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Blog | | San Diego Unified, TKCalifornia

TK Expansion in Action: Connecting TK and Migrant Education Programs to Increase Opportunities for Support

Our TK Expansion in Action blog series covers California’s Transitional Kindergarten (TK) expansion through interviews with school districts and institutes of higher learning across the state to highlight strategies they have employed to make expansion successful. This is the twelfth blog in the series which has been running since the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

Out-of-school time (OST) learning is a compelling opportunity to promote children’s learning experiences outside of traditional school hours. With Transitional Kindergarten (TK) expanding in California to serve all 4-year-olds, school districts have an opportunity to imagine how to fold TK into other programs in order to provide as many supports as possible for our young learners. Several districts, including Antelope Valley Union High School District (AVUHSD), are part of a consortium that hosts the Antelope Valley Migrant Education Program (AVMEP), a program focused on supporting newcomer and migrant students and families. AVMEP has included TK in their programmatic structure and offerings for years, and serves as an example of how to support TK students when school is not in session.

AVMEP was founded in 1996 to serve migrant students and families. With one of three migrant students in the United States living in California, the program helps to support a significant portion of the national migrant student population. It is federally funded through the Migrant Education Program (MEP), with supplemental funding provided by the AVUHSD. Migrant students throughout the Antelope Valley region between 3 to 21 years old are currently eligible to participate if they migrated at least once within a three year period and have participated in activities related to agriculture, forestry, transport, and/or packing. Student parents with children under 3 are eligible to receive child care for their children while they participate in AVMEP. The current program is primarily held in the summer, Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays during the fall and spring. With many K-12 schools closed in the summer months and on weekends during the school year, AVMEP supports migrant families with essential OST child care that provides developmentally-appropriate learning opportunities for their children. 

AVMEP offers a diverse range of services for migrant students and their families, including TK students. Dr. David Dunstan, Director of Student Support & Intervention at AVUHSD, described how the program provides child care and curricular activities separated by grade levels. “We take pride in the offerings and support we have created in the program in order to foster the learning of our students.”

Each TK classroom in AVMEP is staffed by at least one teacher and instructional aide which, with typically less than 10 students in the classroom, follows the state’s TK ratio requirement.The AVMEP TK teachers must meet the following qualifications: an authorizing credential for subject matter (Multiple Subjects Credential or other Early Childhood or Kindergarten credential authorized by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, or CTC) and at least one year of teaching experience in the subject; at least twenty-four units in early childhood education, childhood development, or both; experience in a classroom setting with preschool-age children that is comparable to the twenty-four units of education described above; a child development teacher permit issued by the CTC; and identify as a culturally responsive practitioner. Los Angeles County Office of Education, which administers the region’s MEP, , also provides trainings for TK teachers and its support staff through the California Preschool Instructional Network

The team at AVMEP ensure that, across their seasonal programmatic offerings, TK students receive developmentally appropriate content. Ana Peña-Santos, Program Coordinator of the English Learner and Migrant Education programs at AVUHSD, supports the TK teachers in creating lesson plans that follow the state’s learning standards. The program adheres to the California English Language Development Standards to support their English learners, and follow the Common Core State Standards. The program also follows the State Service Delivery Plan, which is the California Department of Education’s Migrant Education Program implementation document. These standards and guidelines intersect to provide the TK students at AVMEP with OST learning that promotes their school readiness and English language development.  

In addition to supporting TK students in the classroom, AVMEP makes an effort to support their parents. The families are able to access free educational services and workshops as available, such as ESL and GED classes. For instance, AVMEP currently partners with California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) to support migrant families with accessing the CSUSB High School Equivalency Program. The program also shares information with families about supports offered at the Antelope Valley Adult School. Spreading awareness and supporting access to these programs for parents, including parents of our youngest learners, is critical to fostering the academic success and wellbeing of the whole child and family.

Ana stressed the importance of collaboration between districts and other stakeholders to support TK students and their families, in and out of the classroom. “We are working together to fully provide for students in our district and beyond. We hope the program remains a source of support for children of all ages, including TK students.” 

To learn more about AVMEP, please visit

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