To help ensure a successful start to the educational careers of Milwaukee Public Schools’ youngest students, all 3-, 4- and 5-year-old students attending traditional calendar schools will begin the year on a “staggered start.”
The 3-, 4- and 5-year-old students will start on one of three days – September 2, September 3 or September 4 – instead of all starting on September 2, as older students in traditional calendar schools do. And all 3-, 4- and 5-year-old students will have their second day on September 5.
Staggered start includes all students in kindergarten grades – K3, K4 and K5 – including students with special needs as well as all Head Start students.
The change allows MPS’ youngest students to start their school day in a much smaller group, providing more individual attention as children begin a critical time: the transition from home to school. Staggered start allows students to become accustomed to school procedures, allows families to meet their child’s teacher in a smaller setting and allows teachers to get to know their students and their needs more quickly.
Families will receive detailed information from schools indicating the first day of school for their kindergarten student. While MPS is committed to the staggered start to improve the first day experience for its youngest students, no students will be turned away if they arrive on a day on which they are not scheduled to attend.
“It’s critical for our youngest students to experience a positive transition from home to school and staggered start is one way we are committed to making that happen,” MPS Acting Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver said.
Staggered start is one of a number of key efforts underway as the 2014-15 school year begins. They include:
- The designation of 14 Commitment Schools to transform low-performing schools into high-performing schools through the implementation of rigorous academic and behavioral interventions with increased resources to achieve greater college and career readiness
- School support teachers in every school to help improve instruction by working directly with educators in their classrooms
- 50 new art, music and physical education specialist teaching positions in MPS schools, part of a total of 142 new such positions added over three years
- Continued implementation of the district’s Comprehensive Literacy Plan and Comprehensive Math and Science Plan, which are tied to the Common Core State Standards to set a clear, high bar for what students must master in each grade to stay on track for college and career success
- Parent coordinators in every school to build stronger relationships between families and schools
- Implementation of a new program available to schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)