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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: kindergarten

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July 9, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Kindergarten catch-up program yields results in Lake Washington

Photo by Caitlin Moran / The Seattle Times.

Photo by Caitlin Moran / The Seattle Times

Two years ago, the Lake Washington School District started a small experiment to see if it could help struggling kindergarten students catch up with their peers.

It was based on a common-sense idea: To improve, the kindergartners needed more time at school.

Kelly Pease, the district’s director of intervention programs, realized that students who were the furthest behind often were the ones who attended only a half day of kindergarten. That’s likely because many of their parents couldn’t afford the full-day programs that Lake Washington, like many school districts, offers for a fee.

Half-day programs, which the state funds, are free.

So district leaders decided to offer those students the chance to attend a free program for the second half of the day, designed specifically for them.


Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, early-childhood education, kindergarten

February 27, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Skin in the game, Lesson One: Mom, do your homework

Claudia Rowe

Claudia Rowe

Parents meeting after-hours in a school cafeteria may not sound like the newsiest event. But I was there, as a reporter and a mom, because my child will be entering Fairmount Park Elementary when it opens this fall, and I wanted to hear what those of us new-to-the-school-system need to know. I’ve covered education for a long time, but the terrain looks very different when your own kid is involved.

Lesson No. 1: March 7 is the deadline for filing the paperwork to enroll your child in any Seattle public school. This applies to kindergarten students, children new to the district or kids applying to switch out of their assigned buildings.

Even in our wired city, that comes down to paperwork. Lots of it. Paper from your child’s doctor certifying immunizations. Paper from utility companies or courts confirming your address. Paper verifying your child’s birth date.

One wonders why a school district handling 50,000 kids would want to do things this way, but so be it. I will be gathering documents.


Comments | More in News | Topics: early ed, kindergarten, registration

January 22, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Math struggles start even before kindergarten, state says

Don’t just worry about the old math — or the new math. Or whether students use calculators, or don’t have them.

New data from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) suggests that the state’s math problem starts before children line up for their first day of kindergarten.

Courtesy Washington OSPI

Courtesy Washington OSPI

For the second year in a row, kindergarten teachers in hundreds of schools observed their students and rated their school-readiness skills — everything from how well they hold a pencil to whether they recognize letters and can count to 10.

Three-quarters of those kindergarteners were deemed school-ready in five areas: social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive and literacy.

But in math? Only a little over half had the desired skills.


Comments | More in Math and science, News | Topics: early learning, kindergarten, math

December 26, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Kindergarten signups to start on same date in seven districts

A little more than a year ago, six South King County school districts along with Seattle Public Schools won a four-year, $40 million federal grant, part of what’s known as the Race to the Top program.

Since then, they’ve been working together to carry out what they proposed, which includes building stronger ties between pre-kindergarten programs and the early elementary grades, improving instruction in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects, and encouraging more students to enroll in college or career programs after high school.

One other benefit of the whole effort is that Seattle and the six other districts — Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, and Tukwila  — are working together much more than ever before, with an eye toward helping and learning from each other.

One small example: The districts recently decided to coordinate kindergarten registration this school year. Rather than having seven different kindergarten sign-up times, they will decide on a single start date.


Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, kindergarten, Race to the Top