What Is Transitional Kindergarten?

“Smart Start” is a new transitional kindergarten program for Camas School District, with class beginning in January 2023. It allows students who have not had access to preschool programs to start learning kindergarten skills early. This extended experience gives students time to adjust to their new environment and work on their social and academic readiness skills. They will then start a full year of kindergarten the following year.

The program is offered at no cost and serves students who:

  • Will be 5 years old by Aug. 31, 2023
  • Live within the boundaries of Grass Valley Elementary or Helen Baller Elementary
  • Have not attended preschool or another early-learning program

Please note: This web page is still under construction and will be updated as more information becomes available.

How to apply

We will be accepting applications Nov. 1-13, 2022, through an online form and will notify families of admission decisions by Dec. 1, 2022. We have limited space, and applying does not guarantee admission or enrollment. Once a student is accepted to the program, the family will then need to register their student with the Camas School District. Classes begin Jan. 5, 2023. Paper copies of the application form may also be requested and submitted through Grass Valley Elementary or the Camas School District administrative office.

All applications will undergo a screening process to ensure that they meet the requirements of the program. Admissions will be prioritized based on need, including a student:

  • Lacking access to a licensed preschool experience (due to income, availability, or other hardship)
  • Qualifying for free/reduced meals
  • Qualifying for bilingual education/support
  • Showing lagging social or academic skills during the screening process
Apply today!


Where and when are classes held?

The program is based at Grass Valley Elementary, 3000 NW Grass Valley Drive, in Camas. It will follow the elementary school calendar and schedule, with classes beginning at 8 AM and dismissing at 2:30 PM. On Wednesdays, all elementary schools dismiss at 12:10 PM.

How will my student get to school?

Students who qualify for bus services will ride their neighborhood’s elementary school bus. If a student lives outside of the designated school boundaries, the family will be responsible for providing transportation.

What if I am interested in the program but live outside of Grass Valley and Helen Baller’s boundaries?

We will be closely reviewing all applications and may consider those from CSD students who reside outside the designated program boundaries. However, families enrolling students from these areas will be responsible for providing their own transportation to and from school each day.

How many students will be admitted to the program?

We currently have room to accept 18 students this year.

How does the screening process work for admitting students?

-Applicants will be contacted starting November 14 to set up screening appointments.

-Screening appointments will occur November 15-22

-Screening appointments will last approximately 20 minutes

-Students will be screened 1:1 by a Smart Start teacher using developmental pre-academic screening materials

-Parents will complete a whole child inventory via online or paper (Ages and Stages Questionnaires)