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What is ‘kindergarten ready’?

The Pensacola News Journal – Shannon Nickinson

“What does it mean to be ready for kindergarten? Most teachers agree on the basics: That a child can name at least seven colors; that a child knows the alphabet and the sounds that each letter makes; she can recognize and write her name; a child can share, take turns, follow directions and has the self-control to sit still for at least 10 minutes at a stretch. But when it comes to measuring how many children are ready for school, in Florida, the answer is murky — and ultimately too many children are left in the dark. The Florida Department of Education revamped the way kindergarten readiness is tested last year. Because of those changes, Escambia County appears to have made a nearly 24-point leap in readiness in two years — from 66 percent in 2014 to nearly 90 percent for 2016, based on preliminary data released to VPK providers.”(more)

Prioritizing early education

Pensacola Today – Shannon Nickinson

“The students in Emily Ellis’ VPK class at Lincoln Park Primary School are as warm and bubbly as any crop of 4- and 5-year-olds you are likely to meet, quick with a hug and big on teamwork as they work to “keep the Earth clean” raking dead leaves and checking on the new Earth Day planter boxes. Making sure they are excited about learning and prepared for kindergarten next year is more than Ellis’ job. It is critical to the success of the entire Pensacola community. In a county where 66.2 percent of last year’s kindergarteners were considered ready for kindergarten based on state evaluation standards, their success in the future is ours. That is why Lincoln Park’s Principal Cassandra Smith has worked hard to make professional development an important part of her VPK teachers’ work. Smith has five pre-K classes at her school of just under 200 students.”(more)

In Many Areas, School Supplies Available for Low-Income Families

Education News – Grace Smith

“The National Retail Association reports that the average family spends about $670 on expenses related to getting back into school. Linda Ong, reporter for Missouri’s KOLR  says that many low-income families can find back-to-school expenses overwhelming.” (more)

FCAT testing taxes school districts

The Pensacola News Journal – Michael Scott Davidson

“No. 2 pencils and printed test packets are disappearing as standardized testing in Florida finishes segueing into computer-based testing.”(more)

Learning by paying it forward at West Navarre Intermediate School

The Pensacola News Journal – Amanda Creel

“This simple question and answer symbolize a changing culture at West Navarre Intermediate School, where students are gaining an education in more than the traditional subjects. Students at the school are learning what it means to belong and how it feels to pay it forward.”(more)

Flurry of education bills dominate debate

The Miami Herald – Kathleen McGrory and Jeffrey S. Solochek

“As schoolchildren prepared to take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests for the last time, the state Senate put its unanimous support behind a proposal that would simplify the school grading formula for next year.”(more)