By Greg Bird
The McCreary County School District announced last week that for the second year in a row the District’s Kindergarten Readiness ranked tops in the state. Individually, Whitley City Elementary ranked first overall and Pine Knot Elementary placed 7th.
The District scored 93.4 percent overall for kindergarten readiness in a state-funded prior setting. The state average is only 51.4 percent, well below McCreary’s ranking. Whitley City Elementary scored 97.6 percent and Pine Knot Elementary scored 91.3 percent. The District’s ranking was more than seven percentage points above the next-highest district – Martin County.
Kindergarten students are screened from just before the start of the school year through the 30th instructional day to provide data to districts regarding readiness. That data is used to plan instruction for individual student needs.
The students are screened in a variety of measures, including physical development, academic aptitude, social interaction and emotional development. That data is collated to produce the rankings as well as provide a benchmark for the student as he or she progresses through school.
This is the seventh year of screening children as they enter kindergarten, and McCreary County has made great strides in rising through the ranks. In the 2013-14 school year, when the data was first released, McCreary County saw only 33.5 percent of students labeled “kindergarten ready.” The percentage grew steadily until about three years ago when the District began a focus on its preschool program – eventually expanding it to a five-day a week program. In 2017-18 the District’s ranking surpassed the state average for the first time with a 77.3 percent readiness, compared to 50.3 percent for the state. Last year the District’s 89.7 percent ranking was number one in the state, and grew by nearly four percentage points this year to maintain the top slot.
“Families, early care and education providers, school staff, and community partners must work together to provide environments and developmental experiences that promote growth and learning,” Dr. Aaron Anderson, Assistant Superintendent and Preschool Coordinator said in a press release.
“This success results from a collaborative effort and the tremendous work being done each and every day by our preschool team,” Superintendent Corey Keith added.
Dr. Anderson said studies have shown that children who participate in some type of preschool program typically perform better academically than those who don’t.
The McCreary County School District asks if you have a child that is preschool age and are interested in enrolling your child or have questions regarding the program to contact Preschool Administrative Assistant Leigha Sumner at 354-3590. Registration for preschool is open year-round.