This initiative incorporates first-grade curriculum in kindergarten. CUSD has a full-day kindergarten and the kindergarten Language Arts program was designed for a half-day kindergarten. Teachers, at a few elementary schools in the district, experimented with teaching the entire kindergarten curriculum in the first half of the year and switching to the first-grade curriculum in the second half. They had phenomenal success! Kindergarten students were finishing the school year beginning to read, something that previously did not happen until first grade. The district has now decided to implement this curricular design at all elementary schools.
Several kindergarten teachers, under the direction of the Director of Elementary Education, designed a pacing plan that incorporates kindergarten and first-grade curriculum to be taught during kindergarten. Teachers begin phonics instruction in January instead of waiting for the first grade. When students go to first grade they will continue with the first grade curriculum. The goal is to have all students reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
Some schools are starting the first grade program from as early as October and have all year to teach the first six units –taking as much time as is needed with concepts. These students skip the first two units in first grade-moving at a faster review pace. These groups spend more time in comprehension and writing because phonics has been taught in Kindergarten.