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Getting ready for school
August 16, 2018
Kindergarten ‘boot camp’ aims to ready young Detroit children — and their parents — for school
These young children are getting the extra boost they need before they start their first day of kindergarten through the Detroit school district's new program.
August 13, 2018
Three out of four Illinois kids aren’t ready for kindergarten. Why that’s a problem.
Only 16 percent of low-income students demonstrated kindergarten readiness in Illinois. The three core benchmarks are social emotional learning, literacy, and math.
August 2, 2018
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is on a high-speed timeline for his universal pre-K rollout
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has clearly articulated his vision for a free, universal prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds in Chicago, staging events throughout the…
March 2, 2018
Week in review: The truants of kindergarten
While some might assume that Detroit’s sky-high chronic absenteeism rate is driven by teens skipping class, the problem in city schools is actually…
How I Teach
January 17, 2018
From bikes to blue hair: how one Denver kindergarten teacher shares his passion with students
A Denver kindergarten teacher, originally from Venezuela, talks about the teachers who inspired him, why he uses secret codes, and how he gets to know students.
Here We Go
January 23, 2017
House education committee greenlights increasing funding for kindergarten, banning corporal punishment
Monday’s meeting of the House Education Committee marked the first time this session education related bills were discussed.
October 24, 2016
Applying to pre-K, kindergarten or gifted programs? Here’s where to learn more
This year marks the first time parents can learn about pre-K, kindergarten and gifted programs in a combined event.
September 23, 2016
Week In Review: Teaching and learning in the ‘worst’ city
Detroit’s main school district is still struggling to recruit teachers and enroll more students, but leaders say they remain hopeful about the new school year.
April 28, 2015
Poor districts still losing aid as state budget nears completion
Indianapolis Public Schools, and other high poverty school districts, will take a big financial hit under a compromise state budget plan proposed today, but it could have been worse.
April 14, 2015
72 percent of families get top kindergarten pick as fewer schools have waitlists
Still, 10 percent of the nearly 68,000 families that applied did not get matched with any of the schools on their applications.
February 6, 2015
‘Ready to read’? Why schools should reject the label and focus on solving the problem
Harlem Link's Steven Evangelista: What can educators and policymakers do about the word gap that lower-income children face even before kindergarten?
April 21, 2014
Fewer soon-to-be-kindergarteners waitlisted by new admissions process
The number of students on a waiting list for kindergarten is half of what it was last year, city officials announced Monday—a shift they are attributing to the city’s new application system. There are still more than 1,200 soon-to-be kindergarteners without seats in the school they are zoned for. But that's a marked decline from last year.
February 21, 2014
City touts strong participation in new kindergarten enrollment system
More than 80 percent of parents who filled out a survey after completing the city's new "Kindergarten Connect" application characterized it as "easy" or "very easy," according to the Department of Education. Overall, the city says more than 68,000 applications were submitted.
September 12, 2013
Kindergarten admissions to head online, with link to charter app
Chancellor Dennis Walcott reads to kindergarten students at Peck Slip this morning before making an admissions announcement. Parents applying for spots in kindergarten across the city next year will be able to complete the process online through what Department of Education officials today called a "transformative" change to the enrollment process. The changes also include the beginning of a long-term project to integrate charter school admissions into the city's general enrollment process. The new, online kindergarten admissions system will affect the parents of the more than 70,000 students entering kindergarten this year, reducing the hassle associated with applying to multiple schools. The city called it an effort "to make enrollment more family friendly." "Right now, parents must go from school to school to school, submitting applications at each school in order to apply to multiple schools, and that really is something we don't want to have happen to our parents," Chancellor Dennis Walcott said at a press conference today after an appearance at the Peck Slip School, which like many downtown Manhattan schools had a wait list for kindergarten this year. "So if you're a single parent, and you're balancing a job and a child, this is something we want to definitely avoid," Walcott said. "It's really tough for parents, whether you're single or not."
