WATERVILLE — Educare Central Maine was recently awarded $40,000 from two Maine-based foundations to lead a common kindergarten screening pilot project.

The project seeks to set the stage for a common kindergarten screening — an apples to apples snapshot of a child’s learning and development skills — as an important link between early childhood and preschool skills development and an ongoing assessment system that tracks student learning growth in kindergarten through grade 12.

According to a press release, the Samuel L. Cohen and Hollis Brain Foundations have awarded the grants to facilitate a shared planning process with key staff from each of five Maine school districts.

Select elementary schools within Waterville Public Schools, Regional School Unity 19, RSU 49, RSU 54 and Portland Public Schools will be involved in the project.

“It’s important to have aggregate data and knowledge about where our young children are developmentally, as they enter the K-12 system,” says Laurie Lachance, president of Thomas College and chair of Educare Central Maine’s board of directors, in the release. “Without it, effective interventions to improve learning skills that can predict future learning success such as grade-level reading, is much harder to accomplish.”

Designated staff from each participating school will work together to review and consider a variety of evidence-based tools that best meet their shared goals and purpose. Experts in the field will provide guidance, and school staff will receive training from the University of Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service.

For more information, visit educarecentralmaine.org.