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Kelso extends transitional kindergarten application deadline

Boarding bus (copy)

Barnes Elementary School kindergartener Quinn Epperson and her mom, Erin Bybee, board a school bus to get familiar with the experience at Kelso School District's kinderpalooza event in June at Coweeman Middle School in this TDN file photo.

The application period for the Kelso School District’s new transitional kindergarten program has been extended because it still has some open slots.

The district announced the program this fall as a way to give more students an early learning experience and boost kindergarten readiness.

Transitional kindergarten is different from preschool. Students start in January and the program runs through June. Then, students enter kindergarten in September. In class, students focus on skills they’ll need in the fall — sharing, communicating, reading and writing, even basic math and science skills.

Kelso starts new early learning program to boost school readiness

The application process opened in mid-October and was set to close Nov. 5, but now is open until more applications come are submitted. Applications can be found online on the district website. The applications also are available at all Kelso elementary schools.

Sixty slots are available to Kelso students, who will be divided into four classes: two classes at Butler Acres Elementary School for students attending Coweeman Middle feeder schools, which are Butler Acres, Rose Valley, Carrolls and Wallace elementary schools; and two classes at Lexington Elementary School for students attending Huntington feeder schools, which are Lexington and Barnes elementary schools.

Each class of 15 will have a teacher and a paraeducator assigned to give students more one-on-one attention and get them engaged.

Kindergarten enrollment still open

The program is targeted at kids who have not gotten access to high quality preschool or other early learning. For example, a student who attends Head Start or the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program would stay in that program and not move to the district’s in-house program.

Students are eligible if they were not yet 5 years old by the Aug. 31, 2021, kindergarten cutoff date, but will be 5 years old by the Aug. 31, 2022 cutoff date.

Classes will start Jan. 3 and students will have access to transportation, specialists, recess, lunch and “all aspects of the school day available to kindergarten students,” according to a district press release.


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