Educators gather in Fresno to discuss new grade

02.28.2012 | | Mariana Jacob

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
Nearly 200 educators from across the Valley gathered in Downtown Fresno
on Tuesday to focus on a new grade called Transitional Kindergarten.


The conference highlighted the benefits of starting children in school at an earlier age.

It may look like your average classroom, but the kids at Sun Empire Elementary School are part of a new breed of students.

Educators call this new grade Transitional Kindergarten, commonly known as TK.

Fresno County Schools Superintendent Larry Powell says it’s a great option for many families.

“We got a lot of families that love their kids but they’re working to
just get a roof over their head, food on their table and clothes on
their back so this is a great opportunity to give those four year olds a
boost in early education,” Powell said.

Transitional Kindergarten is the first year of what will now become a two-year Kindergarten program

The additional year was born after a change in the required birth date for admission to Kindergarten.

Teachers say this new modified curriculum is age and developmentally appropriate.

“It’s a new well articulated program that equips kids for that they
need to do but not in an environment that heavy academic pressure,”
Powell said.

On Tuesday educators discussed how to implement TK in their schools.

Carlos Gonzalez teaches TK at Sun Empire Elementary.

“Having to do more of the art the stories and taking time out to go out
on nature walks and look at things because we are talking about
leaves,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez says children also get a boost in language skills.

“Currently in my class we have 20 Spanish speaking kids and you cannot
even tell if you go in. They were labeled ELD kids at the beginning,” he

Educators at Tuesday’s conference say parents should
contact their school district to find out more about getting their
children enrolled in the new program.

Please view the original source with video here.

(Copyright ©2012 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
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