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Four exciting Kindergarten options for families beginning next school year

Kindergarten students March 2, 2020


Beginning with next school year, the Parma City School District will be offering exciting new options for incoming Kindergarten students.

Four program options are available for students and their families: Kindergarten Launch Academy, Traditional Kindergarten, STEM Project-Based Learning Kindergarten and Early Entrance Kindergarten Testing.

Each option is an all-day, free program for residents.

“The Parma City Schools are committed to meeting the needs of all learners,” PCSD Supervisor of Recruitment and Enrollment Audrey Holtzman, explained. “We understand that Kindergarten is a pivotal time in a child’s life. These programs are aimed at accommodating every type of learner.”


Kindergarten Launch Academy

Kindergarten Launch Academy is an option for parents looking for an alternative step between preschool and all-day Kindergarten. For next school year, children eligible for Kindergarten Launch Academy would turn five years old between May 1 and September 30, 2020.

The program is solely based on birthdate and parent choice. It will be held only at Green Valley and Thoreau Park Elementary Schools.

“There are some kids that are just turning five as we start the school year,” Holtzman explained. “Depending on other families’ choices for their students entering the program, a student could be entering Kindergarten with someone a year and half older than they are, which is a big difference. So, we have this giant age range from four-year-old to six-year-old students in the same class. Developmentally, socially – it doesn’t always work well for everybody. So, we understand that we need to provide something that’s an alternative to Kindergarten, but still counts as Kindergarten.”

Students in KLA will focus on ODE Kindergarten Standards, including Foundational Literacy and Math skills, problem solving, and social and emotional learning. Upon completion of Kindergarten Launch Academy, students would enter traditional Kindergarten the following school year.

“The common question is if students will be bored (the second year) doing the same things over and over again,” Holtzman asked. “No. It’s a specialized curriculum for them in KLA, versus Kindergarten. It’s not repeating the same thing over and over again.”

Parents must register for Kindergarten Launch Academy no later than May 15, 2020.

“The program is incredibly exciting, and I think it will be something the district is really recognized for doing,” Holtzman added.


Traditional Kindergarten & STEM Project-Based Learning Kindergarten

The third and fourth options are traditional Kindergarten and STEM Project-Based Learning Kindergarten, both of which have been available in previous school years. Traditional and STEM Kindergarten options are for students who turn five years old before September 30.

“Traditional Kindergarten is a bad word for that program,” Holtzman expressed. “It’s an exciting, rigorous curriculum offered at all eight of our elementary buildings. It uses ODE Kindergarten Standards and Model Curriculum, including HMH ‘Into Reading’, Math Expressions, Science Fusion and Reading Mastery as a second dose of reading intervention. There’s also social-emotional learning as well.”

STEM Project Based Learning Kindergarten is only offered at Pleasant Valley Elementary School. The program approaches learning differently than a traditional Kindergarten classroom setting.

“Students are taught in a Project-Based Learning environment,” Holtzman said. “That means they share thoughts and ideas with each other, they work as a team to reach a common goal, and they persevere together to solve problems and really take ownership of their own learning. It’s a different model than a traditional Kindergarten classroom, but they do use the same elementary curriculum.”

Parents must complete the application process to be assigned a number for the random selection process. Each PCSD elementary school building attendance zone has a number of slots available to them, based on enrollment.

The deadline to register for STEM Project-Based Learning Kindergarten is May 15, 2020.

Transportation will not be provided for families wishing to enroll their students in Kindergarten Launch Academy or STEM Project-Based Learning Kindergarten, unless the child already lives within the transportation eligibility zones of those buildings. Of course, parents may provide transportation to those buildings if their student is eligible for either program.


Early Entrance Kindergarten Testing

The Early Entrance Kindergarten program is designed to meet students’ advanced learning needs. A parent may request Early Entrance Kindergarten Testing if their child turns five years old after September 30 and before January 1.

“This is not necessarily for every child,” Holtzman explained. “This option is for a family that believes that their child can socially, emotionally, developmentally and academically compete in the Kindergarten arena as a four-year old, it is considered a grade acceleration.”

Students will be tested in accordance with Ohio Department of Education Model Policy for Academic Acceleration. Results from that test will be reviewed by an Acceleration Evaluation Committee to determine the most appropriate learning environment for the student.

For additional information about each program, including transportation, 2020 Kindergarten Registration events and to begin the online registration process, visit Parents are also encouraged to call 440-885-8334 with questions.