State subcommittee gives a boost to the prospects of transitional kindergarten

IUSD has been busy developing a transitional kindergarten program for kids impacted by California’s decision to shift the cut-off age for kindergarten enrollment.

It is, in fact, a state requirement for all school districts beginning in the fall of 2012. But some have expressed doubts about the fate of transitional kindergarten — particularly after it was targeted for elimination in Governor Jerry Brown’s January budget proposal.

Now it looks like it the program’s future has become a little more certain.

The Los Angeles Times and other news outlets reported this week that an education finance subcommittee has voted in favor of sparing transitional kindergarten from the governor’s list of cuts. You can read the Times’ coverage here.

Meanwhile, to learn more about IUSD’s efforts to implement a transitional kindergarten course, click here.

IUSD introduces a new webpage featuring the latest on transitional kindergarten

IUSD has rolled out a new online resource for those interested in learning more about transitional kindergarten.

To access the district’s transitional kindergarten webpage, simply click here, or look for the link in the middle of the IUSD home page. (Or, if you really feel like being adventurous, you can also find the page by hovering your cursor over the “Education Services” tab on the left side of the home page and clicking on “Curricular Programs.”)

As you may have heard, the state’s Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 is gradually shifting the birthday cut-off for kindergarten enrollment, and that means some children won’t be starting kindergarten as soon as their families had anticipated. To accommodate those students, and to give younger 5-year-olds an extra year of academic readiness, school districts have been required to develop transitional kindergarten programs, which are set to start in the fall of 2012.

All of this is outlined on IUSD’s new transitional kindergarten webpage, along with information on how to enroll your child and some frequently asked questions. There’s also talk of posting an “intent to register” form, so check back occasionally for news and updates.

Board of Education discusses plans for IUSD’s transitional kindergarten program

The IUSD Board of Education received an update this week on the district’s efforts to implement a transitional kindergarten program.

Set to launch next fall, the yearlong course is a required piece of the state’s Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010, which is gradually shifting the birthday cut-off for kindergarten enrollment. The idea is to ensure that future students enter kindergarten as 5-year-olds, but the change will be implemented gradually over three years.

The transitional program, though non-compulsory for families, will accommodate children impacted by the moving dates — and give younger 5-year-olds an extra year of academic readiness.

Here’s some background.

Up until this year, students who were set to turn 5 by Dec. 2 were allowed to start kindergarten. That meant children with later birthdays could begin when they were still 4 years old. But some policymakers have argued that those younger learners lacked critical social, literacy and math skills. With the new legislation, students must turn 5 on or before Nov. 1 in order to start kindergarten in the fall of 2012. The cut-off date then shifts to Oct. 1 in 2013 and Sept. 1 in 2014 — and all subsequent years.

Lauren Sipelis, director of elementary education for IUSD, and Sandy Avzaradel, assistant principal of the district’s Early Childhood Learning Center, told board members that California has left it up to school districts to establish their own transitional programs. In IUSD, a committee of educators spent more than seven months planning curriculum guidelines that combine the essential foundations of preschool with the California Common Core Standards for kindergarten.

Additional information is available on the new Transitional Kindergarten webpage. And for a PDF summary of Tuesday’s board meeting, click here.