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District lists first 117 schools for Transitional Kindergarten classes

Mike Szymanski | September 23, 2015

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preschoolLA Unified listed the names of the first 117 schools to get Transitional Kindergarten (or TK) classes in order to replace the closed School Readiness Language Development Program (SRLDP) classrooms. The rest of the 173 schools with the SRLDP pre-school programs will make the transition in the 2016-2017 school year.

In the plan, none of the new classes will require additional classrooms, nor result in any change of teachers, according to district officials. The $14.3 million to pay for the transition was approved by the school board earlier this year and will be an ongoing transition into this school year.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines spoke yesterday at the Edward R. Royal Learning Center and said, “This district moved this year with a TK program. A program that moved from part time for very young children to six hours and we are going to move thousands of more children for next year.”

Cortines added, “Let me tell you the problems — not problems — the issues that we are facing in middle school and high school, they are solved when children first start their education. We need to make sure we put the emphasis on the early education.”

The program involves nearly 14,000 students. The Preschool for All bill, AB 47, that the governor must take action by Oct. 11, would provide sufficient funding to guarantee “every low-income 4-year-old with access to preschool” by 2017. 

The district plan is to provide quality preschools for low income children who turn 5 after December 2 in a six-hour program that runs 180 days, following other elementary school calendars. It sets a 24-students-per class maximum and will be part of the Breakfast in the Classroom program.

The pre-school program will follow the standards included in the Preschool Learning Foundations, not the kindergarten Common Core State Standards. The curriculum has structured and unstructured chances for children to build socialization and communication skills. They don’t plan a nap time, but instead will have story time and quiet games.

Because the children will be in classrooms previously using the SRLDP classrooms, the district doesn’t anticipate any increase in need for classroom space. The district also provided a timeline for professional development training for these transitions for principals, teachers and teacher assistants. A parent engagement program will be developed by January 2016.

The district is also working with 13 schools that have a California State Preschool Program for 3-year-olds in three-hour programs.

The state research showed that preschool programs provided a return of $15,000 for every child served. The state pointed out that investing in “high-quality preschools, the overall savings in prison system expenditures alone are estimated to be $1.1 billion a year due to the reduction in prison population by 13,000.”

To find out which schools are starting with the transition to TK, click here.

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