Work done early has an impact: Carroll County’s kindergarten readiness numbers stay steady, rank 3rd in state

The percentage of kindergartners coming into Carroll County Public Schools showing the skills and behaviors necessary to start school is among the best in Maryland and has remained relatively steady, although the number of unprepared Carroll kids rose.

According to the most recent Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) results, released this week, 59% of Carroll County students demonstrated readiness. Last year, the percentage of Carroll students demonstrating readiness was 61%. It was 59% the year before that.


This year, Carroll ranks third in the state among the 23 counties and Baltimore City in terms of readiness. Throughout Maryland, the average rate was 47%.

The assessment has two more categories, with 28% of CCPS students “approaching readiness” — meaning they show some of the behaviors and skills being assessed — while 13% showed “emerging readiness,” meaning they show minimal skills and behaviors.


For Carroll, the number in that third category was up significantly from a year ago, when only 9% showed “emerging readiness.” While that’s only 4 percentage points, it’s a 44% increase.

The assessment is meant to measure skills and behaviors in Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Social Foundations, Physical Well-Being and Motor Development. Kindergarten teachers gave the assessment between the beginning of the school year and Oct. 10, 2019.

“There is information out there about when we invest dollars in quality early childcare programs, we do see a return on that for our families. Better education, health, social and economic outcomes," Supervisor of Early Childhood Education Pamela Meyers, said. “The work that ... we do early, has an impact on the future.”

CCPS uses the numbers to assess its own programming and work better with agencies in the community. Pre-kindergarten programs through CCPS are grant-funded for children with income-based need.

There is an Early Childhood Advisory Council in CCPS that is made up of parents, educators, childcare providers, higher education representatives, Human Services programs of Carroll County members, the Carroll County Health Department and others.

They look at the KRA data to improve how well their programs respond to kids needs before kindergarten, Meyer said. They look at things like curriculum planning and allocation of resources.

But the results also let them know what programs or interventions are needed in kindergarten and later years for students who aren’t meeting the readiness mark.

For all students who take the KRA, the results are shared with their parents.

Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) gives the assessment to a representative sample of students in most of its elementary schools. In Maryland, some systems administered the KRA to all kindergarten students and some administer in certain schools or in a sample group. According to MSDE, about 65% of all Maryland kindergartners were assessed.

In the four CCPS schools with a Judy Center, all students are assessed. Judy Centers provide several services for families with kids aged birth through kindergarten, including child care assistance, health screenings, parenting classes and case management.

In the recommendations from the Kirwan Commision, which are working their way through the current session of the Maryland General Assembly in the form of bills, there is a focus on early care.

Meyer said if the recommendations are implemented, for CCPS and several of the childcare organizations that they partner with, that means applying for grant funds to expand all-day pre-K programs.


It’s not mandatory, but, “Down the road, they’re really looking at providing this this opportunity for more and more families,” Meyer said.

For example, last year CCPS had two full-day programs and this year they have four.

“We certainly are seeing the impact,” Meyer said. “Kindergarten teachers do report that the children that are having those experiences are coming more prepared to their classrooms.”

Maryland data

In the state overall,the percentage of kindergartners demonstrating readiness stayed about consistent from the year before. In addition to the results finding that 47% percent of students began the year demonstrating readiness, 32% are approaching with the other 21% in the third category.

Worcester had the highest percentage of students demonstrating readiness at 64%. Somerset (63%) was the only other school system ahead of Carroll. Prince George’s County ranked last at 35%.

State results showed gaps between the general population and English Learners and students with disabilities. 18 percent of English learners demonstrated readiness and 19 percent of children with disabilities demonstrated readiness.

More information about kindergarten readiness and the results can be found at earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org and at www.readyatfive.org.

Kindergarten registration

Kindergarten registration week for CCPS takes place March 9-13 as parents and guardians prepare for the 2020-2021 school year.

Enrollment in kindergarten is mandatory for children who will be five years of age on or before Sept. 1, 2020. More information is available at www.carrollk12.org or by contacting the principal of the elementary school in the area where the child lives.

According to a news release from CCPS, several documents are needed to register: the child’s birth certificate or other legal document to verify their child’s legal name and birth date; verification of residence such as a current utility bill (Ex: gas, electric, water) or a current lease agreement that includes the service address with house number, and street name; specific address from which the child will be transported to school and the specific address to which the child will be transported after school.

Immunization records must be completed and returned to the school prior to the start of the school year.

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