That was the message from Daviess County School District Superintendent Owens Saylor Thursday night, during a discussion of student performance among the district’s Kindergarten students.
“Readiness is an important element,” Saylor said. “Wherever they start in the race, they sort of stay there.”
Saylor’s comments came during a presentation to the Daviess County Board of Education.
Jana Beth Francis, the district’s director of assessment, research, and curriculum development, shared data collected regarding student achievement among Daviess County School District Kindergarten age children. According to the presentation, only 56.5 percent of all kindergarten students were considered “Kindergarten ready.”
The chart also compared children based on race. Of those considered “Kindergarten ready,” about 60 percent were white, approximately 36 percent were African-American, and just more than 32 percent were Hispanic. Also, the report noted, only 43.7 percent of students on the district’s free and reduced lunch program were “Kindergarten ready” students.
Discussion quickly turned toward how to improve those percentages as they work toward reaching a goal of 80 percent.
"Jana Beth Francis and Vicki Riley, the district’s director of elementary schools, told the board the biggest challenge with Kindergarten children is a lack of social skills due to limited or no interaction with other children before entering Kindergarten."
According to them, only about a third of Kindergarten students who didn’t attend daycare or preschool are ready to enter Kindergarten. They recommended working more with parents of children not in such programs to help them better prepare children for that grade level. Some of the other issues pointed out included learning-related concerns such as the need to string letters into phrases and basic math addition and subtraction concepts.
Francis said she hopes to work with daycare and preschool programs to help caregivers and instructors a better grasp on teaching concepts required as part of standardized testing, and Saylor said other groups had talked with him about finding ways to share those ideas with parents of children who aren’t in such programs. After School and Summer Programs might be an option as well.
In other business, the board approved final readings of construction project bid specifications for work to be done at Daviess County High School, Deer Park Elementary School, and Country Heights Elementary School.
Members also took the time to recognize students and faculty for recent accomplishments, and heard a presentation on Burns Elementary school from its students and staff.
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