Funding Secured by State Senator and Weymouth Native Patrick O’Connor
Superintendent Jennifer Curtis-Whipple and the Weymouth School Committee are pleased to announce that the newly implemented free full-day kindergarten program at Weymouth Public Schools will receive $250,000 in funding from the state, thanks to the efforts of State Senator Patrick O’Connor.
On Thursday, July 2, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a $1.1B COVID-19 supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2020, and a portion of this budget was approved by the Senate to be allocated to the Weymouth School District. The $250,000 secured by Sen. O’Connor will be used to partially finance Weymouth’s full-day kindergarten program initiative for the 2020-21 school year.
“The Weymouth School District would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Sen. O’Connor and his office for their procurement of funds that will help supplement the costs of our district’s pilot tuition-free full-day kindergarten program,” Superintendent Curtis-Whipple said. “We are extremely excited to join other Massachusetts school communities in offering universal full-day kindergarten to our community members. This program has been years in the making and will benefit our students, our district and our community members immensely. ”
Weymouth’s full-day kindergarten program will have no tuition costs and will eliminate the lottery system the district had for their previous 12 full-day and six half-day kindergarten classes.
To date, over 400 families have signed up for the full-day kindergarten pilot program.
“The Weymouth School Committee and Superintendent’s Office worked hard to bring Universal Full-Day Kindergarten to Weymouth, and we couldn’t be more excited to roll out our pilot program this fall. Universal Full-Day Kindergarten plays an essential role in increasing access to education and educational support services for all students, especially those children who may require early intervention services,” School Committee Chair Lisa Belmarsh said. “We are thrilled to be able to say that Weymouth is joining 90% of Massachusetts school districts who provide Universal Full-Day Kindergarten to their communities, and the School Committee is hopeful that Universal Full-Day Kindergarten will help Weymouth Schools take another large step towards increasing the caliber of educational services we are able to provide to Weymouth families. The funding supported by Senator O’Connor helps support this program and demonstrates his commitment to PK-12 education on the South Shore, and I am grateful for the Senator’s on-going support of Weymouth schools.”
Research has shown that students who go to a full-day of kindergarten have increased achievement levels, compared to students who went to half-day kindergarten, and are better prepared to enter the first grade.
Full-day kindergarten in the Weymouth School District will also create equality and helps to level the playing field for all Weymouth families, not just the ones who are successful in the lottery and the ones who can afford tuition.
“The district had previously made a promise to families that the full-day kindergarten program would begin this fall, and I’m extremely pleased to say that we have followed through with this,” Superintendent Curtis-Whipple said. “We were unwilling to go back on our promise, even in the midst of financial uncertainty surrounding the 2021 fiscal year budget. With the funding Sen. O’Connor secured for his hometown of Weymouth, we will have additional funds within our district to allocate towards this program. We truly appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience during the process of creating this program.”