St. Charles Herald-Guide

Raised expectations could leave some young students playing catch up

By Michelle Stuckey - February 24, 2012

St. Charles children who plan to enter kindergarten in August will have a new list of high standards to meet.

The state’s recently-released Common Core State Standards will raise expectations for incoming kindergarten students and make the pre-school teaching they get at home and from centers even more vital.

Rachel Allemand, assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment, said that students who do not meet the new list of expectations could begin their first school year playing catch-up.

Incoming kindergarten students this fall will be expected to know all of the following core state standards:

•Speak in complete sentences

•Hold a book correctly

•Recite rhymes and children’s songs

•Identify at least 26 letters of the alphabet (upper or lower case), especially those in his or her name

•Count to 20

•Identify numerals 0-10

•Match a set of objects to the correct corresponding numeral

•Name four basic shapes

•Follow directions, simple rules and routines

•Hold and use a pencil or crayon appropriately

•Write his or her name

•Bounce, catch, kick and throw a ball

Students who do not meet these standards will be starting the school year already behind.

Allemand said that those students entering kindergarten who do not possess these skills will receive instruction in them, but not knowing these key standards could give children a heavy burden.

"Lack of readiness skills makes the kindergarten year more difficult for students as they will need to make more than a year’s progress in one school year to be then ready for first grade," Allemand said.

Ultimately, Allemand said she believes the implementation of the new standards will be good for St. Charles students.

"Our students will be taught the same standards that will be used in 44 other states," Allemand said. "Since the standards build towards achievement of the College and Career Readiness Standards, students who achieve the Common Core State Standards will be ready for college and the workforce following high school graduations."

The new standards should make students more prepared because they require the kids to be farther ahead by the end of kindergarten than previously necessary.

"At each grade level…the Common Core State Standards will also require additional learning for students," Allemand said. "For example, the current Louisiana Grade Level Expectations require students to be able to count to 20 by the end of kindergarten. The new Common Core States Standards will require students to be able to count to 100 by the end of kindergarten."

Allemand said that the new state standards make pre-kindergarten education more important than ever for St. Charles kids.

"Whether it is through the district’s 4-year-old program, daycare centers or parents who work with their children at home, the preschool years are more important than ever in providing a foundation for more advanced learning," Allemand said. "Parents and other caregivers must understand that they have important roles in providing the preschool experiences that prepare children for later success in school."

Kindergarten registration for St. Charles Parish Public Schools will be held on March 5-9 from 9 a.m. to noon at Allemands, Luling, Norco K-3, New Sarpy and St. Rose elementary schools and A.A. Songy Kindergarten Center. Registration is open to students who will be five years old by Sept. 30, 2012.

Parents must bring the child’s birth certificate, home address, mailing address, phone number, proof of residency, child’s social security card and an updated immunization record for the child.