"Is my child ready for kindergarten?" This is a question every parent asks as their child celebrates their fifth birthday and is heading to kindergarten. Early childhood professionals and school district administrators and teachers have begun to work together to design a system in our county that will help parents answer this question with a confident "Yes!"
To help introduce this new early-learning initiative, the Clatsop County Juvenile Department and local partners are hosting a free two-day training program June 26-27 at the Shilo Inn in Seaside.
In response to Gov. John Kitzhaber's initiative to help ensure school readiness and future success for Oregon's young children, particularly for those most at risk of failing to thrive, a team of early childhood educators and local school staff have started the work to build an aligned system from prenatal through Grade 3 in Clatsop County.
The schools are working hard to prepare students to meet the new high standards contained in the Common Core State Standards. While doing this work, schools acknowledge that getting our students ready to meet these standards starts long before children enter kindergarten – prenatally – so alignment of services for children and families from prenatal through Grade 3 is essential.
This team, through the Connect the Dots collaboration which includes representatives from local school districts, Headstart, community preschools and the NW Regional ESD, worked with the County Juvenile Department to secure funds to expand their efforts. Utilizing funds from the Clatsop County Commission on Children and Families, the June 26-27 training event is being sponsored to get the entire community working toward the goal of P-3 alignment.
Co-authors and national trainers of "Making a Difference: 10 Essential Steps to Building a PreK- 3 System," Linda Sullivan-Dudzic, Donna Gearns and Kelli Leavell will lead the training, which will develop strategies for our community to use to build a strong Pre-school to 3rd grade system of support with alignment and agreements on what quality education looks like in our community.
Linda Sullivan-Dudzic has spent the past 30 years connecting early childhood to K-12 to the higher education system. Currently she is the special programs director for Bremerton (Wash.) School District, supervising and working with principals to develop P-3 and P-8 schools.
Donna Gearns is an Early Childhood Instructional Coach for Bremerton School District. She is responsible for bringing early childhood community providers together for professional development. She also works as the Assistive Technology Specialist PreK-12 for the district.