Kindergarten Initiative Earns Leadership for Learning Award

February 15, 2002
The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Comprehensive Kindergarten Initiative has been selected as one of three national winners of a Leadership for Learning Award from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). The awards were presented on February 14th at the association’s annual meeting in San Diego, California. The winners also were featured in a panel discussion titled, “Three Award Winning Programs That Raise Student Achievement.”

The design of the Comprehensive Kindergarten Initiative includes a more rigorous kindergarten curriculum, intensive training for teachers, expanded instructional time, ongoing assessment of student progress, and increased parent involvement. The program also includes expansion of full-day kindergarten and reduced class size (15:1 student-teacher ratio) into schools with high rates of students living in poverty and/or learning English (currently 34 schools).

First-year findings of a reading skills study of more than 8,000 kindergarten students showed that more than 80 percent of the students achieved at least foundational reading skills by the end of the 2000-2001 school year, and 69 percent had demonstrated the more advanced task of reading text material. Some of the greatest gains were made by students who are English language learners or in low-income families.

Three Leadership Awards are presented by AASA each year, recognizing programs that increase student achievement. Each of the winners received a commemorative sculpture and $4,000 to help support continued efforts to improve academic opportunities for students.

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