School additions support full-day kindergarten in U46
Full-day kindergarten launched Wednesday in the U46 school district and the additions to three schools to make it possible were celebrated this week in a series of ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
"I think it's a celebration not only for our school, but our entire community," said Laurel Hill Elementary School Principal Luis Fernando de Leon. "It's something that we have been looking for."
Six classrooms were added to Laurel and 10 each to Highland and Coleman elementaries. Boundary changes to facilitate full-day kindergarten were approved in December and take effect with the start of the school year.
Community support has been strong for the idea of full-day kindergarten.
"It says it all and it sets a precedent about U46 and the community's willingness to invest; also the students, they deserve the best," Fernando de Leon said. "They're doing their best work every day."
Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, spoke of the effort it took to build an addition to Laurel Hill in Hanover Park.
"When you look at the issues that we're having at this stage as to how we fund education in the school districts, it's really remarkable that notwithstanding all that, U46 was able to do what they did here today," he said.
Crespo noted that kindergarten is not a requirement in the state, making the achievement even more significant.
Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig said holding a ceremony in Hanover Park serves as a reminder of the community's desire to learn and grow as one.
"It's so important that our community see continuous growth," he said. "It means a lot to the families of Hanover Park. It means a lot to those of us in these official positions to encourage continuous growth."
School District U46 CEO Tony Sanders said he and other school officials try to be responsive to the changing needs of the community.
"This addition, which helps support full-day kindergarten, will just add enhance the learning of U46 students for generations and generations to come," he said.