SAM uses a cradle-to-career approach to maximizing the impact our county-wide educational systems have along a student's Roadmap to Success. Along this pathway are natural evaluation points, also called core indicators, where we can measure individual progress and capture the county-wide perspective of how we, as a community, are strengthening the foundation upon which our children prepare for lifelong success. The indicator areas we track, are points at which assessment tools are available and utilized at local, state, and national levels: Kindergarten Readiness, Early Grades Reading, Middle Grades Math, College/Career Ready High School Graduation, Post-Secondary Enrollment, and Post-Secondary Persistence/Completion.
"Readiness for kindergarten success starts in the womb," Ida Thompson
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This is the first and arguably the most critical of the Six stages of learning for which SAM sets targets for improvement.
However, SAM is not yet in a position set school readiness and “kindergarten success” targets. Why? Because there is no consensus about what to measure. But we are getting closer. Identifying what a child needs to be able to enter school ready to absorb, retain, and utilize all the resources schools provides is essential.
There is important movement toward consensus in South Carolina, and Spartanburg County is helping to lead the way. The Mary Black Foundation, a local funder, is emerging as a critical catalyst – locally, statewide, and beyond – in assessing quality early learning experiences for children.
And…the Mary Black Foundation anchors SAM’s “School Readiness Collaborative Action Network.”
As the School-Readiness CAN formed, members soon realized that ensuring readiness meant measuring success within the first stage of introduction to the formal educational system: kindergarten. So now, their work, continues as the Kindergarten Success CAN, also known as KSCAN. Their efforts are affecting the development of new learning environments, connecting updated quality assessments to early education centers preparing children for kindergarten, and reaching into the structure of our statewide educational system, its function, oversight, and effectiveness to ensure the success of each child.