By Baylee Pulliam
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Ava Gibbs can’t wait to ride the school bus.
“I think that’s the part of starting school she’s most excited about,” said dad, Jerry Gibbs, filling out paperwork to enroll five-year-old Ava in kindergarten.
He and other parents, kids in tow, attended the first day of Anderson Community Schools’ kindergarten round-up, held for the first time this year at Mounds Mall.
Sitting with other parents at fold-out tables near the mall’s food court, Jerry says he’s proud his little girl’s growing up, but sad to see her go.
“I’ll miss her,” he said, bouncing Ava’s baby brother, Blake, on his knee.
During the round-up, each child is given a school assignment — Ava’s going to 10th Street Elementary — before meeting with teachers for an assessment of basic skills, such as how to open a book and identifying letters and numbers.
Down the hall from dad in the Mounds Theater party room, Ava giggles and shrugs as Edgewood Elementary kindergarten teacher Autumn Pratt points to letters on a sheet of paper.
“Do you know what this letter is?” she asks, pointing to a lowercase “q”.
“What about this one?”
Ava’s face splits into a smile. “An ‘s,’” she says, excitedly.
The skills test is diagnostic, and is meant to help teachers gauge the mix of students they’ll have in their classes this fall.
“It gives them an idea of where to start and where the kids need the most improvement,” said ACS Title I coordinator Pam Storm, who coordinated the round-up.
“We get students who are all over the board,” she said. Some come in knowing their numbers through 20, while some can only go through four or five.
While Ava, like most newly-minted kindergarteners, still has a few things to learn, she’s definitely ready, Pratt said.
“She gets a smiley,” she said.
ACS will hold the round-up at the mall most days through Wednesday, March 13. Kids must be five years old by August 1 to enroll for the 2013 to 2014 school year.
Parents are also encouraged to register their kids for Blast-Off to Kindergarten, an orientation session where kids can participate in fun activities and get free school supplies.
That’s held in April at each of the elementary schools. More informations is available online at www.ASCS.net.
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