LAUSD to Implement Transitional K in All Elementaries

The Daily News is reporting that LAUSD is rolling out transitional K in all elementary schools this fall.  At this point there will be a lot of questions, so feel free to ask and we’ll see what answers we can get officially.

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22 thoughts on “LAUSD to Implement Transitional K in All Elementaries

  1. If the State is providing no funding, does that mean the TK kids won’t count for the per pupil allotment or simply that they won’t provide any extra funding for the program? If the former, I don’t see how LAUSD can sustain the program unless they figure they will have extra spots in all kindergarten classes and thus this will be a no-additional cost program because they can consolidate the classes and create one TK class (can’t be true – many K classrooms are already full). If the latter, then the extra students should presumably pay for the extra teacher to cover their TK class and I could see LAUSD finding a way to cover any administrative or continuing education support for teaching early learners. Knowing how LAUSD figures they will fund this is important for predicting whether a parent with a child in this situation is really going to be able to count on it being there in a few years.

    • The article provided was brief, and sadly, I’m not aware of any more local Council of Council meetings or PCAC meetings that could address the issue head on. I found it especially interesting since school projections (used to be the “roadshow,” but now it’s all done via email) were very low, and provided for very conservative numbers. The priority for TK will be those students born between November 2 and December 2–the children affected by the new cut off. But many of those children don’t enroll already. And they can’t have an entire classroom of students born during 1/12 of the year, so these students will be placed (per the article) in a current kindergarten class. So we’re going to see a ‘split’ of TK-K in a classroom. This is what moving up the age was supposed to prevent–young students enrolling who are not able to keep up or distract the rest of the class.

      Is this from the furlough day money? Who knows. Would love for the LAUSD FB person to update their status soon.

      So what do others feel?

  2. I feel that in a time of ultimate budget crisis for both California and LAUSD that we should NOT be implementing these cursory new programs. LAUSD should be focusing on improving current programs, restoring programs that have been cut, and learning from programs that work.

  3. Agree with Judy. LAUSD has serious “mission drift” and is spending too much time and energy trying to be all things to all people — preschool, adult ed, alternative school, and parenting (how much money and time is wasted on glossy flyers with cool graphics telling us to feed our children healthy meals and get them to bed?). Focus on the basics of K-12 education. Constant change and adoption of the “program du jour” is expensive and doesn’t help either.

  4. Hello, glad to find your website! Do you know anything or any resources/ websites about schools in Valencia area/Newhall school district? We are in LA County and everyone says all the public schools are great up here, the ones with the super high APIs (950+) have over 30% Asians. Not that it matters but I’ve heard some parents complain the schools just focus on pushing test scores (vs learning). Our neighborhood school we are in the boundary for is in an older area and only has an API of around 908. At the parent meeting, one of the parents literally looked like a gang banger (I’m not an idiot and lived in West LA for nine years so I know) whereas the other option is cookie-cutter McMansion type neighborhoods. The only private school is Pinecrest which is reasonable but still pricey (around $10k a year) and also heard mixed things. Legacy is a private school up here but super strictly Christian which I’m not interested in. My husband has a terrible commute so now I don’t know if I should move back to LAUSD and try to get in to a magnet or charter school or what. My child is going to start K and is very bright. Not sure what to do. Also, surprising how many people up here don’t really seem to “get” the whole idea of quality education and you meet very few people that have gone to good colleges.

  5. Our local elementary school had one of the pilot TK programs last year. We were told when we applied for Fall 2012 that since our younger daughter has a late September birthday that we would get in the program without a problem. Now that all LAUSD elem schools are rolling out TK and the date has changed, there is a 95% chance that she won’t get in even though her older sibling goes to the school. I don’t understand why the school’s website shows 24 lottery spots for TK when they supposedly are full with residents with November birthdays already. Does anyone have any suggestions for what we can do to fight this? It may be too late for me to get her back into her preschool for Pre-K next year.

  6. The question i have – will magnets and charter have TK ?? My daughter is nov 12 birthday – and i love to apply for magnet tk this year. Please advise. Thanks!

  7. Hi, just a report from the field here: I’m a parent at Franklin Elementary in Los Feliz and they did a TK in one of the kindergarten classes. Basically they picked a really strong, experienced teacher and gave her a split class with only 20 kids, and all the 4-year-olds went to her (maybe 5-7 kids). It’s been super challenging from what I hear from parents in that classroom (my son has a July birthday so he’s in a different class). At least one T-K parent I’ve spoken with was told it would be a separate classroom so she enrolled her special-needs 4-year-old with that understanding and it’s been very tough for her trying to get the services her daughter really needs – and keep her daughter’s spirits up when she has to try to keep up with older children. Interestingly, all the TK parents had to sign a paper saying that they understand that their children will automatically be required to repeat kindergarten next year. Meanwhile, there is at least one red-shirted kid in the class who started kindergarten at age 6, and a handful of the 5-year-olds came in reading already, so the teacher has a hugely diverse group in there.

    If you’re a parent who wants to do TK for your kid, I would recommend really taking a hard look before you do LAUSD, even though it’s free. Definitely do a visit first. Otherwise you might just want to do a final year of preschool or a preschool-based TK instead and wait until they can go to kindergarten the next year when they are 5. Even in the TK version of kindergarten at LAUSD it’s very academic and requires A LOT of sitting still and behavior management.

    That said, if you have a kid with a summer birthday who is at about average behavioral/academic competency levels, I don’t think there’s a huge need to red shirt them and wait to enroll until they’re six – there are many summer-birthday kids in the Franklin kindergarten who seem to be doing fine.

