Jefferson County Public Schools is one of 107 Kentucky school districts that will use screeners this year to improve education for their youngest students.

The state adopted the BRIGANCE kindergarten screener offered by Curriculum Associates, which is being piloted this school year and planned to be implemented in all districts by the 2013-2014 year.

Director of products Katie Nicholson says local districts could use the data to help parents understand their child’s skill level entering kindergarten and state leadership could use the screeners to help make policy decisions.

“If they have a sense for, here are the biggest needs for our entering kindergartners then that helps them to inform the curriculum they develop or purchase,” said Nicholson.

Over the next few weeks, JCPS is planning to train their kindergarten teachers in screening students, said Dewey Hensely, JCPS's chief academic officer. The screening process should take 15 minutes per student, but should offer a useful snapshot of the student body entering kindergarten, he said.

That information could be used by local districts, said Hensley.

“We also hope to triangulate our own pre-K programs or daycare centers that are in Jefferson County that serve our children,” he said.

The screener is only an assessment. State law says any child five years of age by October is eligible to be taught in the Kentucky school system.