Transitional kindergarten is new offering at Mount Shasta Elementary School

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald
Mount Shasta Elementary School

Utilizing state funding provided over the summer, Mount Shasta Union School District has expanded its transitional kindergarten program to include children who turn 4 by Sept. 1.

Shelby Garcia will teach the stand-alone program, often referred to as TK, at the Mount Shasta Elementary School campus, said superintendent/principal Barry Barnhart.

"Until now, transitional kindergarten has only been available (at MSE) for 4-year-olds who turned 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2," Barnhart said. Previously, kindergarten teachers provided TK and kindergarten opportunities in the same MSE classrooms.

Mount Shasta Elementary School teacher Shelby Garcia, who used to run a preschool, has been tapped to teach transitional kindergarten at the school for kids who turn 4 by Sept. 1

With this expansion, MSE will have its first dedicated TK classroom, Barnhart said. 

Often described as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten, transitional kindergarten began in California in 2012, according to EdSource. The program now serves about 100,000 children, most of whom turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, narrowly missing the cutoff for traditional kindergarten.

In May, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to use an unanticipated surplus in the general fund to phase in universal TK as part of his annual May budget revision.

Garcia, who ran a preschool before teaching at MSE, said she's excited to teach TK students in a developmentally appropriate setting. "Separating out TK from kindergarten will allow for the greatest gain and experience for the young kids," she said.

The MSE office is now open from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Enroll a child in TK by calling 530-926-3434. Space is limited so those interested should submit an enrollment packet soon, Barnhart said.

Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation, lifelong Siskiyou County resident.