June 26, 2012
Ask an Expert: Preparing a child for kindergarten
The founder and a founding teacher of a new Denver charter school give parents some tips on preparing their children for kindergarten.
April 6, 2012
City urges calm as 2,500 children put on kindergarten wait lists
Nearly 2,500 children are on wait lists for their zoned kindergarten programs this year, according to data released by the Department of Education today. Their parents will have to wait until the end of June to find out where they will be offered a kindergarten seat instead. Last year, families received alternate spots in mid-April, but the wait lists tend fluctuate so much that the department decided to delay making assignments that would likely have to change families will away, enroll their children in private or parochial schools, or win lotteries for charter school admission. About 600 more students than last year have applied for kindergarten. But there are about 600 fewer children on waiting lists than last year at this time. The wait list numbers reflect an annual rite of spring as parents register at their nearby elementary schools but land on wait lists because there are more zoned applicants than there are kindergarten spots. The phenomenon is highly stressful for families who are told they cannot be accommodated. But it is not widespread: Of the total number of families that have applied for kindergarten so far this year, just 4 percent were placed on wait lists.
October 20, 2011
State to develop kindergarten test as part of Early Learning bid
Starting in 2014, children will have to take a test when they start kindergarten, according to a commitment New York State has made to boost its chance of winning up to $100 million in the federal "Early Learning Challenge." Currently, New York City administers a school readiness exam, called Bracken, to children applying for gifted programs. But in most schools across the city and state, kindergarten teachers learn about their students' strengths and weaknesses over the course of the year. Now they will have a standard "kindergarten readiness measurement tool" to help them. The new test will let schools identify a "baseline" for each student who enrolls against which they can measure progress — or lack of progress. But children won't be barred from enrollment or sent to special education on the basis of poor scores, and the scores won't be factored into teacher evaluations, according to the state's press release. The tool is one promise in New York State's application to this year's lower-key Race to the Top competition, which focused on early childhood education. The application also promises that New York will create Common Core-aligned pre-kindergarten standards and introduce a quality rating for early childhood programs. The rating system named in the state's application, QUALITYStarsNY, is the same one being used in New York City to rate programs as part of a local bid to improve early childhood education.
July 1, 2011
This week's teaching & learning tidbits
ProPublica launches online tool to compare public schools - Tiger moms hire tutors as Korea scraps Saturday classes - Teacher grades: Pass or be fired - Pro-voucher group joins Dougco fight - Union suit: DPS abuses innovation - Mother fights to get 4-year-old son into kindergarten.
May 20, 2011
This week's teaching & learning tidbits
Denver seeks fewer, more committed subs - DPS and Colorado Heights U. to create SW Denver campus - Fast tracking to kindergarten - Number of homeschoolers in Colo. dips.
May 17, 2011
Ask an Expert: Could my son be gifted?
A mom worries that her son is getting bored in preschool because he may be gifted. An expert gives her tips on what to do as he prepares for kindergarten.
March 30, 2011
Kindergarten wait lists lengthen as more families apply
Over 3,000 soon-to-be kindergarteners are on wait-lists for elementary school this year — a marked increase over last year and one that's hitting schools in Queens and Manhattan particularly hard. Every spring, in what has become a ritual in recent years, parents register for kindergarten at their nearby elementary schools for the following year ,and every spring, thousands are wait-listed. Department of Education officials said they received 8,000 more kindergarten applications this year than last year. While more than 92 percent of those families have been accepted to their zoned schools, 3,195 of them are still waiting for a placement. DOE officials emphasized that between now and the end of May the wait list numbers could fluctuate. During the intervening months, some families will move away, enroll their children in private or parochial schools, or win lotteries for charter school admission. Officials said they would open more kindergarten classes where they could find space. But come the end of May, families who still don't have seats in their zoned schools will be sent new schools to choose from. Last year, nearly 1,000 kindergarteners did not get spots in their zoned schools. Some of the new assignments sent families to less-coveted schools just down the block. Others sent the 5- and 6-year-olds on treks as arduous as a nearly 3-mile hike from Sunset Park to Red Hook, in the case of four unlucky Brooklyn families.
