Ready Child, Ready School
Kindergarten is a child’s first introduction to formal education and should serve as a supported transition between home, early learning and care, or preschool environments. With the implementation of school readiness plans and assessments, the department will be identifying and creating resources to promote robust and developmentally appropriate kindergarten programs.
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.
School Readiness Plans and Assessment
SB 08-212, Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K) indicates that local education providers are required to ensure all children in publicly-funded preschool or kindergarten receive an individual school readiness plan. The legislation does not specify the contents of school readiness plans except that the plans need to be informed by the school readiness assessment.
Colorado Laws Related to Kindergarten
Pursuant to C.R.S. 22-32-119, Colorado districts are required to offer some form of kindergarten:
(1) A board of education shall establish and maintain kindergartens in connection with the schools of its district for the instruction of children one year prior to the year in which such children would be eligible for admission to the first grade. Said board may prescribe courses of training, study, and discipline and rules and regulations governing such kindergarten programs. Said kindergartens shall be a part of the public school system, and the cost of establishing and maintaining them may be paid from the general school fund.
Full Day Kindergarten
What are the time and attendance requirements for full-day kindergarten?
22-33-104. Compulsory school attendance.
(1) (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, every child who has attained the age of six years on or before August 1 of each year and is under the age of seventeen years, except as provided by this section, shall attend public school for at least the following number of hours during each school year:
(I) One thousand fifty-six hours if a secondary school pupil;
(II) Nine hundred sixty-eight hours if an elementary school pupil in a grade other than kindergarten;
(III) Nine hundred hours if a full-day kindergarten pupil; or
(IV) Four hundred fifty hours if a half-day kindergarten pupil
If you are thinking of establishing a full-day program, we have some other guidance in statute:
22-54-131. Full-day kindergarten funding - guidelines - technical assistance - legislative intent - legislative declaration.
(1) A district that, prior to the 2008-09 budget year, offered a full-day kindergarten program without additional state funding to some or all of the kindergarten pupils enrolled in the district is encouraged to use the moneys received from supplemental kindergarten enrollment pursuant to section 22-54-103 (7) (d) and hold-harmless full-day kindergarten funding pursuant to section 22-54-130 in the 2008-09 budget year and each budget year thereafter to expand the district's existing full-day kindergarten program rather than to defray the costs of the existing full-day kindergarten program.
(2) In offering a full-day kindergarten program with the moneys received from supplemental kindergarten enrollment pursuant to section 22-54-103 (7) (d) and hold-harmless full-day kindergarten funding pursuant to section 22-54-130, a district is encouraged to follow the basic program standards established by the state board pursuant section 22-28-108 for the Colorado preschool program, as they may apply to a full-day kindergarten program.