All elementary schools are encouraged to implement Pennsylvania’s Kindergarten Entry Inventory (PA KEI) in the 2022-2023 school year to assist in meeting enhanced federal requirements.

PA KEI is a reliable reporting tool that offers teachers an instructional strategy for understanding and tracking a student’s proficiency at kindergarten entry. The PA KEI is available to all local education agencies (LEAs) at no cost and remote implementation options are available if necessary.

The PA KEI collects information on a consistent set of standards-based indicators across the commonwealth. The PA KEI is based on Pennsylvania’s Learning Standards for Early Childhood and the Pennsylvania Core Standards. PA KEI includes 30 indicators and provides a comprehensive profile that includes the domains of: Social and Emotional Development; English Language Arts; Mathematics; Approaches to Learning; and Health, Wellness and Physical Development. PA KEI is intended to be used by kindergarten teachers to record a student’s demonstration of skills within the first 45 calendar days of the kindergarten year. More information is available at www.kei-pa.org.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides opportunities to strengthen the contribution of high-quality early childhood education in school reform and improvement efforts. The law recognizes that school success starts before a student enters the K-12 setting and calls on states to describe how they will assist LEAs and elementary schools to collaborate with early childhood education programs, and to invest in evidence-based practices. ESSA supports early learning and LEA collaboration in three main ways: (1) expanding access to high-quality early learning; (2) encouraging alignment and collaboration from birth through third grade; and (3) supporting educators. The PA KEI is a tangible tool to assist LEAs in understanding the comprehensive learning strengths and needs of students entering the K-12 setting, in establishing common expectations and language for beginning and extending collaborative conversations with pre-kindergarten programs and families, and in planning and implementing joint professional development opportunities that focus on strengthening evidence-based practices for young learners.

Implementing the PA KEI requires a Point of Contact (POC) who will serve as the liaison between LEA administrative staff, implementing kindergarten teachers, the Office of Child Development and Learning (OCDEL), and data systems staff. A dedicated POC ensures effective communication and implementation throughout the PA KEI process.

To initiate PA KEI participation in the 2022-2023 school year, send the POC name, email address, and phone number to RA-PWOCDELKEI@pa.gov by May 30, 2022.

All kindergarten teachers who have not previously participated must complete a required professional development online course and obtain a certificate of completion in order to gain access to the web-based data system. Teachers with an expired proficient user certificate (more than five years since certification) are required to complete the professional development protocol.

Below is the tentative training schedule and timeline for participation:

  •  March-September:  Required professional development online course available
  • August-September:  PA KEI systems professional development opportunities available
  • By the start of school: Implementing kindergarten teachers must have a required professional development online course certificate of completion on file in order to gain systems access
  • 45 calendar days from start of school: Observation and evidence collection/scoring completed
  • 60 calendar days from start of school: Data submissions (student outcomes) finalized within data system

Questions about this communication may be sent to RA-PWOCDELKEI@pa.gov.