After 15 months of planning and preparation, the Parkland School District Board of School Directors approved a program change from a half-day kindergarten program to a full-day kindergarten program for all students in all Parkland elementary schools. The change will occur at the start of the 2016-17 school year pending approval from the PA Department of Education.
In October of 2014, an Early Literacy Committee, comprised of teachers, administrators, a school psychologist and guidance counselor, was formed to study student data and research full-day programs to formulate a kindergarten program proposal for Parkland. The results of their findings were presented publicly during September and October 2015 School Board meetings.
Amidst a groundswell of state and national research in support of full-day kindergarten programs, Pennsylvania is one of only six states in the country that does not require kindergarten at all. However, according to the KIDS COUNT Data Center in 2015, 462 out of Pennsylvania’s 499 school districts offer a full-day kindergarten program, underscoring the importance and commitment of public school districts to find a way to engage their youngest learners in a strong foundation for learning. Here are the compelling reasons why Parkland is implementing a full-day program.
54% of Incoming Parkland Kindergartners Did Not Meet Benchmark Literacy Levels
Parkland students in Kindergarten through 5th grade are administered the STAR Universal literacy screener at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. Only 46% of incoming 2015 Parkland Kindergartners demonstrated the readiness skills necessary to achieve a score of Benchmark, meaning they entered school on level this past fall. A full-day program will allow time for an intervention and enrichment period consisting of targeted instruction specific to individual needs.
The Importance of Reading Proficiency by Third Grade
Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. In Parkland, 80% of last year’s third graders demonstrated reading proficiency. That is noteworthy compared to the national average of 67%, however Parkland’s goal is to have every student reading on grade level by the end of third grade.
Full-day Kindergarten will provide time for an intervention and enrichment period which will help close educational gaps before they widen. There are long-term social costs associated with students not reading on grade level by the end of third grade. The research is compelling: Students who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school. The costs associated with high school dropouts, including the cost of jail and crime, is a cost our entire society will bear.
Demographic changes are occurring within the school district. The number of students in Parkland who qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch has increased from single digits to 25% in just the last decade. Parkland educators realize that a change must occur or the gap in reading proficiency is going to widen. Out of the 20% of Parkland 3rd graders who have not demonstrated reading proficiency, 38% come from families who are living in a low-income household.
Making a Year’s Growth
Throughout the school year, Parkland teachers continually review data to monitor the progress of each student. At the elementary level, the STAR beginning of the year and end of the year assessment data is compared to measure progress of students over the course of the year. In the last two years, no Parkland school demonstrated a full year’s growth in kindergarten. However, students in grades 1-5 have made a full year’s growth or more during the course of a school year. By offering a full-day program, Parkland teachers feel they will significantly improve the growth in learning during the course of the kindergarten year. Full-day kindergarten would provide additional opportunities to close the achievement gap and increase the percentage of students who make adequate yearly growth and are fully prepared for first grade.
Time for Purposeful Play
Purposeful play provides opportunities for inquiry-based learning. Children explore answers to their questions through hands-on interaction with materials, build their questioning skills, and enhance their understanding of key academic concepts. Play impacts the 4 domains of development: Physical, Cognitive, Language and Literacy, and Social and Emotional. The current schedule provides little time for play or hands-on learning that stimulates curiosity and a desire for learning. The small window of time is currently filled with academic preparedness as teachers try and fit in a year’s worth of curriculum in a half-day program. In a full-day kindergarten program, Parkland students would have time to play and interact with each other. Through play, students will develop collaboration skills and other social and emotional skills necessary for success in school and life.
KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION INFORMATION
New Cut-off Date: September 1, 2016
New: Parkland is transitioning to Full-Day Kindergarten for ALL students in 2016
If you have a child who is turning five years of age prior to September 1st, it’s time to prepare for Kindergarten Registration. Similarly, if you have a child who is enrolled in a private Kindergarten program who you are planning to enroll for the first time in Parkland Schools for first grade, we invite you to attend the March registration events outlined below.
The following chart includes a list of the eight elementary schools within Parkland School District and their respective registration dates. To further expedite the registration process, parents are encouraged to telephone the appropriate elementary school for a specific appointment time. Phoning in advance will ensure an equal distribution of registrants throughout the time period. Plan to spend about an hour with us to complete the registration process.
REGISTRATION DATE SCHOOL phone
Friday, March 4, 2016 Kernsville 610-351-5840
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 Cetronia 610-351-5860
Wednesday, March 9, 2016 Ironton 610-351-5810
Thursday, March 10, 2016 Fogelsville 610-351-5800
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 Parkway Manor 610-351-5850
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 Kratzer 610-351-5820
Thursday, March 17, 2016 Schnecksville 610-351-5830
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 Fred J. Jaindl 610-351-5880
We are excited to welcome your student to Parkland!