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NEWTON

Newton public schools to launch full-day kindergarten in September

Newton Public Schools will implement full-day kindergarten for students beginning in September, city officials announced Tuesday.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller called the effort a “big step forward” for the city’s public schools.

“After years of discussion this is happening because of the hard work and commitment of the Newton Teachers Association, the School Department, the School Committee, and yes, the $1 million added to the school budget by my administration,” Fuller said in a statement.

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The change will mean that all the city’s kindergartners will follow the same school schedule as elementary students in grades 1 to 5, Newton Superintendent David Fleishman said in a letter sent to residents and posted to the school district’s website.

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There are 15 elementary schools in Newton, with about 5,800 students enrolled in kindergarten through Grade 5 during the 2017-2018 school year, according to the district’s website.

“We expect this will make scheduling more manageable and predictable for all families in our district,” Fleishman said.

The expanded time for kindergartners will provide greater opportunities for children to develop their social and emotional skills through “a range of learning experiences,” Fleishman said.

The schools will maintain small-group instruction with a full-time teaching assistant in each kindergarten classroom to support the teacher and the students, he said.

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More information will be sent out to the families of incoming kindergarten students, and orientation for those families will be held in February, he said.

Fleishman said he credited Fuller for allocating additional money to support full-day kindergarten and the Newton Teachers Association for its commitment to making the change possible.

“Many people have been working on this initiative for several years and we are excited for its implementation in September,” he said.

For more information about kindergarten registration in Newton, visit www.newton.k12.ma.us.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.