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Parents hope to save before-school program at Lincoln Elementary in Ogdensburg

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OGDENSBURG — The administration’s plans to limit the morning program at Lincoln Elementary School to two days a month has some parents upset.

The free program meets for a half-hour in the school gymnasium at the beginning of each school day, and allows young students to make presentations about the calendar, weather and birthdays in front of family members and peers. A tradition in the district for more than 40 years, it will be offered only twice a month starting Monday.

Ogdensburg Central School District Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey said Thursday he supports the decision, made after an evaluation of the Knox Street school by Principal Jacquelyn L. Kelly and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Kevin Kendall.

“It would allow for more instructional time in the classroom,” Mr. Vernsey said. “The program was taking up upwards of 30 to 40 minutes of instructional time. We have to weigh what are the best uses of instruction time with Common Core standards and rigor that is expected of our students.”

Mr. Vernsey said he doesn’t favor canceling the program.

“It’s a great way for parents and family to be involved in their children’s education,”he said. “We would still like to keep them involved.”

But several parents say the program should be held at least once a week.

Jennifer H. Davison, Ogdensburg, said her daughter, Brooke M., 5, looks forward to the program every school day.

“This is her first year,”Mrs. Davison said. “I work at school, and I have children come up to me and tell me they miss it and wish Kennedy had it.”

Heather M. Wells, Ogdensburg, said her children, Judson S., 6, and Noah P., 5, were upset to hear that the program would no longer be offered every day.

“It’s very discouraging that this is the very last year for Lincoln School, and they can’t keep the program going for another nine months that the school is open,” Mrs. Wells said. “I am 27. I went to the program, when I was younger. It’s not fair to take it away from the kids, teachers and parents who look forward to it. .”

Rebecca M. Tortorella, Ogdensburg, said in just the last week of attending the program for the first time, her daughter, Annabella N., 5, has become more confident.

Mrs. Tortorella has started petition and a Facebook page to save the program. She hopes to present her signatures and speak at Monday’s 6 p.m. Board of Education meeting.

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