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A sample of schools across the state shows many kindergarteners need additional help when starting school.
The first set of results from a new screener for kindergarten students in Hardin County Schools show about 36 percent of students begin school without need for any additional support. The scores represent a pilot program, which will be implemented fully in every district in the state next school year.
Overall state results reveal 28 percent of students are ready to begin kindergarten without additional support.
HCS was one district that tested the program. It administered the test to students in seven classrooms at Heartland and North Park elementary schools.
Carlena Sheeran, HCS director of early childhood education, said the results were what she expected. Once parents become more familiar with the screening process, Sheeran said the scores will increase as parents work with their children before school begins.
The screener looks at five areas — cognitive-general knowledge, language and communications, physical well-being, social and emotional development and self-help skills.
The percentage of kindergarten students screened in HCS that scored within or above the average range in these five areas were 67.3 percent, 42.3 percent, 51.8 percent, 78 percent and 75 percent, respectively.
Sheeran said she thought the scores for the social-emotional and self-help skills were the highest because those skills are developed in a variety of settings, including non-academic ones. She said the way early childhood care providers work together in the county has contributed to the success of the students.
She said the district doesn’t consider children as developmentally behind their peers based on the score. Teachers use the numbers to determine an instructional starting point for their students.
“For Hardin County, that was some good information,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.