Curriculum

Summer Learning Paying Off in N.M.

By Linda Jacobson — February 23, 2005 1 min read

Kindergarten-Plus, a program designed to give academically at-risk children access to extra learning opportunities in the summers before and after they attend kindergarten, is leading to improved literacy and social skills, concludes the first evaluation of the program.

Kindergarten-Plus, a program designed to give academically at-risk children access to extra learning opportunities in the summers before and after they attend kindergarten, is leading to improved literacy and social skills, concludes the first evaluation of the program.

Conducted by the New Mexico Office of Education Accountability, the study of the program’s first year found increases in children’s ability to name letters and identify and pronounce word sounds.

The program, according to the analysis, also led to fewer children being classified as having “delayed skills” during the kindergarten year.

“This additional time has the potential impact of lessening summer learning loss for students returning to 1st grade—because of their extended kindergarten year,” the report says.

Kindergarten-Plus was originally proposed by Sandra Feldman while she was the president of the American Federation of Teachers. So far, New Mexico is the only state to implement the concept.

In 2003, the state began a three-year pilot in four districts: Albuquerque, Gadsden, Gallup-McKinley, and Las Cruces. Last school year, 260 children were served in 11 high-poverty schools. The state has used $100,000 in general funds and $300,000 in federal Reading First money per year to operate the program, now in its third year.

Several other states have also expressed interest in the model. Proposals are being considered in Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia.

The New Mexico study also makes several recommendations for sites interested in using the program, including acquiring more funding for transportation because Reading First money can’t be used for that purpose.

It also suggests improving strategies for recruiting pupils into the program, and giving districts more guidance in designing the curriculum.

A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 2005 edition of Education Week

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