Expanded Early Education and Health Coverage Opportunities for the New School Year
New developments in early childhood education during this back-to-school season in Los Angeles County include the creation of Los Angeles Unified School District’s new Expanded Transitional Kindergarten program and ALL IN For Health – an outcome of California Assembly Bill 2706 – which requires public schools to provide information to families about health coverage opportunities.
Expanded Transitional Kindergarten Launched
Children who turn 5 after December 2, 2015, may now be eligible for a preschool program at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), called the Expanded Transitional Kindergarten program.
The Expanded TK program is a six-hour, 180-school-day preschool program that prepares children for kindergarten. Expanded TK follows the same time schedule as other elementary classrooms. The school day will revolve around opportunities for students to gain foundational language, literacy skills, and experience hands-on play that foster curiosity and practice in problem solving.
This past June, Governor Jerry Brown approved a clarification in the law that allows transitional kindergarten (TK) programs, designed for youngsters who turn 5 between September 2 and December 2, to now allow younger children to enroll in the program, as long as districts cover the cost of care. Once the child turns 5, he or she will draw downstate Average Daily Attendance funds, an important step toward making funding for early childhood education sustainable.
“A throbbing toothache or poor eyesight can make it impossible for a child to learn.” - Jenny Kattlove
LAUSD is ending its 35-year-old School Readiness Language Development (SRLDP) program and replacing it with this Expanded TK program, which will target low-income children in 117 classrooms this year and 173 next year, and will retain many SRLDP attributes, including use of a preschool curriculum and parent education. The Expanded TK program will begin on the same day as the start of the new school year, August 18.
“We are pleased that LAUSD is continuing to champion its youngest learners with the implementation of the expanded TK program,” said Tessa Charnofsky, Government Affairs Manager at First 5 LA. “A high-quality preschool program will prepare children to do well in school, will introduce parents to their local schools and will reinforce parents’ critical role in supporting their children’s education.”
Back-to-School Outreach Effort Helps Inform Families About Health Care Options
The ALL IN For Health Campaign is gearing up to make outreach and enrollment for health coverage part of 2015 back-to-school activities. Beginning in the 2015 school year through 2018, California Assembly Bill 2706 requires public schools to provide information to families about health coverage opportunities.
“The number-one reason why this is important is because children and families need health coverage to learn and succeed in life, and schools are an especially effective place to educate families about those health care options,” said Jenny Kattlove, Senior Director of The Children’s Partnership, which operates the ALL IN For Health Campaign. “A throbbing toothache or poor eyesight can make it impossible for a child to learn.”
ALL IN is connecting with schools to provide resources for back-to-school events, Kattlove said, including flyers, bookmarks and connections to enrollment counselors who can help sign up families and individuals for affordable health coverage options available through Covered California and Medi-Cal.
To access the bookmarks, flyers, and other tools and to learn more, visit www.AllInForHealth.org or call (916) 844-2413.
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