KUNA — First grade in Kuna is off to a good start, because this year, kids are coming more prepared after having the first year of all-day kindergarten. Data shows, it’s already helping.
"Kuna kindergarten students at 80% proficient for meeting kindergarten math benchmarks as compared to 59% of the national average," said superintendent for Kuna School District Wendy Johnson.
For the first year of all-day kindergarten, reading and math proficiency is up, as well as overall readiness for first grade, something that Kuna struggled to improve over the years.
“Years ago, we were at about 60% of kids coming to school ready to benefit from their kindergarten experience, and that has quickly gone down," said Johnson, "the last two years we saw kids coming to school at 40% or less."
The district also adopted a new curriculum built for all-day programs, which meant teachers had to spend the beginning part of the year catching kids up.
"What we would see is a lot of frustration on behalf of teachers, that they couldn't get to all the outcomes that they were wanting to see from their children," said Johnson.
These outcomes don’t just relate to math and reading, but social factors as well.
“As an educator I know that kids need to be ready to learn before they come to kindergarten," said 1st grade teacher Christy Hall, "and learning just isn’t known their letters, it's being prepared emotionally and being exposed to a lot of things, not just technology, being read to every day and those things are really important. "
The district will continue to monitor how this will affect third-grade reading scores, but that will take a few more years, so the district is happy they have the foundation to improve in the meantime.
"Kids were coming into Kuna, and they weren’t ready for kindergarten, and now we can at least show if they come to all-day kindergarten they are ready for 1st grade and ready to learn," said Hall..
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