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Finding Utah's At-Risk Kindergarteners
All-day kindergarten had initially been discussed during the 2015 general legislative session.

The legislative Education Interim Committee in Salt Lake City took up the question of how best to implement optional enhanced kindergarten during its meeting on Wednesday. The draft legislation under consideration would expand funding to provide all-day kindergarten to students deemed to be academically at-risk.

St. George Republican Rep. V. Lowry Snow, who has been working on the draft legislation, said that $750,000 of the proposed $10 million for the kindergarten program would be used to academically assess students. He told the committee that such an examination is necessary for the program to be effective.

“Since this model provides for funding based on a competitive grant basis, and because it targets the at-risk students, there needs be a uniform standard across the board as to how that that at-risk determination is made,” Snow said. “The state Office of Education would administer that assessment or provide that assessment. Every kindergarten student would be assed then and that would be an entry assessment and an exit assessment.”

The test would have wider implications than just measuring at-risk students. Snow said that the assessment will be able to give a broad picture of how all of Utah’s kindergarteners are doing.

“I can see this assessment not just used to identify the at-risk but I can see this assessment used also to track the progress of all of the students,” he said. “So, it actually serves that purpose as well.”

Utah has the nation’s highest rate of households with children.