Clinton preps for program

Rachael Keating/Clinton HeraldBluff Elementary School kindergarten teacher Erin Griswold helps 4-year-old Harper Capron with a puzzle during kindergarten roundup on Feb. 22.

CLINTON — Clinton school officials are continuing to prepare for the transitional kindergarten program that will be put in place during the 2018-2019 school year.

Transitional kindergarten aims to serve as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten for younger students, Clinton School District Superintendent Gary DeLacy has said in the past as he explains the initiative. These students may be needing social or academic experience before they are fully immersed in traditional kindergarten.

The transitional kindergarten would focus on children who have a summer, or “late” birthday, as DeLacy called it, relative to others in their potential kindergarten class. The initiative would allow parents to place their young children in transitional kindergarten for a year before entering actual kindergarten.

More details have now emerged as the beginning of the program nears.

“Right now we’re expecting anywhere from 40 to 60 students participating,” DeLacy said late last week. “We’re in the process of finalizing the last few details and talking to some teachers who are willing to lead these groups for us next year.”

DeLacy said the transitional kindergarten classes are most likely set to be held at Eagle Heights Elementary, Bluff Elementary, and Jefferson Elementary throughout the district. It has been decided that Whittier Elementary doesn’t provide sufficient space, the superintendent explained.

DeLacy went in depth earlier in the year in a blog post, explaining the intent behind the new program.

‘“Transitional kindergarten’ students will be taught the same kindergarten curriculum without the pressure of being proficient in all the standards,” the post stated. “However, if a student in transitional kindergarten blooms during the year, and is meeting or exceeding benchmarks, they will be recommended for first grade based on academic indicators. Those transitional kindergarten students that are not at benchmark at the end of the year would enter kindergarten the next year as leaders in their class.”

DeLacy said he and other district officials have heard resounding support for the program’s implementation from area parents, teachers and principals.