  8. There is wide variation in the TKs across LAUSD, so I wouldn’t necessarily assume this experience at Franklin is representative. For instance, in a number of westside elementary schools, where there were a large number of Fall birthday kids, so they created separate TKs just for those kids and the reports are generally pretty good for those classrooms, In fact, the concern now is that demand will outstrip supply and they will have lotteries in the near future even for neighborhood kids, with those who don’t get a spot being offered a slot in other area schools.

    Cynthia is right that TKs aren’t less demanding than Kindergartens in terms of behavior expectations. For the majority of fall birthday kids, that shouldn’t really be a problem though. Elementary schools in LAUSD have been handling those kids for generations under the Dec. 2 cutoff date. It’s only an issue for those parents who would have normally considered a redshirt year and think they can get away without it now that there is TK.

    • Yes, good point – the TK would be fine for a younger kid who is kindergarten-ready but is probably not a great alternative for a kid you would almost certainly redshirt anyway. Definitely worth checking out the local situation at your school – a dedicated TK would be a really different story from a split class.

  9. What if your child is of age for kindergarten but just is not ready. Is TK an option or does their birthday have to fall before Sept. 1st? My son’s birthday is Aug. 27. My husband & I had decided TK was the right decision for him but after enrolling him at school we were told he had to start kindergarten. I thought the whole point was to have a program for those children who were age appropriate but not ready for the learning pace/demands of kindergarten. What’s the difference then between pre-school, which my son went to, and TK.

    • The problem with that would be that many Trans-K classes are actually just mixed in a regular class, and at the end of the year they make the assessment as to whether they move on to first or hang out in kinder another year. Check with some private schools on their pre-K policies if you really want him in a two year kindergarten.

      Transitional Kindergarten information is here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/kinderfaq.asp and you can also call the LAUSD Educational Service Center for your area and ask for information from the Instructional Superintendent. Depending on where you live, it will be one of these four: http://notebook.lausd.net/portal/page?_pageid=33,1257463&_dad=ptl

      Good luck.

  10. In the stand-alone separate T-K classes, there often simply aren’t any spots available for kids other than those born between the new cut-off date (October this year I believe) and the old cut-off date (December 3). In popular neighborhoods with lots of young families, the class fills up with those fall birthday kids.

    The premise for T-K is consistent with your understanding — it is designed for kids who were age appropriate under the old cut-off date, but weren’t quite ready for K — but they couldn’t possibly make an individualized determination on that point for each child so they simply used bright-line age cut-offs that matched the data averages about preparedness on national and CA studies. There are kids on the other side of the line who would be ready for K, but are forced to T-K now. A bright-line rule is easier to administer, but not always accurate.

  11. Can you apply for a TK that is not in your “school bounderies” ? Also where can you get a list of schools that offer TK’s . My son will be 4 April 2014 they say he can be in kinder untill aug 2015 that means he will be 5 1/2 when he starts school since i couldnt start him mid year in april once he turns 5. any suggestions ?

  12. Hello,

    My family and I currently live in Highland Park, and have a highly gifted 4 year old who will just miss the cut off for TK in 2015-2016, he is a December Birthday. Are you aware of any options we may have in the public system? He is more than ready to start school now, so i have even more confidence that in the fall he will be ready. I have heard about mid-year enrollment in the TK program once the child reaches the age of 5, but not really sure if anyone has done this in the schools in our district.

    Thank you

    • My first thought is to contact the LAUSD HQ and ask them directly. Or call your neighborhood school and see what they can suggest. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not on an elementary campus daily anymore, so I have no idea how these programs have been implemented.

      Speaking as a parent of a highly gifted product of LAUSD (who’s now in his mid 20s), I would say to seriously consider letting your son have another year. It might not be what you want to hear, but if you wait until he’s eligible, he’ll be one of the oldest in trans-K and with that added maturity he might be able to go into first grade from trans-K rather than the 2nd year of trans-k/kindergarten (this is the carrot they’ve floated for years as this has been fully implemented). Academically/intellectually ready is a big difference from size/maturity, and worse, even if your son is ready, you will have kids who turned six over the summer in with your child in any kindergarten experience. No matter how smart, being 2+ years younger than the next kid is not ideal. My son was a November baby, and he struggled until third or fourth grade when he was finally as big as most of the boys and *always* as mature as the rest of the kids. It didn’t matter he was the first to read or how fast he could do math. My second child was a March baby, and I see the difference since she was forced to sit out. It’s all gotten so academic and test oriented, it’s really a shame.

    • Robin, we are in the same situation. I have a very smart (but probably not gifted) 4 year old girl. She is just barely starting to read, knows about 50 sight words, can count to 30 etc. She is emotionally/socially/academically ready for TK. Her birthday is December 4th (she misses the TK deadline by 2 days). I’ve also read that LAUSD can admit students once they turn 5 (but not before). I went on to read that this “rarely happens.” I’m hoping our school will allow us to do it.
      Let me know what happens for you. 🙂

      • Thank you so much for your feed back.

        Karla, I absolutely will let you know what information I find out. What is your home school? ours is Buchanan Elementary, we are hoping to transfer to a different school. We are considering private school TK program for a year if we cannot get him enrolled somewhere by this time next year. He is quickly outgrowing his preschool, so we are really needing a new alternative that gets us to his “normal” K enrollment of Fall 2016-2017.

        Good luck!

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