The data, unveiled at a celebration of the program’s second anniversary at Whitney Elementary School, clearly shows that the program has a significant impact on children’s readiness to enter kindergarten. Specifically, in the fall of 2016, more than 86 percent of 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 Vista Pre-K Program is clearly having a big impact on the children who attend it,” said Vanessa Fry, assistant director of Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute, who oversaw the research into the program’s impact. The full report can be found online here.
The Pre-K Project, a joint initiative of the City of Boise and the Boise School District, began in 2015 for 60 income-qualified pre-schoolers at Whitney and Hawthorne elementary schools. The United Way of Treasure Valley and the Micron Foundation are the lead sponsors for project. Other community sponsors include Wells Fargo, The Idaho Statesman, St. Luke's Health System, Keynetics, George and Bev Harad, Oppenheimer Companies, Delaware North, Whole Foods, and Saint Alphonsus Health System.
“We are thankful for the support of the City of Boise, United Way, Micron Foundation and many others who have been involved in the success of the Boise Pre-Kindergarten program,” said Dr. Don Coberly, Superintendent, Boise School District. “The data bear out the success of the program. It’s clear that children who participate in quality Pre-K programs have an advantage, particularly in reading readiness. Our students, parents, and dedicated Pre-K teachers, Grace Ruddy and Sheila Dengler-Shaw, are to be commended for this outstanding work to prepare our students for success.”
The program is also part of the City of Boise’s Energize Our Neighborhoods initiative, which focuses on aligning community resources to improve livability and make measurable change that keep’s Boise’s neighborhoods unique and desirable.
Mayor David Bieter said the success of the Boise Pre-K Project’s first two years is proof of high-quality early childhood education’s beneficial impact and the need for a statewide early childhood program.
“It’s important to remember that there are families and young people behind the numbers and graphs,” said Mayor Bieter. “It is everyone’s duty to do everything we can to prepare these children for their education and life. They are the future of our city and state and deserve every opportunity at success.”