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Most kindergarten students not ready for school, state study says

The State Journal-Register – Brenden Moore

“Less than a quarter of Illinois children were fully prepared to enter kindergarten in 2017, a study released Monday by the state board of education revealed. The study, known as the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS), is a first-ever snapshot of kindergarten readiness in the state. Its findings are based on teacher observations of students’ skills, knowledge and behaviors in three key development areas over the first 40 days of the school year.” (more)

Connections between early childhood program and teenage outcomes

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“A new study published in PLOS ONE by researchers from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development examined the long-term impacts of an early childhood program called the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) and found evidence suggesting that the program positively affected children’s executive function and academic achievement during adolescence. The program targeted children’s self-regulation skills while also raising the quality of inner-city Head Start classrooms serving high-risk neighborhoods in Chicago. Researchers have been following the children involved in the study since the beginning of preschool through the high school years.” (more)

How to Boost Math Skills in the Early Grades

KQED News Mind/Shift – Sarah Gonser

“In the last decade, educators have focused on boosting literacy skills among low-income kids in the hope that all children will read well by third grade. But the early-grade math skills of these same low-income children have not received equal attention. Researchers say many high-poverty kindergarten classrooms don’t teach enough math and the few lessons on the subject are often too basic. While instruction may challenge kids with no previous exposure to math, it is often not engaging enough for the growing number of kindergarteners with some math skills.” (more)

This major city knows the secret to improving student performance

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“A focus on high-quality principals in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) could serve as a best-practice model for districts across the nation, according to data indicating improved student performance and principal retention. Over the past four years, as the number of strong principals in Chicago’s public schools has increased, so have student outcomes. District leaders have identified increases in both reading and math scores for elementary school students and have seen significant improvements in freshman on-track and graduation rates at the high school level.” (more)

Students thrive on Mandarin learning at Chicago’s top high school

Xinhua – Miao Zhuang and Xia Lin

“Upper schoolers at the Walter Payton College Preparatory High School like to warm up their get-togethers with a rendition of Jasmine, the classic Chinese folk song that U.S. President Donald Trump’s grand-daughter performed months ago during her visit to the Chinese Embassy in Washington. “Chinese is one of the most widely used language in the world. So I think learning it is super important, because so many different people speak it,” Helen, a Payton enrollee, told Xinhua in a recent interview. Xu Qun, who came from China for her Mandarin-teaching job at Payton, has noticed for a long time the trendy choice among American children, saying that “I think a lot of children in the U.S. are very young when they start learning Chinese. Some parents think Chinese is so important that they hire a Chinese-speaking nanny to look after their children.'”(more)

Illinois schools experiment with competency-based education model

Education Dive – Autumn A. Arnett

“Competency-based education is seeing growth in adult education programs as a way to help graduate more marketable future employees, and now the trend seems to be headed for the K-12 sector as well. The push toward mastery vs. time-in-class should help promote students who are better prepared for life after high school. Many of the adaptive competencies emphasized are the same as the ones employers say today’s workers are lacking, and making the development of these “soft skills” a mandatory part of their education should help close the gap.”(more)