Year in Review: 2018 Delivered Universal Full-Day Kindergarten in Loudoun

2018 brought a major milestone for the county’s youngest students.

It was the first year that every Loudoun kindergartener has been offered a full academic day. This comes after years of Loudoun was branded as one of only three school districts in the state, and the only one in the DC metro region, to not provide universal full-day kindergarten.

The work to achieve it began in 2014, when the School Board hired Superintendent Eric Williams and charged him with expanding full-day kindergarten from, at the time, just 11 percent of the county.

Ahead of the first day of school in August, Williams said, “Starting this year, we’re providing full-day kindergarten to all of our students in order to give them the best possible start to their academic year.”

To get there, his team came up with a plan to construct classroom additions, plus the School Board agreed to allocate more operating dollars to the effort and to temporarily reassign a few students from crowded schools to schools that have more space.

After the goal was reached, school administrators warned the community that it will be tough to maintain universal full-day kindergarten, especially in parts of the county that are still seeing hundreds of new families move in each year. But Mike Martin, the head of elementary education in Loudoun County, told School Board members in mid-November that the enrollment projections for 2019-2020 indicate there will be enough classroom space for every kindergartener to attend for a full day next year, too.

“This is a tribute to this School Board’s dedication to pursuing, over the last four years, a massive amount of progress in serving all of our students with full-day kindergarten,” he said.

School Board member Joy Maloney (Broad Run), one of the board’s most vocal advocates of full-day kindergarten, told Martin, “Thank you very much for seeing this through. I hope our policy in the future will be that we just have universal full-day kindergarten—always.”

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