March 7, 2011
Boulder Valley teachers "come home" with students via iPod
Technology is helping bring Boulder Valley teachers "home" with students where they work on lesson plans together via iPod. Now, the Take Your Teacher Home project is spreading throughout the district and to others in Colorado as well.
December 21, 2010
New Montbello early childhood center to serve vital need
Learn more about the state-of-the-art early childhood center coming to Far Northeast Denver, when the $5.5 million facility will open and what needs DPS officials believes it will serve.
November 4, 2010
Self-regulation key to classroom success
Constant praise isn’t going to get Johnny very far when he starts school. And even if he has a high IQ or shows outstanding ability in math, new research says that the best indicator of future academic success is the ability of a child to self-regulate.
October 27, 2010
Ask an Expert: Full- or half-day kindergarten for special needs child.
Are you debating the pros and cons of full- vs. half-day kindergarten? Read what this expert has to say as you navigate the process of exploring schools for your kindergartener. The issue is more complicated if a learning disability is involved. Read this post to find out more.
October 13, 2010
Ask an Expert: My kindergartener doesn't want to go to school.
Does your kindergartener hate going to school? You can start by asking some questions of your child to figure out the root of the problem and begin coming up with solutions. Read this sage advice from EdNews Parent expert Karla Scornavacco.
October 1, 2010
Ask an Expert: At what age should my son attend preschool?
EdNews Parent experts Ann Morrison, Karla Scornavacco and Robert "Kim" Herrell take on an important question from Amy of Boulder about when her 2-year-old son should start preschool to make sure he's prepared for kindergarten.
August 20, 2010
Waiting list growing for advanced kindergarten in DPS
What is advanced kindergarten, you ask? It's a good question. We've already heard that today's regular kindergarten is more like first grade used to be as the academic pressures continue to mount. So, advanced kindergarten must be more like second grade used to be when we were kids kicking around the playground. Regardless, more parents in Denver want it, according to this Education News Colorado story.
May 21, 2010
Nearly 1,000 kindergartners won't get a spot at zoned school
The distance that 67 students re-routed from P.S. 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, (marked A) to a mix of five other schools will trek. Kindergartners-to-be jilted by neighborhood elementary schools too crowded to hold them will receive a new school assignment in the mail this weekend, the Department of Education announced today. Some of the new assignments will send families to less-coveted schools just down the block. Others will send the 5- and 6-year-olds on treks as arduous as a nearly 3-mile hike from Sunset Park to Red Hook, in the case of four unlucky Brooklyn families. Letters with alternate matches are going out to 980 families, more than double the number that received them last year. But the matches are a better option than what seemed possible in March, when 1,885 families were told they would be on a waiting list. Schools have since found spots for many of those families. None of the decisions are final, and all families will remain on their wait lists even while they receive their new assignment. The city expects some spots will open up as children are admitted to gifted and talented programs and private schools, schools spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld said. The vast bulk of redirected children live in Queens, where 432 families zoned for 16 schools will be re-routed to a group of 18 less-crowded alternatives. (Brooklyn comes next with 220 redirected families, then Manhattan with 179, 101 in the Bronx, and 48 in Staten Island.)
March 23, 2010
2,000 soon-to-be kindergarten students on wait lists this year
It's becoming a New York City spring ritual: thousands of parents sign up their children for kindergarten only to find that the school they're zoned for is all out of room. This year, the early enrollment period ended with about 2,000 soon-to-be kindergartners on waiting lists, city officials said today. Those students and their families represent less than five percent of all the city's entering kindergartners, but they're not easy to ignore. Last year, parents of wait listed kindergartners staged a protest in front of City Hall, drawing press coverage and a new name for their predicament: the kindergarten crisis. This year, despite the introduction of new schools in some neighborhoods and rezonings, 104 public elementary schools have wait lists, and many of them are more than fifty names deep. DOE spokesman David Cantor said this year, the department was tracking the problem earlier than in the past in hopes of easing parents' anxiety.
