By Ashley Hopkinson
Only a small number of California’s largest school districts are taking advantage of a state law that allows them to enroll more 4-year-olds in a pre-kindergarten program known as “transitional kindergarten.”
The state’s transitional kindergarten program began in 2012-13, for 4-year-olds who turn 5 in the first few months of the school year.
The state Legislature subsequently gave districts permission to expand transitional kindergarten to even younger 4-year-olds, but with only partial reimbursement from the state. So far only six of the state’s 25 largest school districts offer these programs, known as “expanded transitional kindergarten.”
Source: Despite law change, few districts offer early kindergarten for youngest 4-year-olds | EdSource
By Daily Republic Staff
Travis School District begins priority registration for kindergarten and transitional kindergarten Wednesday at Scandia Elementary on Travis Air Force Base.
That will be followed Thursday at Travis Elementary, 200 Fairfield Ave., Fairfield; March 27 at Foxboro Elementary, 600 Morning Glory Drive, Vacaville; March 28 at Cambridge Elementary, 100 Cambridge Drive, Vacaville; and March 29 at Center Elementary, 3101 Markeley Lane, Fairfield.
The time is set by the first letter of the child’s last name: A-G at 5 p.m.; H-L at 5:30 p.m.; and M-Z at 6 p.m.
Source: Travis School District opens kindergarten, transitional kindergarten registration
By Times Herald Staff
A rating system designed to monitor and improve the early education of Solano County children is now in effect.
The program, known as the Solano Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), was created by The Solano County Office of Education, First 5 Solano and additional community partners, according to a news release.
The system assists pre-kindergarten care providers with implementing standards of quality and informing parents of the elements and outcomes of quality education.
This is achieved through on-site coaching, technical assistance, professional development and observation.
The Solano QRIS also enables providers to offer program incentives and ongoing support to families.
Source: Pre-K education rating system enacted in Solano County
By Jeremy Hay
An Oakland Assemblyman has proposed legislation to create new kindergarten readiness standards in state-funded preschools, saying the bill would give low-income students and those learning English an equal shot at academic success.
“It seems simple but we don’t have it,” said Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, author of AB 2410, which he introduced last month. “We’re the largest state in the country and other states have it and, frankly, we need it. We need to know what we’re trying to accomplish in early childhood education. The question should be, ‘How can we not have kindergarten readiness standards?’”
He calls it “a justice issue” that is long overdue.
Bonta’s bill continues a decades-long national debate about whether such standards succeed or, as critics contend, lead to teaching practices and testing that are unsuited to how preschool-age children develop intellectually, behaviorally and emotionally.
Source: A bill for kindergarten readiness standards to meet a need – or cause problems? | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
Registration Kick-Off Week is underway in Travis Unified School District, and sign-ups for students in transitional kindergarten, or TK, kindergarten, and new students are being accepted, it has been announced.
Registrations are being accepted at schools of residence from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. today through Friday, district officials said.
Otherwise, parents may register their child or children during regular office hours at the student’s school of residence.
Vacaville has two elementary schools within district boundaries, Cambridge and Foxboro. Three other district schools are just south of city limits, off Peabody Road: Vanden High and Center Elementary, on Markeley Lane; and Golden West Middle School, on De Ronde Drive.
Source: Registration underway for some Travis Unified grades
By Susan Frey
After years of effort to implement transitional kindergarten, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to eliminate the requirement that school districts offer the program, which provides an extra year of public school for 4-year-olds with fall birthdays. His proposal would also allow districts that offer it to charge enrollment fees for parents who aren’t low-income.
The proposal, which is part of the 2016-17 state budget, creates uncertainty for the future of transitional kindergarten. Many early education advocates saw it as a first step toward establishing a publicly funded program for all 4-year-olds. Just this past year, legislators allowed districts to expand the program to younger 4-year-olds, with some funding restrictions. And a recent research report found the program was effective in preparing students for kindergarten.
“The governor’s proposal comes squarely in the face of a fully implemented program that no one wants to give up,” said Erin Gabel, deputy director of external and governmental affairs at First 5 California. “Eliminating it as an entitlement with a stable funding source is a step backwards.”
Source: Governor’s budget proposal may affect future of transitional kindergarten | EdSource
By Susan Frey
As a result of a new state law, California schools instituted transitional kindergarten to give 4-year-olds who were previously eligible for kindergarten an extra year to adjust to school and experience a less academically-oriented curriculum. But many thousands of those children are in classrooms with kindergartners, leaving teachers to figure out how to accommodate the new approach for 4-year-olds while preparing the 5-year-olds for 1st grade.
