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Switch to All-Day Kindergarten Shows Gains for Ludlow Students

The Ludlow Board of Education received good news from Mary A. Goetz Elementary principal Jason Steffen, who reported Thursday night that kindergarten testing numbers have improved in the school district.
He credited the change from half-day Kindergarten to full-day.
"I always said it would be great if we didn't have to intervene," said Steffen. "If we didn't have to play catch up with the students we could start with a level playing field. Now we can."
Steffen referred to the numbers from the 2015-16 school year, which showed that 66 percent of kindergartners in the district tested as below average, 23 percent tested as average, and only 10 percent tested highly as they prepared to enter first grade.
That meant that these young students struggled with letter recognition heading into first grade where students begin to learn to read. For 66 percent of the students, that required catching up. Math scores were equally poor.
The numbers are better now.
The number of students testing below average dropped to 36 percent for full-day kindergarten students. 25 percent tested as average and 39 percent tested above average, Steffen said.
Additionally, testing for early literacy sounds showed an increase from 68 percent of students performing at grade level to 88 percent.
Board members were very impressed.  
Other notes:
The board approved policy updates from the state following this year's legislative session. Of the roughly 25 updates, Superintendent Michael Borchers highlighted a few for the board members. One pertained to charter schools, where boards have to change their policy to be able to issue charter schools. This is more unlikely to happen in small school districts, according to Borchers, but all districts in the state had to update their policy. Another requires all students to pass a civics test, with at least 60 correct answers out of 100. Another update requires the school to report any domestic or dating violence. An update dealing with attendance and admissions relates to the homeless population. Most of the policies require small changes in the district's policy manual.
Another update changes the date for students to start kindergarten from October first to August first.
The board went into an executive session after the meeting to discuss the superintendent's evaluation. The result of the evaluation is that Superintendent Borchers was rated on seven categories: Strategic Leadership, Instructional leadership, Cultural Leadership, Human Resource leadership, Managerial Leadership, Collaborative Leadership, and Influential Leadership.  Borchers received exemplary in all categories, which is the highest of the rankings. He is currently in a three-year contract with the district.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
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