Recently, OSPI and the Department of Early Learning have introduced a new system to branch the gap between early learning and the K-12 system. WaKIDS is the Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills, given within the first seven weeks of kindergarten to all enrolled students. WaKIDS will help to develop a statewide snapshot of development and help to inform education policy and future investments.
What is involved in WaKIDS?
The WaKIDS inventory is comprised of three components. The first includes the assessment, based on the Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment. The next component includes a family connection, where the family is invited to share information about their child with the kindergarten teacher to complete an “All About Me” child book. The last component is in connecting with early learning. This collaboration helps early learning by communicating what kids need to be successful in Kindergarten and helps the K-12 setting know what early learning systems are working with.
In an implementation plan developed by OSPI, WaKIDS is being implemented in a three step process. This plan focuses on state-funded, full-day kindergartens and aims to train each teacher in the assessment tool.
How is the ESD Supporting WaKIDS?
Jennifer Acuna, Olympic ESD's K-12 WaKIDS Coordinator, and Lorraine Olsen, the Early Learning Coalition's WaKIDS Coordinator, are developing a joint action plan responsible for roll out, implementation, and support for WaKIDS in the Olympic ESD region.
Last summer, OESD brought WaKIDS trainings to the region at the OESD site, and another series of trainings offered on the Olympic Peninsula. Currently, the OESD's two certified trainers, Cindy Wilkins and Leesa Thomas are providing technical assistance and support to teachers and early learning partners. At district request, they provide one-on-one training and trainings to administrative staff to access the systems in place and provide data analysis support. Taking that a step further, OESD Professional Development Specialist, Dan King, has been providing technical assistance and been available to teachers seeking support to use their data to inform instruction.**
Future support of WAKIDS will include scheduling regional steering committee meetings. These meetings will aim at reviewing WAKIDS data and consider actions that need to be taken to support children in our region. Additionally, the ESD will be holding a convening event for participating teachers, administrators, early learning staff and others to build relationships and share documents. This year, WaKIDS events are taking place at the Early Learning Conference held annually in Port Townsend in February. Click here for more information about this event and the WaKIDS opportunities available.
**OSPI's website notes that WaKIDS information will only be used to inform instruction and not to determine kindergarten eligibility, etc. Parents have the choice to opt out of WaKIDS if they feel it does not align with their family needs.