APS Pre-K Program Performs Above State and National Assessments

Deadline to enroll in APS Pre-K Lottery for the 2014-15 school year is Feb. 27

By Kimberly Willis Green

Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) Pre-Kindergarten Program performed above both the state and national levels in the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

The CLASS tool is designed to assess the quality of prekindergarten programs. APS performed above state and national levels in the following areas:

  • Positive Climate
  • Reduction of Negative Climate
  • Teacher Sensitivity
  • Regard for Student Perspectives
  • Instructional Learning Formats

APS also performed above the state in the following areas of the 2014 CLASS assessment:

  • Behavior Management
  • Productivity

PreK

The APS Pre-K program is an age-appropriate instructional program that prepares students for a successful transition to kindergarten in a nurturing environment and addresses students’ academic, social and emotional needs. The program is funded by the Georgia State Lottery and is governed by Bright from the Start – Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and partners with Head Start, Sheltering Arms, The United Way, and The Rollins Speech School at selected locations.

“We attribute this success to increased teacher development, support and leadership provided by the APS Office of Early Learning staff and district-level leadership,” said Courtney Jones, APS coordinator of Early Learning. “Elementary school principals also view their school sites as Pre-K through 5th grade; therefore, they fully integrate Pre-K students into their total school program.” Jones added that APS Pre-K teachers were newly evaluated based on the Teacher Keys Evaluation System, which also served as a development tool to ensure high quality programming, teacher accountability and high student outcomes.

Student readiness for kindergarten is also measured by work samples which are collected by APS Pre-K teachers throughout the school year. During the 2013-14 school year, APS Pre-K students demonstrated readiness of more than 90 percent in each tested domain and outperformed the state in five out of the seven areas that were assessed:

2013-14 Results Domain Georgia Pre-K APS Pre-K
Personal & Social Development 96.3% 96.4%
Language & Literacy 94.8%  98%
Mathematical Thinking 91.5% 93.5%
Scientific Thinking 91.3% 90.9%
Social Studies 92% 96%
The Arts 93% 93.2%
Physical Development & Health 97.9% 96.7%

Using the Georgia Early Learning Developmental Standards (GELDS) which address the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of students, the APS Pre-K program offers a rich curriculum presented to students in a developmentally appropriate manner. Students engage in hands-on, authentic experiences designed to prepare them for kindergarten through high school, college and careers. These standards are aligned to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS).

APS offers 42 Pre-K classrooms at 35 school sites across the district and 24 of these sites also receive support from Head Start. Serving 876 Pre-K children each year, students and their families in these classrooms receive comprehensive services which include medical, nutrition, social services and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments. Additionally, all APS Pre-K classrooms in the district are designated as programs in Good Standing by Bright from the Start – Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. Each classroom is led by a degreed teacher and qualified teacher’s assistant.

The APS Pre-K school sites for the 2014-15 school year are:

Adamsville* Finch*
Beecher Hills* Gideons*
Benteen* Heritage Academy
Bethune* Hope-Hill
Bolton Academy* Humphries
Boyd* Hutchinson*
Burgess-Peterson Jones*
Cascade* Kimberly*
Cleveland Parkside
Connally* Perkerson*
Continental* Scott*
D. H. Stanton Slater*
Deerwood Academy Toomer
Dobbs Towns
Dunbar Usher*
Fain* Venetian Hills*
Fickett* Whitefoord
* Head Start Sites Woodson*

Enrollment in the APS Pre-K Lottery is underway now. The last day to enroll is Friday, Feb. 27. Parents and guardians can enroll for the lottery online at http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/prek. The drawing will be held Wednesday, Mar. 18, 3 p.m. at the Atlanta Public Schools Center for Learning and Leadership Auditorium, 130 Trinity Ave., SW, Atlanta, GA 30303.

About Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 106 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us

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