Investing in Boise’s Bright Future One Pre-K Class at a Time
Two years ago, the City of Boise, along with public and private partners, embarked on an innovative approach to address early childhood education gaps in our community and improve livability for all. The Boise Pre-K Project is part of a dynamic initiative – Energize Our Neighborhoods – which seeks to align public and private resources to drive measurable change at the neighborhood level.
At the onset, data was used to help inform the structure and focus of the program. The data showed that Boise’s at-risk children who do not receive a high-quality early childhood education are:
- 25% more likely to drop out of school
- 40% more likely to become a teen parent
- 50% more likely to be placed in special education
- 60% more likely to never attend college
Using this data as guideposts, the City and partners launched the Project in 2015 for 60 income-qualified preschoolers at Whitney and Hawthorne elementary schools, with several goals in mind:
- Reduce achievement gaps for incoming kindergartners
- Follow participants through 3rd grade to assess the investment’s impact
- Enhance neighborhood livability through education investments
- Use project results to spark discussions about investing in early childhood education
Earlier this week, the City of Boise and the Boise School District shared results detailing the success of the first two years of the program at a celebration held at Whitney Elementary School. The data shows that the program has significant impact on children’s readiness to enter kindergarten. In fact, in the fall of 2016, more than 86 percent of the children enrolled in the program scored at or above benchmark scores on the Idaho Reading Indicator, compared to just 53 percent of their peers not enrolled in the program. The full report can be found online.
Feedback from the parents speaks volumes to the benefits it offers their children who are enrolled in the program. One parent said:
“I feel very blessed to have had two children go through the Pre-K program. . . Neither of my children could accurately say or recognize their ABC’s when they entered the program and had only socialized with each other, for the most part. By the time they graduated the program, they not only knew their ABC’s, but they associated sounds and how to spell words. Among all the great things taught in the program, [my children] learned how to sit still during story time and follow directions, make friends . . . and how to treat each other with love and kindness. I can confidently say that without this program, my children would not have been ready for kindergarten.”
You can learn more about the Boise Pre-K Project here.
Published: October 19, 2017