SENATE BILL 323
53rd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2017
RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS; ALLOWING EARLY ENROLLMENT IN KINDERGARTEN FOR CHILDREN WHO TURN FIVE YEARS OLD BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 1 AND DECEMBER 15; REQUIRING ASSESSMENTS FOR KINDERGARTEN READINESS FOR THOSE CHILDREN.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 22-13-3.2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2000, Chapter 107, Section 3, as amended) is amended to read:
"22-13-3.2. FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS--EARLY ADMISSION FOR CERTAIN CHILDREN.--
A. The [state board] department shall adopt rules for the development and implementation of child-centered and developmentally appropriate full-day kindergarten programs. Establishment of full-day kindergarten programs shall be voluntary on the part of school districts, and student participation shall be voluntary on the part of parents.
B. The department [of education] shall require schools with full-day kindergarten programs to conduct age-appropriate assessments to determine the placement of students at instructional level and the effectiveness of child-centered, developmentally appropriate kindergarten.
C. The department [of education] shall monitor full-day kindergarten programs and ensure that they serve the [children] students most in need based upon indicators in the at-risk index. If the department [of education] determines that a program is not meeting the benchmarks necessary to ensure the progress of students in the program, the department [of education] shall notify the school district that failure to meet the benchmarks shall result in the cessation of funding for the following school year. The department [of education] shall compile the program results submitted by the school districts and make an annual report to the legislative education study committee and the legislature.
D. Full-day kindergarten programs shall be phased in over a five-year period as follows with priority given to those school districts that serve [children] students in schools with the highest proportion of students most in need based upon indicators in the at-risk index or that serve [children] students by means of grade-level schools that serve an entire school district:
(1) effective with the 2000-2001 school year, one-fifth of New Mexico's kindergarten classes may be full day;
(2) effective with the 2001-2002 school year, two-fifths of New Mexico's kindergarten classes may be full day;
(3) effective with the 2002-2003 school year, three-fifths of New Mexico's kindergarten classes may be full day;
(4) effective with the 2003-2004 school year, four-fifths of New Mexico's kindergarten classes may be full day; and
(5) effective with the 2004-2005 school year, all of New Mexico's kindergarten classes may be full day.
E. School districts shall apply to the department [of education] to receive funding for full-day kindergarten programs. In granting approval for funding of full-day kindergarten programs, the department [of education] shall ensure that full-day kindergarten programs are first implemented in schools that have the highest proportion of students most in need based upon the at-risk index and in schools with available classroom space.
F. A local school board may adopt a policy to allow children whose birthdays fall between September 1 and December 15 to enroll in kindergarten if their skills and maturity level indicate kindergarten readiness. Qualified staff shall determine readiness through the assessment of each child's cognitive, social, physical and language development. If the child qualifies for early enrollment, the kindergarten teacher shall conduct a parent conference at the end of six weeks of school to review the student's progress.
G. The school district shall select the assessment tool to be used to assess a child's readiness for early enrollment and other procedures necessary to fulfill the intent of the local school board's policy of early enrollment."
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