School board snippets: Talented teachers, Preppy K update and advice for mayor candidates

10.24.2012 | Gilroy Dispatch

Preppy K update: GUSD rocks, basically

GUSD received some major kudos for its recently implemented Transitional Kindergarten program Thursday night from Lisa Kaufman, director of Early Learning Services at the Santa Clara County Offices of Education.

Kaufman hailed GUSD as “a state example of a model of excellence.”

“To achieve that in one years’ time is frankly phenomenal,” she said.

All California school districts were required to begin phasing in Transitional Kindergarten by 2012-13. Casually referred to by some as “Preppy K,” the program broadens the kindergarten experience by spreading it out over two years. After one year of TK, which focuses on emotional, social and behavioral development through hands-on learning and playful activities, students continue to a year of traditional kindergarten, which places a heavier emphasis on academics.

After GUSD’s Antonio Del Buono Elementary School became one of three schools in Santa Clara County to implement a pilot TK program in 2011, the site “became a model for the entire state of California,” said Marilyn Ayala, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for GUSD. “We had people visiting from throughout the state.”

The class is taught by veteran Gilroy kindergarten teacher Janet Londgren, 58, who was specially trained to spearhead a pilot TK class at Antonio Del Buono this year.

“Londgren did an amazing job,” noted Antonio Del Buono Principal Velia Codiga. “To have visitors in her classroom at least two or three days a week – that’s not easy to do.”

“Kindergarten teachers are very special people,” noted board member Rhoda Bress.

The district discussed its future plans for the expansion of the TK program, which will see more TK classes added to additional GUSD elementary schools in the future.

The creation of TK came hand-in-hand with the Sept. 30, 2010 passage of the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 (Senate Bill 1381), which was introduced by state Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and signed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Prior to the passage of SB 1381, a child was required to turn 5 years old by Dec. 2 in order to enroll in kindergarten.

The bill upped the cutoff birth date for kindergarten eligibility, rolling out the change over a period of three years.

Now, students must turn 5 by Nov. 1, 2012; followed by Oct. 1 in 2013 and Sept. 1 in 2014 to enroll in kindergarten. Learn more about Preppy K.

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