Readiness in Elementary School
In the elementary years it is crucial that students develop the reading, communication and mathematical thinking skills needed to build upon in middle and high school.
It is also important that our elementary students continue to investigate careers and begin to learn about college and other postsecondary institutions. For first generation students is is especially important that their teachers and counselors have lessons and discussions about college and careers. College knowledge begins in elementary school and our schools take part in ensuring that all students are learning about their future options.
Third grade and fifth grade are crucial transition years and student performance in these years can be predictive of readiness upon high school graduation. Ensuring that students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade is a key success metric for future readiness. Additionally, it is imperative that 5th graders graduate with the reading and mathematical skills needed for middle school success.
At this age parents should also consider saving for postsecondary plans or how their child may pay for their education in the future. Many banks, including our partners at Region's Bank, offer savings plans for college. How much your family saves isn't as important as getting started, and building upon that savings as your child gets older.
Parents should also establish a routine of good attendance. Ideally students should attend no less than 95% of school. Less than 95% is a risk factor for poor achievement on college benchmark assessments. Learning is a cumulative endeavor and missing just one day of school each month means nine days of lost learning. Over the course of a child's school career, that can easily add up to months of lost instruction. Studies show that students with above average attendance in the elementary and middle school years tend to maintain that trend into high school. Those with lower than 90%, however, often do not improve their attendance and are more likely to score below the college benchmark on the ACT, limiting their future options.
Following are resources on college and career readiness for elementary-aged students:
Elementary School Counselor's Guide to College and Career Readiness
Is your first grader college ready?
Tips for saving for college, Parenting Magazine