DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock, City Councilman Paul Lopez (Dist. 3), Denver Public Schools (“DPS”), Metropolitan State University of Denver, and The Denver Education Compact today launched Countdown to Kindergarten, a program designed to create an effective and seamless transition from preschool to kindergarten for children in Southwest Denver.
The Mayor addressed teachers, parents and families of preschoolers from across Southwest Denver at Pascual Le Doux Academy and explained how the program will help create effective transitions for some of Denver’s youngest residents as they move between preschool and kindergarten.
“It has always been my goal to create a community where every child from every neighborhood in Denver has the opportunity to succeed,” Mayor Hancock said about the program. “Countdown to Kindergarten will prepare our youngest students for the critical transition between preschool and kindergarten so that they can start school off ready to learn and ready to read. This will give them the best opportunity for academic success in kindergarten and down the road.”
An initiative of The Denver Education Compact, Countdown to Kindergarten will support nine DPS elementary schools, the Pascual Le Doux Academy (DPS’s new center for early childhood education) and three community preschools. A calendar of activities includes workshops that assist parents with choosing the right school for their children as well as activities to help prevent summer learning loss.
School principals, community preschool directors, and preschool and kindergarten teachers will come together for joint workshops to improve communication across preschool and elementary school systems, align expectations about what it means to be “kindergarten ready,” and develop concrete activities for teachers to use in their classrooms to ensure effective transitions. Teachers will also participate in classroom exchanges.
Along with Mayor Hancock, speakers at today’s event included Councilman Lopez, Dr. Stephen Jordan, President of Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Antonio Esquibel, Director of the West Denver Network Schools within DPS. Terry Bower, Director of The Denver Education Compact, introduced the program.
By improving the transition into kindergarten, targeted students will be better positioned for academic success and more likely to become proficient readers by third grade. Research has shown that students who are proficient in reading by third grade maintain greater academic achievement and are four times more likely to graduate from high school than their peers who have already fallen behind.
“Study after study has shown that the more prepared students are for kindergarten, academically, emotionally and behaviorally, the better they will perform in school,” Bower said. “Preschool to kindergarten is a big transition and it is our responsibility to ensure that it is an effective one.”