Over the past year, CDE has been supporting districts with the phased implementation of the school readiness provisions of CAP4K. This phased approach allowed districts who wished to use Teaching Strategies GOLD, currently the only school readiness assessment available on the state-approved assessment menu, to move forward with implementation while providing time for additional assessments to be added to the menu of options.
After a review this fall of school readiness assessments currently in the marketplace, the Colorado School Readiness Assessment Subcommittee was unable to identify additional quality school readiness assessments for the menu. Staff sought input from districts/BOCES on a recommendation to extend implementation of school readiness assessments for another year to allow time for more assessments to become available. Staff received unanimous support from those districts/BOCES who chose to respond to the request for feedback. At the November 2013 State Board of Education meeting, staff shared and the State Board affirmed the department’s recommendation to extend the implementation timeline for full implementation of school readiness assessments and plans by one year. This extension will allow the marketplace to meet the growing demand for quality school readiness assessments. This will also give districts additional time to support kindergarten teachers with implementation of the new standards and the READ Act while building capacity for the school readiness work in advance of full implementation in the 2015-16 school year.
Districts are encouraged to continue to move forward with planning and implementation for the school readiness initiative. The department will continue to support the close to 90 districts that are already implementing TS GOLD. Districts that planned to implement TS GOLD in 2014-15 are encouraged to do so as well. Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Funds will continue to be available to those districts currently implementing this work and those planning to do so in 2014-15. We also expect to be able to make the Race to the Top funds available for those districts who choose to implement school readiness assessments in 2015-16.
Ready Child, Ready School
School readiness describes the status and ongoing progress a child makes within the domains of physical well-being and motor development, social and emotional development, language and comprehension development, and cognition and general knowledge. By monitoring each child’s progress across multiple domains, teachers, parents, schools, and caregivers can provide needed support to ensure each child’s success in school.
School Readiness Plans
CAP4K requires that each child in a publicly funded preschool and kindergarten program have an Individual School Readiness plan (IRP). An IRP is an individual learning plan that is informed by ongoing assessment of a child’s progress in the developmental and academic domains. The department encourages educators to consider the IRP plan to be a living document where a child’s progress is recorded and a tool for informing instruction.
Available now: CDE has created a School Readiness Assessment Guidance document which include a sample school readiness plan for optional use or modification at the local level. Click here to download. Click here for a readiness template.
Also available is a webinar that explains how the School Readiness plan, the READ Act and IEPs work together.
CAP4K requires that all students in a publicly funded kindergarten be assessed using as state approved school readiness assessment. The purpose of school readiness assessment is to inform the development of an individual school readiness plan in order to provide a responsive learning environment for each child. Information gathered from school readiness assessments is to be used for supportive and instructional purposes and cannot be used to deny a student admission or progression to kindergarten or first grade.
CAP4K does not provide funding for school readiness assessments. Colorado’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Fund grant will cover the initial cost of Teaching Strategies GOLD subscriptions. Districts applied for funding for the 2013-14 school year in May, 2013. Applications for the 2014-15 school year will be available in January, 2014.
School Readiness Assessment Menu
In December 2012, the State Board of Education voted to offer districts a menu of school readiness assessments. The first approved assessment tool for the menu is Teaching Strategies GOLD.