Children Ready for Kindergarten
The City of San Francisco’s innovative “Preschool for All” program has made significant gains since the program was implemented. Evidenced by the numbers reported by ASR, a significant proportion of preschool-aged children in the Mission are enrolled in preschool. Although the number reported for Latino and white children are greater than those reported for San Francisco Unified as a whole, we see the bifurcated nature of opportunity structures within the neighborhood, with white children attending preschool at a slightly higher rate than Latino children.
Despite the high numbers of attendance, kindergarten readiness is a concern at both MPN target elementary schools. None of the entering kindergartners at Bryant elementary scored above the 50th percentile in their Brigance screening and only 8% of kindergarteners at César Chávez did. The majority of entering students at both schools scored in the bottom quartile, 79% at Bryant and 68% at César Chávez respectively. If you consider Brigance scores in the bottom half to indicate children who are unprepared for Kindergarten, then the overwhelming majority of MPN kindergarteners are not school ready, approximately 95% for both target schools combined. The Brigance scores are supported from findings from SFUSD’s School Readiness report showing low levels of academic readiness among students living in the Mission and surrounding locales compared to students in San Francisco as a whole. While these figures are alarming, our Brigance analysis indicates that kindergarteners at MPN target schools perform even worse than other Mission children.
The Brigance Screen II is a criterion-referenced assessment used by the San Francisco Unified School District to assess student development in key areas identified as indicators for success in Kindergarten or Grade 1. The areas assessed are those that early childhood research, teacher input, and field-testing have identified as having the greatest predictive validity for success in these early grades, including: physical development (preambulatory, gross and fine-motor skills), language development, academic/cognitive skills (literacy and mathematical concepts), and children’s daily living ability, including the levels of social and emotional development. The Brigance data shown here are for kindergarteners in MPN target schools only. An overall portrait of school readiness is also provided for the Mission and compared with city-wide figures for San Francisco. This data was collected as part of an assessment conducted by Applied Survey Research (ASR) in conjunction with SFUSD and First 5 San Francisco, to determine the Kindergarten readiness of children entering school in the fall of 2009 as well as preschool attendance for children district-wide.