.  That is not irresponsible, it is re-stating what these very reports state.  I find it ironic that for years the biggest trump card supporters of full-day kindergarten, especially the school administrators and faculty, seemed to think they had was that "all the research supports the benefits of full-day kindergarten.”   Now that research is pointed out to the public to demonstrate that this is not the case, all of sudden the research simply results in a stalemate and we should not even be talking about it.

I am not Patricia and Co.  I am a mom, a wife, a teacher, a daughter, an employee, a community and school volunteer, and community member among many other hats that each individual invariably wears throughout the course of their everyday life.  I am also a Fairfax taxpayer who will be voting NO to the FY2012 school budget. 
Counselor
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« #40 : January 17, 2011, 02:11:33 PM »

Just to clarify:
1)   By Patricia and Co, I was simply referring to those on this forum that have been kind enough to participate and/or lurk in this conversation. Any other inference is solely the responsibility of the reader.
2)   When you vote down a budget, ANYTHING in that budget can be eliminated. NOT just the item you disagree with. A boards first assumption when a budget is voted down, is that it is too expensive. The natural consequence of that is to cut money. My statement that the board will/may cut programs and thus $$$ is not intended to be a scare tactic, but reality.
3)   Again, when you make the statement: “The research, however, does not support the notion that full-day kindergarten provides any lasting advantage”.  The, “the research” in that statement, expects the reader to infer that ALL research, “… does not support the notion that full-day kindergarten provides any lasting advantage”. My point was simply, that this is not the case. ALL research does not say this. Some may indeed make this conclusion. Other studies may find that there is a lasting impact. Which leads me too…
4)   … My statement that we have come to an impasse with the research argument was to simply acknowledge that there is equal justification in the research on both sides, to either support or fight against full day kindergarten. What it boils down to is: what do each of us think is in the best interest of children, period.
5)   My statement that you created your profile to post your thoughts was indeed off. I apologize. However, your profile also states that you have made six total posts here, all six of them in this forum. Again, I appreciate each one of them. Even though I may not agree with you, I appreciate the opportunity to have this public discourse and I hope that those who have read this have taken away one or two new pieces of info that will allow them to be informed voters, no matter how their vote may fall.
6)   I know it is obvious, but I will be voting Yes on the 2012 school budget, our students and their teachers deserve our support.
mkr
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« #41 : January 17, 2011, 02:39:12 PM »

I appreciate everyone's comments and passion about the topic and I am listening to both sides.

My question was  “I would like to truly hear what the teachers will do with the full day vs the current curriculum".

According to Counselor "True, there may be no curriculum additions… now, but inevitably there will be. Not to mention that the current curriculum is expansive enough as  it is and adding more time will, as I stated before, allow for students to begin to own their learning"

I appreciate your response Counselor, but I guess what I am asking needs to be responded by the school board. This unfortunately did not sway me towards full days. I want the dollar amounts and I want to see improvements for the dollar amounts. If it is $50,000, yes I expect more for that.  If it is $5,000 well I would not expect so much.  I get the first year is FREE, but like buying something with the first year without payments or interest, I need to know what the future costs approxmiate before I say yes.

I don't just hop on bandwagons, all the other schools are doing it kinda thing, I want the facts for the Fairfax School to add more time to the Kindergarten program.  If the price and future price is right, then you will have my vote for sure.

"Life is too short, so love the one you got!"
rod anode
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« #42 : January 17, 2011, 03:17:04 PM »

this is truely an historic day when 3plusk agrees with me WOW
Counselor
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« #43 : January 17, 2011, 09:11:33 PM »

MKR, Near as I can figure, there are two documents that should be considered. The first, is the curriculum documents that can be found on the district website.  They list the pre-K through 12 curriculum for English, Math, Science, Social Studies and Technology (http://www.bfafairfax.com/pages/curriculum.html). From the looks of it, the posted curriculum is quite comprehensive here and after looking at it before responding to you, I wonder if it is feasible for students and teachers to complete the outlined curriculum in a full day program let alone the existing ⅔ day program.

The next document is no less daunting. This is the document published by the state of Vermont and lists Vermont’s Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities (http://education.vermont.gov/new/pdfdoc/pubs/framework.pdf). From the states DOE website, they say that this document was created to:

1. To provide a structure from which standards-based district, school, and classroom curriculum can be developed, organized, implemented, and assessed.
2. To provide the basis for the development of a state, local, and classroom comprehensive assessment system.
3. To make explicit what may be included in statewide assessments of student learning.

