Education
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Nearly Three-Quarters of Murray’s Kindergarteners Were Ready for School This Fall

Credit tcpalm.com

Half of Kentucky’s kindergarten students are unprepared when they enter the public education system. But Children entering Murray Independent Schools fared much better.

According to Kentucky’s new Brigance kindergarten screener results nearly three quarters of children entering elementary school were ready.

Murray Independent’s Preschool Director Judy Muehleman says incoming kindergartners were screened for social, emotional and academic skills last summer.

“Of course a lot of them have to do with counting, and the literacy skills. Just letter recognition, knowing the alphabet,” Muehleman said. “Some of them have to do with physical development, fine motor, the writing. Two pieces of the screener address self-help skills and social emotional skills.”

Incoming kindergartners were screened in Murray in August, and the state is using all the data it released this week as benchmarks for moving forward. Muehleman says the results provide an opportunity to look over early childhood programs with some scrutiny.

“The results of the screening, it’s gonna increase our looking at, everybody looking at their programming,” she said. “ You know, are we teaching to the standards? Are we teaching the right skills? Are we emphasizing one area more than another? Are we focusing on the whole child?”

Farmer Elementary School teacher Gina Kimery with Jefferson County Public Schools says the screeners are aligned with Kentucky’s academic standards and show parents and teachers where students need to be. She says it also creates consistency for teachers.

“So if I have a student with me in January and they move to another school in February the data I send them, that teacher understands it.”

The screeners show exactly what kind of help a student needs as he or she enters elementary school. JCPS superintendent Donna Hargens says this should help students prepare for when they’re tested for the first time in third grade.

“If more kids are kindergarten ready at kindergarten then its more kids need to be proficient at third grade,” Hargens said. “ And each mile stone needs to get better.”

State officials say the screeners offer a glimpse of where students are developmentally and where schools, cities or policy makers should focus their efforts.

Districts that fared better than the state average in our listening area include Marshall, Fulton, McCracken and Daviess county schools. The full report can be found here.