- STEM Academy
Kindergarten Readiness makes another double-digit jump
It’s 57. Ector County ISD’ Kindergarten Readiness score for fall 2022 is now 57%, eleven points higher than last year’s score and 24 percentage points higher than the score two years ago. Kindergarten Readiness is one of ECISD’s strategic priorities, and it is a key measure of success for the community, too.
“This is remarkable progress over the past two years, especially when you consider it started during the pandemic,” said ECISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Muri, “I am incredibly proud of our team for making the commitment to our littlest learners and carrying it out to this type of success. It is life-changing for many children.”
Kindergarten students are assessed each year after Labor Day. ECISD uses the more rigorous of the two state-approved readiness tests that evaluate phonics and listening comprehension.
“We really focus on two areas to gauge kindergarten readiness,” said ECISD Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Lilia Nanez. “One area is academic: can students say or sing the alphabet, can they recognize letters that are out of order, identify words that rhyme, count to 10; or even hold a pencil or use scissors to cut paper. Things like that.
“The second area is non-academic: how to follow simple instructions, how to take care of personal hygiene like going to the restroom, how to take turns and how to cooperate with other children,” Dr. Nanez added.
When Dr. Muri arrived in 2019, he talked with teachers, parents, students and community members. He poured over data. One of his discoveries was an alarmingly low Kindergarten Readiness rate in the 30s. In his words, about two-thirds of our students were starting the journey toward high school graduation well behind their peers. While a larger solution for early childhood literacy would require support from the entire community, school district leaders quickly determined two courses of action that needed to be taken. First, expand the existing pre-kindergarten program from a half-day to a full-day of school; that began with the 2020-21 school year. Second, make plans to begin a district-wide, half-day pre-k program for three-year-olds. That started in 2021-22.
The three-year-old program includes an innovative partnership with the Odessa Family YMCA which operates a pre-k center in one of its facilities. Currently, ECISD has 470 students enrolled in three-year-old prekindergarten, and more than 1,400 in the four-year-old program.
“A high-quality pre-k experience lays the foundation for future academic success,” said Dr. Muri. “We want our Ector County parents to be assured ECISD is offering that high-quality experience for their children.”
About Ector County ISD
Ector County ISD serves more than 33,000 students across the 900 square miles of Odessa and surrounding communities in Ector County, Texas, and is rated a “B” school district by the Texas Education Agency. Believing OUR Students are THE Future, the mission of Ector County ISD is to inspire and challenge every student to be prepared for success and to be adaptable in an ever-changing society. ECISD was founded in 1921 and is now into its second century of developing leaders for Odessa, the State of Texas and beyond.