Students identified as less likely to succeed in the early years of schooling are given the opportunity to spend two years in Middletown’s extended Kindergarten experience. Analysis of the achievement of three successive cohorts of these “Two-Year Kindergarten” (“2YK”) students shows that, although they start with academic scores below other children, at the end of their two-year Kindergarten and again at the end of their 1st grade, they out-perform other children in both reading and mathematics.
By extending the kindergarten base on which these children’s further success is built, Middletown is front-loading their schooling. The program is two full years of Kindergarten, and teachers do not loop from year one to year two, with flexible grouping built into the program to address individual student academic strengths and weaknesses. There are twenty days of mandatory summer instructional time as well. While Middletown continues to be one of the top 10 most underfunded school districts in New York State, we have found early preparation to be critically important, and prioritize this program annually.