March 8, 2010
A new bill would make kindergarten enrollment projections public
As dust settles on a months-long school rezoning battle in Tribeca, State Senator Daniel Squadron said he would introduce a new bill today that would force the Department of Education to give community leaders more information before they sit down to draw new zoning lines. Standing outside the epicenter of that zoning battle, P.S. 234, Squadron said members of the parent council for District 2 had been asked to chose a rezoning plan — but hadn't been given any information about how many kindergarten students to expect. As a result, P.S. 234 still has too many new students zoned for it, leaving families to take their chances in a lottery. Shino Tanikawa, a member of the Community Education Council for District 2, said DOE officials gave the council numbers for how many kindergarten and first-grade students are enrolled in Tribeca schools, but not projections for how many were coming down the pipeline. "We kept asking for enrollment projections and the number they had was an aggregate number based on historical trends," she said. "For the actual zoning we had to do, there was nothing."
December 10, 2009
LES schools land exemption from city-wide kindergarten rules
Lower East Side parents who want to ensure their pre-k students stay in the same school for kindergarten will now be able to do so, though a citywide policy bans schools from giving admissions preference to their own pre-k students. Parents in Manhattan's District 1 have been lobbying for the exemption for more than a year. The district's parent council, elected officials and the Department of Education have hammered out a nearly-final deal, presented to parents at a public meeting last night. Last school year the DOE began barring schools from giving admissions preference to students already enrolled in their own pre-k programs. Lisa Donlan, the president of the parent's council, said that the policy ran counter to the district's historical commitment to having full-day pre-k programs that are considered fully integrated into the school's culture, whereas many districts have half-day pre-k programs that are almost considered separate from the school itself.
October 21, 2009
Upper West Siders warns DOE of kindergarten crowding next year
Members of the Upper West Side's district school board are meeting tonight to warn Department of Education officials that if they don't build more classrooms, next year's kindergarten crisis will be in their district. In an interview this afternoon, Community Education Council president Noah Gotbaum said that though the DOE's data shows a district-wide decrease in enrollment, many schools were hit with an influx of kindergartners this year. P.S. 87 had to create three more kindergarten classes than the department had projected, while P.S. 199 had to create two more to accommodate children who live in the zone. Pointing to the rapid construction of housing developments in the district and the increase in parents who can no longer afford private school, Gotbaum said the numbers for next year look worse, but there's no room for the schools to grow. "These are pretty significant trends that need to be taken into consideration and addressed immediately, otherwise there will be real chaos in September and I think the DOE recognizes that," he said.
May 26, 2009
In the outer boroughs, many schools send kindergartners away
Overcrowding in Manhattan schools seems to be more acute than usual this year. But in the rest of the city, Manhattan’s overcrowding story isn’t…
May 15, 2009
To kindergarten shutouts, top schools official says, "I'm sorry"
Anyone who stayed until the bitter end of a three-hour meeting last night about kindergarten waitlists in Manhattan got a surprise: an uncharacteristic apology from a top DOE official. Hundreds of parents turned out for a meeting of the parent council for District 2 to vent about having been shut out, at least for now, of their neighborhood schools. Last week, Manhattan parents protested at City Hall after 273 children were put on waiting lists at many elementary schools. Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm arrived late to the meeting after spending her afternoon dealing with the swine flu outbreak in Queens. She sat quietly in the audience and listened to a tense back and forth between school officials and angry parents. The auditorium had mostly emptied and council members were preparing to adjourn when Grimm approached the microphone to make a surprise statement, which I captured on video above. Here's a key part of what she said: I also want to say something that I thought I heard people from the DOE say tonight, but just in case you didn't, I want to say, I'm sorry. We're sorry. We have stumbled on some of this planning. The two officials leading the meeting told parents during the meeting that most schools should be able to eliminate their wait lists by the middle of June, after families find out where they've been offered seats in gifted and talented programs. John White, who heads the Department of Education's efforts to manage school space, said that more children in each area qualified for gifted admissions than there are children on the waiting list.
