Volusia County Schools Selected for State Pilot Program for Kindergarten Readiness.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
Volusia County Schools has been approved by the State, to participate in a new state pilot program that focuses on Kindergarten Readiness.
The district’s 23 Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) sites will now use a new way to prepare young students for a successful start to their education.
“The VPK program serves many 4-year-olds throughout the county, who might not be able to attend a formal preschool program,” said VCS Early Learning Coordinator Wendy Sydeski. “It is aligned with early learning and developmental standards and is designed to close the achievement gap and help preschool children transition to kindergarten successfully.”
Normally, students are assessed in the fall – shortly after they start Kindergarten. Schools will receive a school readiness rate based on the computerized assessment.
With the new program, young students will be assessed for the first time in January, while students are still attending the VPK program. This will help schools identify areas of concern academically, where students need some extra help, and assess these needs much earlier than before. Earlier intervention into problem areas will better prepare children for Kindergarten.
Teachers will use the information gathered from the assessments to set individual goals for students, along with expectations for growth. Smaller group management will be more manageable, as teachers will be able to focus more on specific instruction needed for the group of students.
“This will give us a better picture of each student’s progress and assist us in targeting specific strategies to expand students’ literacy skills and overcome any areas of concern to better prepare them for kindergarten,” Sydeski said.
Part of the pilot will provide a computer or iPad to all 32 classrooms within the 23 Volusia Schools where the VPK program is administered. The program will also provide additional instructional resources for teachers. VPK teachers and administrators are receiving training on the new curriculum now.
“Knowledge is power, and early learning is very important, so we are excited to be selected for the Star Early Literacy program,” Sydeski said. “We believe it will make a big difference for our students and their readiness for school.”