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Superintendent's Corner

posted Oct 7, 2016, 8:03 AM by Ryan Bradbury   [ updated Oct 10, 2016, 9:45 AM by website team ]
Superintendent’s Corner

Recently, the Kansas State Department of Education unveiled a new vision for Kansas schools -- Kansas Can. The outcomes from Kansas Can (KSDE’s new vision) are as follows:

  • High School Graduation Rate
  • Post Secondary Completion / Attendance
  • Remedial Rate of Students Attending Post-Secondary
  • Kindergarten Readiness
  • Individual Plan of Study Focused on Career Interests
  • Social/Emotional Growth (measured locally)

The new outcomes are very positive as they change the focus to preparing students to truly be College and/or Career ready versus hitting a target on a single test.  Over the next few weeks in Superintendent’s Corner, I will provide an overview of the outcomes and how they align with USD #386 board goals, district goals, current programs and initiatives offered to students as well as those that are being explored as future offerings.  This week, I would like to share information regarding the Kindergarten Readiness outcome. 

As a we begin to think about Kindergarten Readiness, I would like for you to close your eyes and imagine the following:

·      The face of a 5 year-old coming in for the first day of school.

·      The face of a proud and nervous parent taking their student to school for the first time.

·      The face of a confident kindergartener going to school who has had several positive educational and life experiences.

·      The face of a student who has had little or no structure, positive life experiences.

·      The face of a frustrated student who cannot decipher a “b” from a “d” or a “6” from a “9”

·      The face of an impatient kindergartner who is reading on the third grade level.

·      The “internal” face of a kindergarten teacher who has to meet the needs of all the students described above. 

The greatest divide among students is their first day of school.  Some students may enter school being able to count to 100 while others may enter not being able to recognize a single number. 

 

What is Kindergarten Readiness?

 

Kindergarten Readiness is a measure of early childhood experiences, birth to kindergarten entry, that ensure health and physical well-being and the development of cognitive, communication and social-emotional skills necessary for school success and have a direct influence on future success.  Kindergarten readiness is not a measure of effectiveness of the kindergarten teacher. 

 

Why Kindergarten Readiness?

 

Measuring Kindergarten Readiness helps

 

  • Inform most effective instruction
  • Is an important metric for communities – reflects system of care and early learning
  • Provides information about multiple aspects of child’s learning and development
  • Is critical for data driven decision making

 

We are fortunate in USD #386 to have a half-day pre-k program for students who are 4 years old.  We screen students both as they enter the pre-k program and as they enter kindergarten.  Students are screened at each level in the following areas:  communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and social skills.  Additionally, students are screened in basic academic areas as well.  In short, the data shows very positive student growth for students in the pre-k and kindergarten program.  However, gaps still remain as students enter pre-k or students who begin kindergarten without having enrolled in pre-k. 

Strong schools are a cornerstone for any vibrant community.  Additionally, birth to 3 year-old programs and daycare offerings are an essential component to sustaining a strong community population as well as support Kindergarten Readiness.  Recently, we have seen a decline in daycare facilities and offerings within the Madison Community.  A survey was given to families at enrollment this August.  The questions and results were as follows:

· Do you feel there is a shortage of daycare providers within the Madison Community?

o 84.6 Yes; 15.4% No

· Do you have children within your household who are still needing daycare for the current year?

o 81.5% Yes; 15.5% No

o When asked to list the ages of children who needed daycare, 17 responses where children under 5 years old with 5 additional children who were in school, but needed daycare as well.  Essentially there are 22 children in need of daycare just from the parents who completed the survey at enrollment.

USD #386 Madison-Virgil will be exploring ways that it can facilitate additional daycare opportunities for families in the area.  This includes working with current daycare providers in the area to support all students.  Not only do birth to 3 year old programs provide support as students prepare for pre-k and kindergarten (Kindergarten Readiness), but sufficient daycare options help to sustain and even grow a community.        

Next week, I will share information regarding high school graduation rates.  As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.  Have a great week and remember, “It’s A Great Day to Be a Bulldog!”