In 2013-14, about 57,000 students were estimated to have been in transitional kindergarten, and 78 percent of the classes were combination classes with both kindergartners and transitional kindergartners, according to the most recent data provided by the California Department of Education. An estimated 1,298 classes were stand-alone transitional kindergarten, while 4,674 were mixed classes.
via Classes combining kindergarten, transitional kindergarten pose challenges | EdSource#.VRRUN2ctHGg#.VRRUN2ctHGg.
By Lillian Mongeau
A bill that would make public pre-kindergarten available at no charge to children from California’s lowest-income families passed the state Senate today and heads to the Assembly for debate there.
First introduced with much fanfare in January, SB 837 expands the pre-kindergarten program known as transitional kindergarten. It has been touted as a top priority by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg despite little interest on the part of Gov. Jerry Brown.
“This is at the top of the list. I can’t think of anything more important,” Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said at a news conference announcing the new bill in January.
Transitional kindergarten is a public school program for children who turn 5 in the first few months of the school year. Originally, the bill sought to expand transitional kindergarten to serve all 4-year-olds the year before they enrolled in kindergarten. Changes to the bill language announced last week and introduced yesterday would make transitional kindergarten a targeted program for children who qualify for free or reduced price lunch under the federal poverty guidelines (under $44,000 annual income for a family of four), rather than a universal program.
via Significantly altered transitional kindergarten bill passes in the Senate | EdSource Today.
By Lillian Mongeau
House Republicans questioned the need for new early education programs and asked if the research showing the benefits of preschool has been oversold Tuesday at a Workforce and Education Committee hearing on early childhood programs.
“Serious questions remain as to whether these programs are producing positive results for the children they serve,” said committee chairman Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., at the hearing.
President Barack Obama first proposed a new federal grant program to help states establish or expand publicly funded preschool programs in his 2013 State of the Union Address. He renewed that call in his 2014 address. A bill, called the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, which codifies the president’s proposal, was introduced in both houses in November. When the bill was first announced, Kline promised he would hold hearings on early childhood programs, though not the bill specifically, in early 2014. Tuesday’s hearing was the first.
via Value of early education questioned at House committee hearing | EdSource Today.
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is co-sponsoring legislation to provide voluntary, high-quality transitional kindergarten to every 4-year-old child in California, he announced at a Sacramento elementary school today.
Senate Bill 837 (Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento), the Kindergarten Readiness Act, builds upon the state’s existing transitional kindergarten programs to ensure that every 4-year-old has the same opportunity to attend. Torlakson is co-sponsoring the bill with Early Edge California, which works to ensure that children have the early experiences they need to help them succeed in school.
“It’s impossible to overstate how important these early years are to a child’s future success in school,” Torlakson said. “Transitional kindergarten—particularly a full-year, full-day program—can make all the difference, especially for families who may be struggling to give their young children these valuable learning opportunities.”
via School Readiness for State’s Youngest Learners – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).
By Barry Eberling
Santa Claus came to Fairview Elementary School on Thursday and got an impressive reception.
“Santa! Santa! Santa!” the children in teacher Emily Haskell’s transitional kindergarten class chanted when Santa appeared at the classroom door.
Children rushed to hug him. Santa sat in a wooden chair that had a cloth draped on it, emblazoned with the words “VIP” and handed out gift bags.
via NorthBay brings holiday cheer to Fairview Daily Republic.
By Lillian Mongeau
Local control and parental prerogative, two hallmarks of the state’s new transitional kindergarten program, led to large variations in enrollment rates across the largest school districts in the state during the first year the program was available, according to an EdSource survey.
Transitional kindergarten was offered for the first time in nearly every school district during the 2012-13 school year. More than 39,000 students enrolled in transitional kindergarten statewide, according to the first in a series of reports on the new grade level published by the American Institutes of Research (AIR).
Transitional kindergarten enrollment varies widely across districts | EdSource Today.
By Lillian Mongeau
An estimated 39,000 students enrolled in transitional kindergarten this school year, the first year districts were required to offer the program, according to a new report.
The report, released Tuesday by the American Institutes for Research, is the first in a series planned by the Institute on how the new grade level for children whose fifth birthdays fall between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1 is being implemented in the 868 unified and elementary districts that must offer it. The report found that 89 percent of those districts offered the program this year; 7 percent of the districts that didn’t offer the program reported there were no eligible students in their districts. Most districts that didn’t offer the program were rural and had a very small student population, the report said.
via Majority of California districts offer transitional kindergarten in first year of program – by Lillian Mongeau.