Patricia is correct, the state does not mandate kindergarten, however this document is not only exhaustively comprehensive, but clearly outlines standards for Pre-K through grade 12. Not mandated, but exhaustively outlined.

I do not know if this completely answers your question or not, though I do not think it does, because we have not heard from the district as to their expectations for the move to full day. Will they expect teachers to add more content? Or will they be expected to ensure that all students meet the standards outlined here? In my opinion it seems impossible for them to thoroughly cover the current expectations in existing school day in a manner that ensures an enduring understanding for all students.

*I tried to post these sites as links but could not figure out the link editor, sorry.
vtgoober
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« #44 : January 19, 2011, 12:04:36 PM »

MKR is correct that the only people that can accurately answer the questions about curriculum are the board and administration.  They failed to provide the public with their opportunity to ask these questions with their actions on January 10th.  However, the public has been told repeatedly that the kindergarten curriculum will not have any additions or expansions to it by the administration in open sessions at repeated school board meetings and in their 2008 fact sheet. 

As for the current curriculum, the easiest document to read through when trying to ascertain what it consists of for kindergarten students at BFA-Fairfax is the kindergarten report card itself.  It clearly outlines the learning goals for the students to have gained by THE END of kindergarten and is in alignment with the DOE grade level expectations.  The Grade Level Expectations for kindergarten students can be found broken down by each grade level and content area by visiting http://www.education.vermont.gov/new/html/pubs/framework.html .

For those interested, here is a copy the BFA-Fairfax Kindergarten report card for ease:
(bold items are the topic headings)

Social Development:
-demonstrates respect for self and others
-performs effectively in a group
-gets along well with others
-stays on task
-participates in class
-follows directions
-manages transitions between activities
-demonstrates physical self-control
-manages feelings and frustrations effectively
Language Arts:  Reading:
Reading Strategies:  Demonstrates concepts of print by:

   Identifying key parts of book (front, back, print, illustrations)
   Distinguishing between printed letters and words
   Identifying first and last parts of a word
                Following text with finger pointing and demonstrates left to right and top to bottom directionality
   Meets standard for recognizing all upper and lower case letters
   Recognizes and produces rhyming words
   Segments words into syllables
   Identifies letter/sound relationship
   Spends time with a book as a choice
Reading Comprehension:  Reads for meaning, demonstrating both initial understanding and personal response to what is read
      Responds to simple questions about a books content
      Identifies and interprets key elements of a story
Reading Accuracy: 
             Meets kindergarten text level standards (From VT Dept. of Education Literacy Grade Level Expectations formatted by grade level “• Reading approximately 20 high-frequency words, including names, environmental print, sight words (as appropriate to the child’s personal and classroom experiences)”)
Writing Development:
   Pictorial:  Simple pictures
         Details pictures with verbal story
   Letterer:  pictures with random letters
   Copier:  uses words visible in classroom
   Labeler:  writes names and important part of a picture
   Sound maker:  uses the inventive speller (letter sound connection)
Writing Conventions:
      Writes left to right, top to bottom
      Begins to use spaces
      Writes his or her own name
      Uses correct spelling and/or phonetic skills to attempt a close approximation
Mathematics:
   Counts backwards from 10
   Counts 1-20, 1-35, 1-50
   Reads numbers  1-20, 1-35, 1-50
   Sorts objects using numbers
   Orders numbers 1-20, 1-35, 1-50
   Explores addition and subtraction (10 or less)
   Recognizes nickel, penny, and dime by name and face value
   Identifies circle, triangle, rectangle, and square
   Draws four basic shapes
   Measures with non-standard units
   Identifies clock and calendar as measurement tools
   Recognizes, describes, and extends simple patterns
   Sorts and classifies objects
   Interprets graphs and tally charts
   Makes predictions based on mathematical data
   Identifies ordinal numbers to the 10th place (1st, 2nd, etc)
   Solves story problems for quantities to 10 with manipulatives or drawings
Social Studies:
   My History:  Past and Present
   Map skills
   Interacting in positive ways
Science: 
   Weather
   Living and non-living
   Sorting and classifying:  liquids and solids
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