–Shirley Esau, Principal at Washington Elementary School
As you begin your TK planning, there are many aspects of implementation for your district to consider. Your first step in this effort is to get all your key stakeholders together to develop your TK program. Here you can find practical information and tips for your team on key aspects of planning, particularly funding, communications, operations, supporting teachers, assessment and family engagement.
Below is some information to get you started.
Funding for transitional kindergarten: It’s probably the first question on your mind as you begin planning for TK. Rest assured, your district will receive the same full California Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding rate for TK students that you receive for all kindergarten students. In addition to core ADA funding, you also have other funding sources that can support your TK classrooms. Learn more in the funding section.
An effective communications strategy will ensure that families know about transitional kindergarten and its benefits, and ultimately encourage them to register their children for this exciting, new opportunity. With the right communications game plan, your district should have a successful start to the year ahead as children fill up the classroom. For example, work with your Public Information Office to develop a set of materials and message points that can articulate the benefits of transitional kindergarten. These materials can be distributed to school board members, administrators, teachers and staff (including front office staff) to ensure consistent messaging on the benefits of TK. Learn more in the communications section.
The operations planning aspect of TK includes facilities, classroom configuration, staffing and scheduling and more. Having a solid advisory committee on your side will help your district consider the many aspects of designing a successful TK program for the young learners in your area. Forming a TK planning team with key stakeholders, as many districts and County Offices of Education have done, helps to guide and assist TK implementation as well as build partnerships for ongoing support. Learn more in the operations section.
Supporting teachers is critical to creating a quality TK experience for children and building a successful transitional kindergarten program. As one of the first steps, it is important to determine the professional development needs of your TK teachers. Some districts recommend beginning professional development with visiting a high-quality preschool program to provide examples of teaching young learners. Learn more in the supporting teachers section.
Assessments, including formative assessments, play a critical role in providing your teachers the information they need to support student progress in TK, no matter where they are on the continuum of learning. Assessments, such as performance-based, informal or authentic assessments, help TK teachers monitor the progress of their students and tailor the instructional program to meet individual student needs. Observations and checklists give TK teachers important information about their students’ abilities. There are a variety of assessments that can be used to support teaching and learning. Learn more in the assessments section.
TK offers an important opportunity to build a foundation for strong family-school partnerships that support student learning both in the home and in the classroom. When parents feel welcome and their family and cultural assets are recognized in school, these actions pave the way for productive communication that leads parents to support and advocate on behalf of their children and their schools. Examples of family engagement strategies include: creating a warm environment that helps families feel welcome in the school community; including a home survey to better understand the assets of your student’s families; and initiating positive conversations with families at the beginning of the school year. Learn more in the family engagement section of the website.