By Lillian Mongeau
After a year’s delay, many charter schools will begin offering transitional kindergarten classes in the fall. There had been some disagreement with the California Department of Education over whether charters were required to offer the new program for children who turn five in the first few months of the school year.
While school districts rolled out the transitional programs at the beginning of this academic year, many charters did not. The state’s two largest charter advocacy groups said last spring that the law does not explicitly require schools to offer the program as long as they don’t request state funding for transitional kindergarten students.
via Many charter schools to begin offering transitional kindergarten in fall 2013 – by Lillian Mongeau.
LONG BEACH – When California school districts were required by state law to start a new early kindergarten class for some 4-year-olds for the first time this year, Long Beach Unified had an easier task than most: to simply expand the existing “preppy kindergarten” program it started five years ago.
The Long Beach program, originally the brainchild of kindergarten teachers Kris Damon and Michelle Woolwine, is not the first transitional kindergarten program in the state, but it is one of the largest. And since it has been around for several years, the program will produce the first significant data set, expected this spring, on how children from diverse economic backgrounds who attend transitional kindergarten perform in later grades, based on their grades and standardized test scores.
via Long Beach has jumpstart on transitional kindergarten – by Lillian Mongeau.
Gen-STEM partnership to energize Vacaville and Dixon Transition Kindergarten students! Educators from the Solano County Office of Education, Vacaville Unified School District (VUSD), and Dixon Unified School District (DUSD) met at the VUSD district office on March 20 to discuss the new Gen-STEM grant. The $22,500 partnership grant from Genentech will serve 90 transitional kindergarten students at three schools in VUSD and DUSD.
The Gen-STEM pilot project will allow Genentech, in partnership with the Solano Educational Partnership Foundation, Vacaville and Dixon Unified School Districts, the Solano County Office of Education, and UC Davis, to lead the way in providing access to innovative learning for the youngest learners. Gen-STEM focuses on opening doors to the magic of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for economically disadvantaged and English Learner students in the Vacaville and Dixon communities. The project will serve to stimulate an excitement about STEM starting with transitional kindergarten students, generating an early interest in career opportunities, and show infinite possibilities for what they might become when they grow up, as well as what they may want to do to contribute back to their community.
via Gen-STEM partnership to energize Vacaville and Dixon Transition Kindergarten stu….
More of Vallejo’s youngest students can get a head start at school next year.
That’s when the Vallejo City Unified School District plans to double the number of transitional kindergarten classes it offers, from three to six.
Transitional kindergarten, commonly abbreviated to TK, is a new grade that comes before traditional kindergarten. Instituted this year in districts across the state, the optional grade focuses on social and emotional development to better prepare children for the academic focus of kindergarten.
via Vallejo district expands transitional kindergarten.
By Lillian Mongeau
Transitional kindergarten, the new grade level for children whose fifth birthdays fall early in the school year, is 6 months old in February. At a statewide conference in Pasadena this week — the first large gathering since the program was implemented — teachers, administrators and advocates talked about best practices and cheered what they see as long-needed reform.
Long Beach Unified Superintendent Chris Steinhauser praised it, too, but also tempered enthusiasm with a warning to advocates not to let their guard down. He said the new initiative should not repeat the experience of California’s class size reduction program, begun in 1996 to reduce K-3 class sizes to 20 students per teacher. Because it was hastily created, no research was done at the outset to measure the impact of smaller classes on academic performance. Steinhauser said that this time teachers and districts should collect their own data to prove the program works and then talk about it to legislators often.
via Educators celebrate first six months of transitional kindergarten – by Lillian Mongeau.
By Lillian Mongeau
Head Start in Los Angeles County, the largest provider in the nation, could be broken up into a cluster of smaller programs under a new grant process aimed at improving quality in the federally-funded early childcare program for low-income families.
For the first time in Head Start history, grantees whose programs did not meet certain quality standards in federal inspections have been required to reapply for their funding and to compete with new applicants for the available funds. Grantees, mostly nonprofits and school systems, had been receiving pro forma grant renewals for decades.
via EdWatch 2013: Head Start funding and transitional kindergarten – by Lillian Mongeau.
Twenty-eight enthusiastic and eager to learn 4-year-olds are getting a jump start on their education this year through a transitional kindergarten class at Anderson Elementary.
Dixon Unified officials have described Teresa Loarca’s transitional kindergarten class as a “gift of time” for the children, who will all celebrate their fifth birthdays in September, October, November or December.
While they are still too young to be in traditional kindergarten, this transitional program allows the children to experience the academics of kindergarten through language arts and math activities while still giving them time to develop their emotional and social skills.
via Giving children the “gift of time”