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East Whittier City School District set to begin 'transitional kindergarten'

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A new kindergarten model in East Whittier City School District comes on the heels of SB 1381, a new law that will save the state $700 million.

The East Whittier City School District is getting ready for a new kind of kindergarten. 

The Whittier Daily News reports that the district, like many others in the state, will no longer offer regular kindergarten classes to five-year-olds born between November 1 and November 30.

Instead, every school will offer them a three-hour class called "transitional kindergarten." Plans for the new model were approved by the Board of Education last Tuesday.

The change comes as a result of 2010's SB 1381, a new law which will ultimately keep younger kids from entering school before they're ready and save the state $700 million.

Transitional kindergarten is a "hybrid model," Assistant Superintendent of Educational Support Services Dorka Duron told the Daily News. In this case, that means it's a combination class, where the students who are too young for regular kindergarten will be in the same room as older students.

The program is intended to help students who may not yet be emotionally mature enough for a full day in school. Regular-age kindergarten students will get their normal core curriculum in the afternoon, once the younger students have gone home for the day.

Traditionally, a child's fifth birthday must come before December 1 in order to make the kinder cut-off. 

In the upcoming 2012-13 school year, their fifth birthday will need to come before November 1. For 2013-14, that date will move back one more month, to October 1, and then it will move for the last time to September 1 starting in the fall of 2014.

Between 80 and 90 kids in the district will be affected by the change in state law. There will be one transitional kindergarten class at each of East Whittier's 10 elementary schools.


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