TOWN OF BELOIT—The Beloit Turner School District is moving forward on plans to expand its 4K program to an all-day model after receiving board approval Monday night.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the 4K expansion for the 2021-22 school year. The board also approved adding two more teachers. A third new teacher could potentially be added depending on June projected enrollment numbers.

The Beloit Turner School District currently has two full-time 4K teachers, who teach both a morning and afternoon section for four total.

The 4K program expansion is planned for the same time that Garden Prairie Intermediate School will open to grades two through five.

Powers Elementary School will continue to offer classes for students in 4K, kindergarten and first grade.

Speaking to the district’s Personnel Committee before the full board meeting, Powers Elementary School Principal Vickie Smith said the expansion to all-day 4K will greatly aid students’ emotional and social development through play-based, structured learning.

Smith added the all-day option means 4K students will be given nutritional lunches.

“It is a huge benefit to have the students with us all day,” Smith said. “Our students really deserve that, and academically they would be in a much better place.”

Beth Towns, one of the district’s 4K teachers, told the committee that moving forward, “full day would be really exciting because I would be able to teach a reading and math lesson every day.”

Speaking to the committee, Superintendent Dennis McCarthy said parent surveys have shown significant interest in all-day 4K. He added that part-time 4K can be challenging for some families due to their work schedules.

As other school districts in the area offer all-day 4K, McCarthy said it is in the district’s best interest to prepare for the reality of future competition and to avoid lost revenues from students open enrolling out elsewhere.