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San Luis Coastal District to expand TK for young students

SLOCUSD to expand TK classes
Posted at 12:23 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 15:26:42-04

Summer is just beginning, but schools are already preparing for next fall.

At San Luis Coastal Unified School District, they are making way for more Transitional Kindergarten classes, abbreviated TK. The coming 2022-2023 school year is the first phase of the process.

“It's the first year of a two-year kindergarten program is what the state's calling it. And we want to give kids every opportunity to be successful academically and socially," Rick Mayfield, the Director of Elementary Learning and Achievement at the district, told KSBY, "And so having them a year before kindergarten is a huge benefit.”

In July 2021, the State of California passed AB 130, a measure which will guarantee universal TK for four-year-olds.

The district instituted TK when they moved the birthday requirement to begin kindergarten. A child with a birthday between September and December was directed to TK ahead of kindergarten.

Mayfield says the eligibility requirements are set to expand in the coming years.

“This coming school year, we're going to extend the date from December 2nd to February 2nd, and then the following year it will extend until April 2nd, and so on, until all four-year-olds are in basically preschool,” said Mayfield.

For the 2021-2022 school year, San Luis Coastal District had about 1,340 students in TK. Looking ahead to next year, they have about 184 students registered so far. District officials think the increase in enrollment is due to more access.

Mayfield says that the district's goal is to eventually have the same number of transitional kindergarten classes as traditional kindergarten classes.

“So we're adding a new grade level to every elementary school over the next three years,” Mayfield explained.

The district plans to build about five more classrooms to accommodate the classes.

TK is free. The district's plan is to have class in session from 8:25 a.m. until 2:50 p.m., so the schedule lines up with the other classes.

The district will also have childcare options for parents before and after TK hours.

Enrollment in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes is optional for families, the California Department of Education says. Students must be enrolled in school when they turn six years old.