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LA Unified expanding transitional kindergarten across district

Mike Szymanski | October 9, 2015

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preschoolThe Transitional Kindergarten Expansion program for LA Unified is under way this semester with teachers and principals being trained through January for 117 new sites. This is on the heels of the district’s losing 45 percent of its School Readiness Language Development Program. Transitional Kindergarten Expansion (TE or TKE) is a new grade level that is replacing some preschool programs at the 117 school sites in LAUSD.

“This involves 26,000 of our children at LA Unified,” said Dean Tagawa, the LAUSD administrator for Early Childhood Education. “To have expanded Traditional Kindergarten at LAUSD is huge.”

Tagawa gave a report this week updating the Early Childhood Education and Parent Engagement Committee on the expanded TK program in the district. The district allocated $14.3 million to the program that would otherwise have reduced the number of pre-school children served. The remaining 173 schools that have SRLDP students will move to TKE programs in the 2016-2017 school year.

The expanded programs are full-day programs and won’t require new classrooms or new equipment because some will replace SRLDP pre-school programs that are being phased out. However, the teachers require professional development training. Most of them started in August, and some will start in October. Some principals will complete their training by January 2016, and teacher assistants are starting their training this month.

“The training of the teachers has gone well so far,” Tagawa said. “A lot of them were a little overwhelmed at first.”

Tagawa said that early education shows a vast word gap between those who have pre-school education and those who start school at age 5. He said studies show that there is a reduction in Special Education referrals and remediation and intervention for students who get early education.

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