Washington County Sees Strong Gains in Kindergarten Readiness
Posted January 22, 2019
Hagerstown, MD (January 22, 2019) – More Washington County students are coming to school prepared for kindergarten, according to a report released by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) today. The report indicates 43% of students demonstrated they were ready for kindergarten at the start of the 2018-2019 school year, which is an increase of six percentage points over last year’s results (37% in 2017-2018). Last year Washington County ranked next to last (23rd out of 24) in kindergarten readiness statistics compared to all other public school systems across the state. With the improvement shown in the current report, Washington County now ranks 14th out of 24 Maryland public school systems.
Students who attended Washington County Public Schools’ pre-kindergarten program demonstrated improved readiness for kindergarten at the start of this school year, with 54% of students reaching or exceeding benchmarks. This data is up 11 percentage points from this time last year (43%). This ranks Washington County pre-k programs 4th in the state for achieving kindergarten readiness in comparison to other public school pre-k programs.
“I greatly appreciate the hard work, determination and commitment of our pre-K staff in making this significant level of progress for our youngest learners,” says Dr. Boyd Michael, Superintendent of Schools. “These early learning experiences will have powerful long-term effects on the future success of our students. Their lives are being changed forever. Our Board has recognized the value of pre-k and has consistently supported the expansion of these efforts in recent years.”
Over the last two school years, Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) has reprioritized funding and redeployed resources to address the need for improved kindergarten readiness. In the 2016-2017 school year, 555 students attended a half-day PreK program and 180 students had access to a full-day pre-k program. That changed in 2017-2018 when 700 students attended a full-day program and 125 students were enrolled for a half-day of pre-k.
For the 2018-2019 school year, WCPS added 130 new full-day pre-kindergarten seats and extended 90 half-day program spots to a full day, offering enrollment opportunities to 945 students. This represents the largest expansion of early learning in the history of the school system and the first year that at least one full-day pre-k program is offered at each elementary site.
“I am encouraged by this progress. Clearly, the efforts made by our pre-k teachers, paraprofessionals and students along with an appropriate curriculum are getting us positive results,” adds Melissa Williams, president of Washington County’s Board of Education. “We will continue to seek resources and support so that every child has the opportunity to participate in a public pre-k program. An enriching pre-k learning experience is a worthwhile investment in the future of Washington County.”
The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment measures abilities in the areas of Social Foundations, Language & Literacy, Mathematics and Physical Well-Being & Motor Development.
To view the full 2018-2019 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Report, visit: https://bit.ly/2FSCLEx.