Interpretation's Date: July 28, 2005
by superintendent Steven L. Paine
Section: IV. Students

Michael Welty, President Marion County Board of Education
200 Gaston Avenue
Fairmont, W.Va. 26554 July 28, 2005

Re: Delayed Kindergarten start

Dear Mr. Welty,

I am in receipt of your letter requesting a Superintendent's Interpretation concerning delayed attendance for kindergarten students, where specifically, you asked the following:

"Given the emphasis on the 180 days of instruction, is the arrangement of a delayed start for kindergarten students still an allowable practice?"

Although W.Va. Board Policy 2520.15, Early Learning Standards Framework Content Standards and Learning Criteria for West Virginia Pre-Kindergarten (WV Pre-k) mainly addresses the pre-kindergarten aged children, it includes and incorporates the Early Learning Standards Framework, which:

". . . is intended to guide practitioners in offering high quality early education environments that are responsive to individual children and maximize learning and skill development. Using this standards framework, educators can plan high quality learning experiences designed to promote school readiness skills for all children, including children with disabilities . . . The Early Learning Standards Framework is considered an integral part of an inter-related comprehensive curriculum and assessment system as defined by WVDE Policy 2525." In addition, "the standards are designed to serve as early learning guidelines for all children ages three through five regardless of the setting." (emphasis added) In applying the Early Learning Standards Framework, the Social & Emotional domain identifies four standards, each with Performance Indicators and Experiences. The Performance Indicators are the following : Self Concept
Makes positive statements about self Expresses pride in accomplishments
Adjusts to new situations
Demonstrates appropriate trust in adults Recognizes and expresses feelings in socially appropriate ways Demonstrates independence
Acts out roles by imitating typical actions associated with the roles Social Relationships
Demonstrates affection in socially appropriate ways Expresses empathy or caring for others Demonstrates respect for others and their property Plays cooperatively
Sustains interactions with peers
Maintains an ongoing friendship with at least one other child Uses words and actions to assert self in socially acceptable ways Uses and accepts negotiation, compromise, and discussion to resolve conflicts Accepts guidance and directions from a variety of familiar adults Recognizes and respects appropriate authority Follows basic routines and rules for play and group participation. Knowledge of Family and Community Understands and describes the interactive roles and relationships among family members
Identifies and describes the roles and relationships of community members Understands similarities and respects differences among people, such as genders, race, special needs, cultures, language, and family structures Identifies themselves as a member of groups within a community Identifies and describes locations and places in their environment Approach to Learning
Participates in classroom activities Makes independent choices
Initiates and extends activities
Approaches tasks and activities with flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness Persists in and completes tasks, activities, projects, and experiences Maintains increasing concentration over a reasonable amount of time despite distractions, and interruptions
Recognizes and solves problems through active exploration, including trial and error and interactions with peers and adults
Acknowledges accomplishments positively In addition, a delayed start for kindergarten students at the beginning of the school year aligns itself with W.Va. Board Policy 2525, West Virginia's Universal Access to a Quality Early Education System, which states, in part, through §12,Transition and Continuity:
12.1. Each program participating in the county plan must have a written and implemented plan for transitioning children into WV Pre-k and out of WV Pre-k into kindergarten. At a minimum the plan will include: 12.1.1. an opportunity for the child and his/her family to visit the setting into which the child is transitioning.
12.1.2. written information to parent/guardian and/or other family members as appropriate about pre-k or kindergarten registration and what to expect in pre-k or kindergarten.
* * * *
12.1.4. a county system for transferring assessment data, including but not limited to portfolios, for each child who has participated in a eligible program to the kindergarten teacher to assist the kindergarten teacher in identifying areas of development and areas of growth to meet the individual needs of each child. 12.1.5. policies and procedures for the transition of children with IEPs into and out of the WV Pre-k and will follow all state and federal requirements. It is my opinion that the initial experience of an incoming child into a kindergarten setting is critical for establishing the foundation for a lifetime of learning. In applying the Early Learning Standards Framework, a county's use of an orientation program for incoming kindergarten aged children is an acceptable means of providing instructional part of their day, thus, is not in conflict with the W.Va. Board of Education Policy 2510.

Hoping I have been of service, I am,



Steven L. Paine
State Superintendent of Schools


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