PRESS RELEASE - May 16, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

SDE Approves 78 New Full-Day Kindergarten Literacy Readiness Programs for 2003-2004

(Santa Fe, NM)— The New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) announced today that 80 percent of kindergarten students in New Mexico’s public schools will be provided with full-day kindergarten next year. “This is the fourth year of the full-day kindergarten phase-in, and the results for children have been outstanding,” said Michael J. Davis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The SDE approved 78 new full-day kindergarten programs for 2003-2004, from 33 school districts. A total of 298 public schools in 68 school districts will receive funding for full-day kindergarten programs for 2003-2004. Funding for the programs will come from the State Equalization Guarantee (SEG) and state TANF funds ($4 million).

“Once again, despite limited resources, the Legislature and the Governor stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park for the children of New Mexico. They have maintained their commitment to excellence,” said Superintendent Davis.

The listing of new funded full-day kindergarten programs for 2003-2004 is available on the SDE’s web site at www.ped.state.nm.us/press.2003/may.03/03.04.fdk.list.pdf.

Funded schools must include a comprehensive research-based early literacy program that continues in the first and second grades following kindergarten. The program must include professional development and assessments, with schools administering a literacy-based pretest to kindergarten students by September 30 and posttest by April 30 of each year to assess student performance.

“Literacy readiness allows us to start children off on the right foot, to apply what we know to be the very best in literacy research to improve outcomes for our youngest students. It is an extremely important part of the full-day kindergarten initiative. Our goal is to ensure that all children are reading by the time they complete the third grade,” said Toni Nolan-Trujillo, former assistant superintendent for Learning Services and Indian Education.

A total of 104 schools applied for full-day kindergarten funding for 2003-2004. Preference was given to schools that serve the highest proportion of at-risk students based on data from 2002-2003, schools with available classroom space and grade-level schools (containing all of the children at a certain grade level in a district).