Education Foundation partners with St Lucie Schools to introduce structured play to Kindergarten classes

Education Foundation partners with St Lucie Schools to introduce structured play to Kindergarten classes

 The St. Lucie County Education Foundation in conjunction with St. Lucie Public Schools, has developed a pilot program at 2 schools and then later at the remaining 24 schools (a total of 26 schools) to create a supply of 17 custom themed kits per school at a cost of $600 per kit. Each kit contains four (4) complete sets of identical items. The entire project will cost over $265,000.

Each week a classroom will receive a unique kit for role play (4 complete sets). Every day a child joins a team and plays a new role within a theme, with roles rotating throughout the week. The program will also provide a professional book study for the Professional Learning Team comprised of Kindergarten teachers, a literacy coach and a speech & language pathologist. Schools will be selected by the school district based on diagnostic testing results for reading skills. Schools indicating a higher need for improvement will be given priority placement in the program.

This is a new program for St. Lucie Public Schools. It is targeted at early intervention and is designed to enhance the early learning of Kindergarten students. Thom Jones, President of the Education Foundation states “our end goal is to make the program available at all PreK & Kindergarten classes within the next three years. Although this program is new, the school district is aware of the value of structured playful learning in the development of phonological awareness and phonics as it relates to increasing vocabulary, oral language development, and literacy. This is a time tested and universally accepted axiom.

According to Helen Wild, Chief Academic Officer at St. Lucie Public Schools, the vision is to support all Kindergarten students in the goal to read at grade level as soon as possible. One of the most important indicators of graduating from high school is reading proficiently by the end of the third grade.

The school district will track performance through the iReady diagnostic measurement platform. Measurement domains include phonological awareness, phonics, high-frequency word, vocabulary and comprehension literature placement. The results will indicate a placement summary and ranking for each school. The school district will conduct pre- and post-testing to gauge improvements within each domain for each classroom within a school. Performance measurement will take place in the Fall and Winter. We expect to see reading proficiency increase to well over 90% of students within three years.

iReady computer-based assessment platform is the tool that measures student achievement toward grade-level standards. iReady reading data will be collected three times per year. Targeted data will focus on growth in reading proficiency and vocabulary. District Curriculum personnel will be responsible for collecting and reporting iReady data. Data will be shared with literacy leaders, district leadership, and Cabinet members after each data collection period. Data will be used to align additional support to kindergarten classrooms falling below the proficiency level.

Additional data will be collected, such as attendance, tardiness, behavior, communication skills assessment, and feedback from students, parents, and teachers to measure secondary outcomes of the project.

Data will be reported to the St. Lucie County Education Foundation three times per year in alignment with data collection periods.

Ongoing financial support will come from the Education Foundations Teacher Grant program budget. This program qualifies for the State Matching Grant that provides a dollar for dollar match when funds are raised from individuals and businesses. This allows the Education Foundation to double every dollar donated for this program. Mr. Jones hopes to introduce the program to Pre-K classes in the future.



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