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Transitional Kindergarten Classes to Continue

07.03.2012 | Long Beach Gazette | Stephanie Minasian

While the future of transitional kindergarten classes was in limbo earlier this year, the Kindergarten Readiness Act will remain intact with the newly passed state budget, officials announced last week.

School districts across the state, including Long Beach Unified School District, will continue to offer transitional kindergarten in 2,000 classrooms for fall 2012, with 6,000 total classrooms to open by 2015.

“I’m thrilled that California students statewide will have access to transitional kindergarten this fall,” said LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser, who has run a successful transitional kindergarten program for the past five years. “Our students are making dramatic progress, especially in language and literacy, and graduates are entering kindergarten with the confidence and love of learning that will follow them throughout their academic careers.”

Transitional kindergarten classes were put into place after the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 was passed, which gradually changed the required birthday for kindergarten admission over a three-year period.

The state put the Kindergarten Readiness Act into law in 2010 so that children begin school when they are 5 years old. Transitional kindergarten was designed to serve those younger students with birthdays between September and December to start building their developmental skills.

Educational leaders believe the program’s benefits could eventually close the achievement gap by providing youngsters with the skills to maintain self-control, how to work well with other children their age, become fluent with English and nurture academic and physical skills for them to be successful when they begin kindergarten and elementary school.

“I believe that this is the greatest thing that we can do to close the achievement gap,” Steinhauser said in February. “We have a goal in Long Beach Unified, and it is that we want to prepare every single student for college.”

To support high-quality statewide implementation this fall, officials said that Preschool California is launching new resources on its website, www.tkcalifornia.org, later this month. They 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, in a news release. “We’re excited to launch new resources to support administrators and teachers to prepare their classrooms for the fall.”

Schools will serve the same number of transitional kindergartners as they did year, which means there will be no additional funding allocation.

For more information, visit www. preschoolcalifornia.org.

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