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Originally published Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM

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Kindergarten in Washington is in a state of flux

A new Washington state program helps kindergarten teachers get to know their students before they ever walk through the door.

Associated Press

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RENTON, Wash. —

A new Washington state program helps kindergarten teachers get to know their students before they ever walk through the door.

The $2.75 million program is in more than 300 schools in 102 of the state's 294 school districts. That includes every school with free all-day kindergarten plus others that volunteered to be pilots.

In the fall, those school districts hold individual parent-teacher meetings before school starts, as well as taking a more formal assessment of each child's ability during the first sexi weeks of school.

The assessment helps kindergarten teachers group their students by ability, get extra help for those who need it. It also gives the state a better idea of how well prepared 5- and 6-year-olds are to learn to read, write and do math by the time they finish kindergarten.

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