Valley View to Test New Pilot Kindergarten Program
State Board of Education officials have asked Valley View School District 365U to join several dozen other school districts in the state in piloting a new program designed to determine whether Illinois kindergarten students are developing the kinds of skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school.
The program, Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS,) involves subjective assessments by trained teachers that will eventually lead to a comprehensive statewide kindergarten readiness assessment process.
“Great districts like ours already have some good things in place, so we were a natural match for the state to ask us to participate,” said Valley View Early Childhood Center Principal Donna Nylander, who is a member of Governor Quinn’s Early Learning Council. “They’re looking to us to give them a lot of feedback.”
Eleven kindergarten classes throughout VVSD are participating in KIDS. The teachers in those classrooms were trained in time to launch the program in the fall. Several district administrators also took part in the training.
Using the KIDS guidelines, students are observed and evaluated on 50 subjective measures three times during the school year. The evaluations are in addition to, and do not interfere with, VVSD’s MAP assessments or the district’s Benchmark Literacy program.
“We’re really going to give life to this and tell the state what’s working and what’s not working so when it’s launched statewide in every school district in 2015, our input will help kindergarten teachers across the state,” Nylander said. “Because we’re in it on the ground floor, we’ll already be real comfortable with the program. We’ll be a model for other school districts.”