For the 2015/2016 school year, Kent County’s kindergarten students ranked number one in the state in the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment program. Sixty-three percent of Kent County’s kindergarten students entered school meeting basic skill and developmental benchmarks versus just forty-five percent statewide.
During the first two months of school, teachers assessed incoming kindergarten students for language, mathematics, social foundations, and physical well-being and motor development. By observing play, social interactions, and through one-on-one and small group activities, teachers were able to place each student on a spectrum of readiness. Carol Manley, a kindergarten teacher at H. H. Garnett Elementary School in Chestertown said that the assessments allow her to inform instruction and group her students by learning needs. This leads to a more personalized learning environment for children.
Kent is the only county in the state that offers full-day universal pre-K, regardless of need. 86% of Kent’s current kindergarten students attended pre-kindergarten last year, and of those students 69% demonstrate readiness. Kent County Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch says “The results for KCPS are without question worth the investment and will provide long term educational benefits. Although funding for Pre-K programs is not included in state and local funding allocations, the Board of Education and I will continue to prioritize funding for this program within our budget.”
Looking forward, Kent County will continue to participate in the assessment program and use the data gathered to enrich the learning of students. As the results of this year’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment show, the universal pre-kindergarten program is paying immediate dividends for Kent County’s schools and families.