Date: March 18, 2005
Dear County and District Superintendents:
EXTENDED-DAY KINDERGARTEN WITHIN AN EARLY PRIMARY PROGRAM: LENGTH OF SCHOOL DAY
This letter is to inform you of a specific change to California Education Code (EC) Section 37202 pertaining to extended-day kindergarten classes that are operated as part of an early primary program (pursuant to EC 8970-8974). An early primary program consists of same-age students or any combination of state preschool or child development program, kindergarten, first, second, or third grade students who are provided integrated, experiential, and developmentally appropriate instruction. Thus, within an early primary program, kindergarteners may exceed the four-hour maximum instructional day otherwise applicable to them (pursuant to EC 46111).
Since the inception of the early primary program provisions, any school district offering an extended-day kindergarten class in some but not all of its schools has had to seek a waiver of EC Section 37202. This section requires that all students at a given grade level in a district receive "an equal length" of instructional time.
Assembly Bill 2407 (Chapter 946, Statutes of 2004) revised EC Section 37202 to incorporate a specific, ongoing exception from the equal-length-of-time requirement for extended-day kindergarten classes operated as part of an early primary program. Thus, waivers of EC Section 37202 for this purpose are no longer needed.
By way of background, please note that the following criteria apply to an early primary program:
- There must be a local board-adopted policy establishing the early primary program.
- The school day may not last longer than that permitted for the oldest participating students at the school.
- There must be ample opportunities for active and quiet activities.
Moreover, if a school district wishes to implement an extended-day kindergarten class as part of an early primary program, the following steps should be taken:
- School district personnel should review EC sections 8970-74, 46111, 46115, 46118, 46201, and 45024.
- Affected bargaining units should be consulted and agree to modifying the length of the school day for the participating students at the participating schools.
- The local board should pass a resolution pursuant to EC Section 8973 to establish an early primary program.
To reiterate, a waiver of EC Section 37202 is no longer needed to operate an extended-day kindergarten as part of an early primary program.
If you have any questions or need any additional information regarding the provisions of AB 2407, the establishment of an early primary program, or the operation of an extended-day kindergarten, please contact the Elementary Education Office, at 916-319-0839. If you have any questions regarding waivers, please contact the Waiver Office, at 916-319-0824.