Friday, April 11, 2014

Kindergarten Summit

On March 21, 2014, Somerville Public School District hosted the third annual Kindergarten Summit.  All surrounding preschool providers (including Somerville preschool educators) were invited to visit district Kindergarten classrooms for a day of articulating, highlighting best practices, and sharing Kindergarten expectations.  Mrs. Joanne Sung, the district's PreK-5 Curriculum/Preschool Supervisor, spearheaded the event.

This Kindergarten Summit was highlighted as a best practice in October 2013 at the New Jersey School Boards Association Workshop by Dr. Vincent Costanza.  
The program's outcomes are as follows:
to share "best practices" to advance the academic achievement of Somerville students
to communicate expectations for Kindergarten
to articulate effective components (and areas of weaknesses) of preschool programs

Tony Wagner in his book Creating Innovators says, "The culture of schooling in America celebrates and rewards individual achievement, while offering few meaningful opportunities for genuine collaboration." In many ways, the intent of the Summit embodies the spirit of Wagner's words.  It is an attempt to bridge the physical boundaries that separate our institutions and provide for a continuity of focus.  Ultimately, each provider was there for the same reason - to improve early childhood education for Somerville students. 

All attendees received a professional development certificate for the hours of service and a copy of Tony Wagner's book Creating Innovators.  Keynote Speaker, Lisa Della Vecchia, presented on the following topics:

What is Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood?
Community, Provider and School District Collaboration
Fostering Critical, Cultural Competence in the Classroom

Feedback from the Summit was overwhelmingly positive.  Kathleen Governale, Director of the Giving Nest Preschool, stated "I wish there were more school districts that would offer similar programs.  It really is great to show the preschools in the area what your Kindergarteners are doing and to speak to the teachers."  We thank Kathleen Governale and the rest of the providers for attending the event.  We will see you next year!

Joanne Sung, PreK-5 Curriculum/Preschool Supervisor, addresses Summit attendees

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