U-46 collecting data on kindergarten performance

The full-day program made its districtwide debut in August

  • Patrick Murphy plays with some sand in Jan Wilcox's classroom during the first day of full-day kindergarten at Centennial School in Bartlett.

      Patrick Murphy plays with some sand in Jan Wilcox's classroom during the first day of full-day kindergarten at Centennial School in Bartlett. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/28/2017 10:10 AM

Elgin schools officials say they will be measuring student performance for the first time in full-day kindergarten and releasing the data later this summer.

Roughly 2,700 students across 40 elementary schools are enrolled in Elgin Area School District U-46's full-day kindergarten program, which debuted districtwide this school year.

 

As part of the now six-hour kindergarten school day -- double the class time in half-day kindergarten -- students get to play outside, have an hour for lunch and recess, participate in storytime and have more play-based lessons in class.

There are blocks of time during which teachers concentrate on core content areas, such as literacy, language and math. The structure offers students plenty of time to interact with each other and naturally acquire social and emotional skills, and it allows teachers more time for individualized attention.

This is the first year U-46 is collecting performance data through the state-mandated Kindergarten Individual Development Survey assessment for students in the full-day kindergarten program, officials said.

"The data that we are going to collect will help us with our improvement plan for full-day kindergarten," Peggy Ondera, U-46 director of early learning told the school board Monday. "We will return in July with the academic results and results from the parent and staff survey."

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The state requires students to be measured on 14 developmental benchmarks. The KIDS assessment is aimed at providing a single, statewide picture of kindergarten readiness and comprehensive development profiles of individual students. It conveys what skills, knowledge, and behaviors each child should possess, per the Illinois State Board of Education.

"Next year, those 14 measures will be required across the state," said Ondera, adding that U-46 will be measuring students on seven additional benchmarks, including social-emotional development and math and science cognition.

Officials plan to track current kindergarten students' performance through their academic careers in U-46 to ensure short-term gains are not lost over time.

"We will also be collecting qualitative feedback through an end-of-year survey of teachers and parents," said Brian Lindholm, U-46 professional development and project manager.

Ushma Shah, U-46 assistant superintendent of elementary schools instruction and equity, said elementary school teachers need to be ready and trained to receive kindergarten students who are now more prepared.

"How we engage with parents in the early grades will be an area of focus as we prepare for the next school year," Shah added.

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