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The first test

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By Nathan L. McBroom

After completing a pre-kindergarten screening assessment on Monday, Luke Payne thanked Big Bird and the Count from Sesame Street for teaching him how to count.

Luke said he was excited about moving to "big school" next year where he will have a real teacher and will get to make new friends.

The screening that Luke received was part of a district-wide effort to assess students' preparedness for kindergarten.

The free screening is new to the process of registering kindergarten students in the district and will be given to the child while the parent registers the student at the school.

The screening and kindergarten registration will take place March 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and April 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the elementary the student will attend in the fall.

All students who will be 5 years old by Oct. 1 need to attend.

Duanne Puckett, community relations coordinator, said through the screening the district is able assess the students' needs and to place them in classrooms equitably.

"The idea is to help parents and educators ensure children are on track before school begins Aug. 6 as well as to plan ahead for what services may be needed once school begins," she said. "The screening results will be provided to parents the same day and will also be used by schools for classroom placement."

The screening takes from 15 to 20 minutes each.

During the screening the children are asked to count as high as they can, draw shapes, name body parts, say their name, age, address and other information and recognize letters from the alphabet.

When parents bring their child for the screening, they must bring their child's birth certificate and Social Security card. The official birth certificate from the Kentucky Registrar of Vital Statistics is required, not the laminated card or hospital announcement.

Basic immunization shots and a physical examination must be completed and certification turned in by the first day of school.

Arrangements are made to have translators available for those with limited English proficiency skills.

Parents should register their child in the school assigned according to attendance boundaries. Parents can access that information online (www.shelby.kyschools.us) under the Parents link or can call 633-2375. The six elementary schools will host the registration and screening:

Clear Creek: 633-3452

Heritage: 829-5242

Painted Stone: 647-4505

Simpsonville: 722-8855

Southside: 633-4460

Wright: 633-5222