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Kindergarten students must register, take ‘pre-assessments’

Students who will enter kindergarten in Madison City Schools need to register and then attend a “pre-assessment” to help teachers better plan for classes.

Parents must register children for kindergarten at the Central Office, 211 Celtic Drive. Hours for registration are Monday through Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration will end Aug. 9.

After registration, kindergarten teachers at each school will call parents to schedule the assessment at the child’s school. The child must go to the school for the assessment.

The screenings allow teachers to meet students individually. “It allows brand new students the opportunity to see that school is not a scary place,” at-risk coordinator Sharon Willis said.

“Pre-K screening has been part of registration for kindergarten for several years,” Willis said. However, the former assessment concentrated on vocabulary, “which did very little to tell us about a child’s emerging reading skills.”

This year, school leaders switched to STAR Early Literacy for pre-K screening. “We decided to use STAR Early Literacy this year instead of the Peabody assessments,” elementary instruction coordinator Judy Warmath said.

“STAR Early Literacy is a computer-adaptive, criterion-referenced diagnostic assessment,” she said. For pre-kindergarten through third grade, STAR measures reading skills that students are developing.

“This type of assessment is extremely beneficial to the kindergarten teacher because it allows the teacher to match her instruction to individual student needs,” Willis said. “STAR Early Literacy will allow teachers to individualize instruction and to monitor the progress of her students over time.”

Danielle Dixon, a kindergarten teacher at Heritage Elementary School, said she and her fellow teachers look forward to meeting the new students. “The kindergarten teachers at Heritage will be calling all students who are registered to schedule a pre-assessment at the school,” Dixon said. “This pre-assessment will provide the teachers with a starting point for lesson planning.”

Willis estimates that 400 to 500 kindergarten students will register for the 2012-2013 school year.

For more information, call 256-464-8370.

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