May 6, 2009
A protest as hundreds of kindergarten hopefuls sit on waiting lists
Parents and elected officials gathered at City Hall today to protest crowding in Manhattan that has led to long waiting lists for public school kindergartens. (GothamSchools ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/28995913@N07/3508423223/##Flickr##) A crowd of shell-shocked parents gathered outside City Hall this afternoon, angry that the Department of Education hasn’t found seats for the hundreds of rising kindergarten students who have been placed on waiting lists for next year at their local public schools. The waiting lists, which include 273 names in just two Manhattan districts, mean that families in baby- and building-boom areas like the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, and Greenwich Village could find themselves unable to secure a spot at their neighborhood school's kindergarten. The lists attracted extra attention yesterday after news leaked that the city was considering closing or relocating prekindergarten classes at two Greenwich Village elementary schools, PS 3 and PS 41, in order to make room for kindergartners. Parents at the rally said they felt confused and powerless. "As far as I can tell, I don't have a Plan B — other than home school or moving to Jersey," said Jay Douglas, whose 4-year-old son is number 42 on a waiting list for PS 187 in Washington Heights. Elected officials joined the parents at City Hall today to criticize city officials for not planning ahead to meet the demand for spots in public schools. Scott Stringer, Manhattan's borough president, said the DOE is "closing its eyes" to a widespread capacity problem, warning that taxpaying parents will pack up and move, taking their kids and tax dollars somewhere else if they can't enroll in their local public school.
March 26, 2009
Report: School is all work, no play for New York City 5-year-olds
A play-based kindergarten class. Via Flickr Kindergarten used to be a time when children dressed up in costumes, built cities out of blocks, and pretended to cook feasts in play kitchens. But now 5-year-olds are more likely to spend their school days practicing basic literacy and math skills. In fact, kindergartners in New York City spend less than 30 minutes a day on creative play, several recent studies have found. The shift toward academic kindergarten might boost children's test scores in the short term but is not likely to make them successful in the long term, according to "Kindergarten in Crisis," a report released this week by the Alliance for Childhood, a coalition of child development researchers. From the report: The power of play as the engine of learning in early childhood and as a vital force for young children’s physical, social, and emotional development is beyond question. Children in play-based kindergartens have a double advantage over those who are denied play: they end up equally good or better at reading and other intellectual skills, and they are more likely to become well-adjusted healthy people. The trend toward academic kindergarten isn't news for anyone who's been paying attention to the city's public schools for very long. Back in 2006, my former colleague Clara Hemphill tackled the subject in a column in the New York Times.
January 23, 2009
Against rules, some schools plan to lay low and screen students
Here's another set of folks not being swept along by the rising tide of transparency: Schools that want to admit children according to their own preferences, not the Department of Education's rules. DOE policy prohibits elementary schools from giving preference in kindergarten admissions to children attending the schools' own pre-K programs. But some schools are hoping to escape having to follow the rules simply by not being forthcoming about how they admit their students, according to a report posted today on the Times' City Room blog. Elissa Gootman writes: But one official at a popular elementary school that picks students by lottery said the school intended to give priority to this year’s prekindergartners anyway, insisting that the school not be named so it might “fly under the radar” and avoid City Hall’s attention. I'm also hearing that some non-lottery schools are considering quietly exploiting a loophole in new DOE rules about kindergarten admissions as they register next fall's kindergarten classes.
December 3, 2008
A preview of the desperate practices that are about to commence
Anxious parents posting on UrbanBaby are asking for your thoughts on Trinity, Brearley, Chapin, Riverdale, and Manhattan’s PS 87. Private school admissions season…
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