Dorchester kindergarteners show gains

submitted to dorchester banner/superintendent’s office DCPS Coordinator of Early Childhood Education Donna Greenleaf with pre-kindergarteners at Maple Elementary School.

submitted to dorchester banner/superintendent’s office
DCPS Coordinator of Early Childhood Education Donna Greenleaf
with pre-kindergarteners at Maple Elementary School.

CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2017 showed the largest percentage-point increase in school readiness over the previous year of any Maryland jurisdiction, according to data made public by the Maryland State Department of Education. Results from Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) released recently showed that 44 percent of the county’s kindergarteners demonstrated readiness, up from 28 percent in 2016. The Maryland state average is 45 percent.

Incoming kindergarteners were assessed for readiness in four areas, all of which showed increases in Dorchester County. Readiness in physical well-being and motor development was 65 percent, up from 44 percent last year. Sixty-four percent demonstrated readiness in social foundations, opposed to last year’s 48 percent. Language and Literacy readiness is now 38 percent, increasing from 27 percent in 2016. Mathematics readiness showed the smallest growth, 26 percent versus 22 percent last year.

However, the data also indicates important gaps in readiness. While 66 percent of white children demonstrated kindergarten readiness, the figure was significantly smaller for minority children: 33 percent for Asian children, 29 percent for Hispanic/Latino children, and 28 percent for African-Americans. Poverty was also an important factor, with 59 percent of children from mid- and high-income households showing readiness versus 32 percent of children from low-income households.

Dr. Diana Mitchell, superintendent of Schools for Dorchester County, said, “Children are not responsible for their own poverty. Education is a marathon event and if each child is going to have an equal chance at success it’s necessary that they begin the race at a fair starting line. We will continue to collaborate with families to ensure all children have the best opportunity for academic success from the very beginning.”

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