Santee (Calif.) School District will soon offer a new grade level. Board members approved a transitional kindergarten program, which will launch next school year.
The Kindergarten Readiness Act will slowly change the required birthday admission for kindergartners and first graders from December to September. The new law also requires all school districts in the state to establish a transitional kindergarten program for children who will no longer meet minimum age requirements for kindergarten entrance beginning in the 2012-13 school year.
During the meeting, board members unanimously decided to “transition to the transitional kindergarten program,” which will eventually become the voluntary first year of a two-year kindergarten program for students who are born between September and December.
For the 2012-13 school year, the district plans to offer two-to-three district-wide classes taught by current teaching staff for children who turn 5 years old between Nov. 2 to Dec. 2. If space permits, children who turn 5 years old between Sept. 2 to Nov. 1 will also be admitted to the program.
“All districts are required to offer a transitional kindergarten program, but we have the ability to decide which groups of kids we invite—what age do we want to transition into transitional kindergarten,” explained Kristin Baranski, the district’s director of educational services, during her presentation.
Baranski explained that the district will continue to offer Early Admission to Kindergarten, a state-funded program designed for children who missed the Dec. 2 closing date for kindergarten registration. Currently, the district enrolls students who turn 5 years old on or before March 16 to its EAK program.