Pre-K And Kindergarten Teachers Convene To Boost Student Preparedness

Friday, July 11, 2014

Two hundred and fifty Hamilton County school administrators, pre-K and kindergarten teachers will gather on Tuesday to learn more about how to help students develop the skills they need to get a successful start in school.  The first  Pre-K/Kindergarten Institute will meet from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the University Center on the campus of UTC.

Educator Jonathan Fribley will be the keynote speaker.  Mr. Fribley is a long-time early educator, coach and mentor from St Cloud, Mn., who leads professional development focused on young children’s language and literacy development, adult-child interaction, and children’s thinking.   Mr. Fribley recently joined the Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota and is in the last year of a 4-year early literacy project with the United Way of Miami.  He believes, as Garrison Keillor says, “Nothing you do for a child is ever wasted.” 

“Kindergarten is where students really start to read,” says Becky Coleman, director of Literacy for Hamilton County schools.  “We are using data from Read 20’s Kindergarten Screening Tool to help us assess what students know and don’t know so that we can target our instruction to the needs of students.  We want every student to be successful, and this is the way to make that happen.”  

The Hamilton County Department of Education and Read 20 worked together to develop the innovative and much–needed Kindergarten Screening Tool to determine how well a child is prepared as he/she enters kindergarten. The screening tool is research-based and uses a holistic approach including all developmental domains: language, cognition, fine motor, gross motor and social/emotional. 

It measures age-appropriate academic skills – for instance, can the student rhyme two words like “cat” and “hat” – but also measures whether a student can stand on one foot or take turns talking in a conversation.

“Skills like these provide the basis for success in school,” says Shawn Kurrelmeier-Lee, Hamilton County’s chief reading officer.  “Gross and fine motor skills are important for holding pencils and drawing letters, and social skills are important for listening and successful classroom interactions.”  

Most four-year-olds will not have mastered all of these skills, but the more skills they know, the easier it will be to master the all-important task of learning to read, said officials.

Aggregate data from two years of using the Kindergarten Screening Tool will give teachers at the Institute an idea of overall student preparation, and will help pre-k teachers know what they need to work on before they pass their students on to kindergarten classrooms.

"The Kindergarten Screening Tool has proven to be a unique and valuable resource,” says Ms. Kurrelmeier-Lee, who reports getting requests from all over the country for copies of it.

In addition to assessment, other topics covered at the Kindergarten Institute will include Guided Reading; Shared Reading/Room Arrangement/Purposeful Practice and Writer’s Workshop.  

The Pre-K/Kindergarten Institute is an outgrowth of the Scenic City Literacy Conference and continues a partnership between Read 20, Hamilton County schools, and UTC.  This year, the United Way of Greater Chattanooga is joining the partnership as well.

Read 20 is a public/private partnership promoting literacy skills for early childhood, in an effort to create a community of readers, and in support of Hamilton County's community literacy goals. Since it was created in 2006, Read 20 has distributed 492,702 books,  interacted with over 290,991 children, confirmed at least 47,401 adults reading with children every day and provided resources and training for 2,919 teachers in area public schools and day cares.

Dalton State Participates In Project SEARCH

For some disabled adults, gaining work experience and training is a challenge.  But with Project SEARCH, several participants have found it easier at Dalton State College. Dalton State has partnered with Cross Plains Community Partner, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, and the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities for an employment training program for ... (click for more)

Percussion Composition Contest Honors Winners

The Lee University Percussion Composition Contest honored three emerging composers: Sean Sweeden (first place), Connor Shafran (second place) and Lucas Garner (third place). Mr. Sweeden, who is from Morrilton, Arkansas, won $1,000 for his composition, titled “The Clearing.”  Mr. Shafran’s composition was called “Film for the Lonely,” and the Richmond, Ky. native won a prize ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)