Kindergarten enrollment, transition program announced

03.06.2012 | Sierra Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — “Kindergarten Roundup” enrollments for Tahoe Truckee Unified School District's (TTUSD) 2012-2013 school year will be held at six different school sites in March.

Parents may pick up kindergarten enrollment packets at the district's elementary schools prior to these meetings at any time. Parents may list more than one school choice and may attend more than one Kindergarten Roundup, yet register at one school. Students are eligible if they reach the age of 5 on or before Nov. 1, 2012.

Teachers and administrators will answer parent questions regarding kindergarten programs available in TTUSD and walk parents through a typical kindergarten day. School staffers will help parents determine if their young ones are emotionally ready for kindergarten. Childcare will be available at many school sites during the meetings; Spanish translators will be present at all meetings.

Transitional kindergarten a new option

California historically has had one of the latest kindergarten entry cutoff dates in the nation, Dec. 2, which effectively allows children as young as four years, nine months to enter kindergarten. But with the Kindergarten Readiness Act in 2010, state legislature changed the required cutoff date to a gradually staggered schedule — thus increasing the average age of entering kindergartners. The law also created the opportunity for students who do not meet the new start date requirements to enroll in a transitional kindergarten, beginning in the 2012-2013 school year.

“A transitional kindergarten is an optional first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum. It is age and developmentally appropriate for those kindergarten students on the younger end of the spectrum,” said Dave Curry, TTUSD's director of education services.

Under the current law, students who turn 5 any time before Dec. 2 are allowed to attend kindergarten. Under the Kindergarten Readiness Act, these younger children will no longer be eligible to attend regular kindergarten, but may be able to attend the transitional program. Beginning in 2012-2013, the law will be phased in gradually over the next several years, with dates staggered one month earlier each year until the 2015-2016 school year.

The way the law is written, only children who turn five in November and December will be eligible for the transitional program next year. But eventually, by the 2015-2016 school year, the law will allow every child who turns five between September and December to be eligible.

Curry explains the state has given school districts flexibility with implementation, “Here at TTUSD, we will be discussing whether to include children whose birthdates fall in all three months in transitional kindergarten next year, rather than following the staggered schedule.

“We are anticipating that this program will be a popular choice and, with board approval, we want to accommodate those parents who choose to enroll their children in the transitional program,” he added.

TTUSD trustees will discuss transitional kindergarten in more detail at the next board meeting Wednesday, March 7. After board approval, detailed information regarding dates and available options will be posted on the TTUSD website. In the meantime, more information on transitional kindergarten, including FAQs, can be found at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/kinderfaq.asp.

What to bring

Parents who attend the Kindergarten Round Up will be required to bring a copy of their child's vaccination records, original legal birth certificate plus a copy of birth certificate, proof of address and emergency contact information to complete the enrollment process.

For more information on the Kindergarten Round Up meetings, call any elementary school (listed below) or see the additional information posted in the District News section of www.ttusd.org. A map of neighborhood school boundaries may also be found on the district's website.

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