Schools preparing for transitional kindergarten

11.29.2011 | Porterville Recorder | Esther Avila

A new California law — SB 1381, the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2012 — has some parents wondering what changes will take place next August when the new school year begins.

Until now, children in California have been able to start kindergarten at the age of 4, as long as they turned 5 on or before Dec. 2. Children entering first grade had to be 6 by Dec. 2.
SB 1381, which took place on Jan. 1, 2011, will change the required birthday for admission to kindergarten and first grade over a three-year phase-in period.

The cutoff date for enrollment in kindergarten will be:
° Dec. 2 for the 2011-2012 school year.
° Nov. 1 for the 2012-2013 school year.
° Oct. 1 for the 2013-2014 school year.
° Sept. 1 for the 2014-2015 school year.

The change will enable the majority of students to be 5 by the time they begin kindergarten, making them more mature and better prepared to succeed — a move that will eventually save California $700 million in annual costs because there will be fewer children in kindergarten.

However, any children affected by the initial annual monthly change will still be enrolled at their respective schools — in a traditional kindergarten class, the first year of a two-year kindergarten program. Or, in other words, students affected by the change (those turning 5 years of age Nov. 2 to Dec. 2) will be enrolled in the transitional kindergarten class prior to the traditional kindergarten.

Porterville Unified School District officials are still in the planning process, developing curriculum for the new kindergarten class and figuring out how to group the students, said Val Staley, PUSD assistant superintendent of instructional services.

“The state requires a different curriculum for these students — a modified curriculum that needs to be age and developmentally appropriate,” Staley said. “From a parents’ point of view, they still enroll their student the same way. However those students [not turning 5 years of age by Nov. 1] will have a two-year kindergarten program. But there’s no other change for them. They can still send their child to kindergarten. They can still enroll the student the same.”

District officials will meet again in January to continue planning the logistics — with kindergarten and transitional kindergarten registration planned for March.

Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045, or

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