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Legislators Form the Committee on Early Grade Success

Author: Helios Education Founation

Recognizing the invaluable foundation children acquire in preschool and the important role that preschool education plays in kindergarten readiness, Florida legislators created the Committee on Early Grade Success within the Florida Department of Education as part of the omnibus K-12 education bill signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 15, 2017. "The State of Florida spends a significant amount of money on programs intended to prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond.  I am confident that the Committee on Early Grade Success will develop a proposal that will assist in quantifying the value of the state's investment in early education, while also bringing more accountability to the system," said Florida House Representative Erin Grall, who introduced the legislation.   

Helios Education Foundation and the Florida Children’s Council supported formation of the Committee on Early Grade Success, which also enjoyed broad support from both stakeholders and advocates integrated in early learning. The committee’s work will result in a proposal for the creation and implementation of a coordinated child assessment system for Florida’s School Readiness Program and the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program as well as outline key metrics that constitute the state’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment.

“An aligned and coordinated system of assessments is not only beneficial to educators, but to parents and their children as well,” explained Dr. Karen Ortiz, Vice President, Early Grade Success Initiatives with Helios Education Foundation. “Assessments should inform classroom instruction, align with professional development, and be relevant to the work teachers do in the early childhood classroom every day”.

According to the Florida Office of Early Learning, statewide, only 72 percent of students enter kindergarten ready to learn their first day. While some counties exceed this readiness metric, far too many do not. “A coordinated assessment system provides education leaders and policymakers with a greater understanding of which strategies and teaching methods are better preparing children for the early grades and setting them on a path toward success”, said Dr. Brittany Birken, CEO of the Florida Children’s Council.

Informed by two community convenings that centered on building assessment systems for early learners, Helios Education Foundation published a brief designed to cover the key decision points educators and state officials make when developing a comprehensive early childhood accountability system, click here to read Early Childhood Assessment Policies and Practice in the Age of Accountability.

Ensuring that high-quality instruction, provided by exceptionally skilled educators, is preparing children for success throughout their education journey is not only the Committee on Early Grade Success’ goal; it is the most valuable tool that we can share with Florida’s children. 

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