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July 3, 2012 > School Districts statewide prepare for Transitional Kindergarten

School Districts statewide prepare for Transitional Kindergarten

Submitted By Jennifer Kern

With the Kindergarten Readiness Act intact and unchanged by the newly-passed state budget, school districts around the state continue to roll out transitional kindergarten, with approximately 2,000 classrooms opening in Fall 2012 and 6,000 total classrooms to be in operation by 2015.

"With statewide transitional kindergarten implementation underway, we'll see greater academic achievement, higher graduation rates, and fewer students being held back or placed in special education," said Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord).

"Transitional kindergarten is going to be a game changer of immense proportions," said Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), who authored the law. "Full implementation will help reduce the drop-out rate and propel students to achieve math and English language proficiency by third grade."

To support high-quality statewide implementation this fall, Preschool California is launching new resources on next month, which will provide teachers and administrators with expert-recommended best practices for getting their transitional kindergarten classes up and running.

"Preschool California and all of our partners thank state legislators, superintendents, teachers and parents for their strong support of transitional kindergarten," said Catherine Atkin, President of Preschool California. "We're excited to launch new resources to support administrators and teachers to prepare their classrooms for the fall."

Transitional kindergarten supporters include the Advancement Project, Association of California School Administrators, Bay Area Council, California Federation of Teachers, California Kindergarten Association, California School Boards Association, California State PTA, California Teachers Association, Education Trust-West, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Small School District Association and school districts, teachers and parents across California.

Superintendents around the state praised the full implementation of transitional kindergarten, noting the significant educational gains they have already seen in their schools. Parents and teachers throughout the state hailed the significance of full implementation.

"Kindergarten teachers over the years advocated valiantly for younger children to have a program that addresses research-based, developmental goals to strengthen foundational learning," said Ada Hand, President of the California Kindergarten Association. "We are thrilled to be moving toward implementation of transitional kindergarten! In TK, children will learn essential skills of self-control, how to cooperate with other children, build their fluency with English, and gain academic and physical skills that will enable them to succeed in kindergarten and beyond."

"The California State PTA strongly supports statewide implementation of transitional kindergarten, which will prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to learn and prepared to succeed," said California State PTA President Carol Kocivar. "Parents know the confidence and skills their children gain in transitional kindergarten will lay the foundation for their academic careers."

The Kindergarten Readiness Act is the California law that changed the kindergarten entry date so that children enter school at age 5 and established transitional kindergarten, a developmentally-appropriate grade to serve those younger students with birthdays between September and December. As schools will serve the same number of students in transitional kindergarten that they previously served in traditional kindergarten, the law requires no additional funding allocation.

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