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2020 kindergarten readiness rates released

  • Mar 03, 2021
  • Shannon Nickinson
Children reading Children reading
Slow and steady wins the race they say.

That’s what we hope we are seeing in the 2020 release of kindergarten readiness scores for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

In early 2021, the Florida Department of Education released annual kindergarten readiness rates. These rates are determined by testing done with kindergartners within the first 45 days of school. 

The test tracks a child’s early reading and math skills — letter awareness, phonetic awareness, shape and color recognition, counting, comparing, grouping and spatial awareness skills. 

The results showed a modest increase for Escambia County’s children up 1 percentage point to 48 percent of our children being “ready” and possessing a solid foundation in those skills to help them be ready to learn to read, count and more.
The new data also brings with it some questions about what the full picture of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on our children’s school readiness.

  • Nearly 550 fewer kids in Escambia County took the test this fall than last year. Statewide, there’s a drop as well in the number of children tested. The kindergartners who did remote school this fall are not counted in this data.
  • In 2020, 18 Escambia schools had readiness rates less than 50 percent; in 2019, it was 19 schools. All but three of those 18 schools made improvements in their readiness rates, even if they didn’t get about the 50 percent mark. 
  • Santa Rosa County saw a huge jump in their readiness rates -- and some big decreases in the number of test-takers at schools like Holley-Navarre, West Navarre and Gulf Breeze elementary schools. 

You can see the data here.  

The disruption that the pandemic caused all of us also impacted our children. And it made the work that the Studer Community Institute does even more important. Because COVID-19 showed us how important it is for parents to have resources, tips and advice in hand.

This magazine is built for two purposes. One is to share the news of what we have been able to accomplish in our mission to build an Early Learning City in Pensacola. Because we have made progress.

The second is to put tools into parents hands so that they can use them. Right where they are. 

That’s why we have added tools like the Brain Builder calendar and the chance to sign up for Basics Insights, weekly text messages that send brain development advice right to your phone.

We hope you use them -- and share them with other moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles. 

That’s the only way we will saturate our community with the knowledge that every day parents can build a child’s brain. 

We want you to use the “Three T’s” from the University of Chicago; The Basics from Dr. Ronald Ferguson at Harvard University; and the advice in the SCI Brain Bag and its video lesson.

We want every child to have a good chance for a great start. And we want to see kindergarten readiness rates next year take a big step forward. It’s how we will build a brain, build a life and build a community.

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