K1ds Oliveira_20100810_2609

Lisa Marie Oliveira via Thrive in 5

A New Approach to Scaling High-Quality Pre-Kindergarten

Building on its highly successful pre-kindergarten program, Boston Public Schools (BPS) has teamed up with community-based early care and education centers providing preschool programs to share what has worked well and to test a new way to expand access to high-quality early education.

As I mentioned in a previous post, BPS's pre-kindergarten program, also known as "K1," is seeing some of the best performance results in the country. One recent study found that students participating in the program were fifty-percent more likely to enter school ready for kindergarten than students who had not.

Understandably, these kinds of results are contributing to high demand among Boston families—far outstripping the 2,200 seats the District currently offers. To expand supply, BPS is continuing to increase the number of K1 seats in its schools. But space and budgetary constraints have limited the pace and scale of growth. Another issue is that the District's K1 program does not offer the full-day, full-year care that many working families need.

To address these concerns, BPS has developed a complementary approach to in-district K1 expansion called Boston K1DS. Through this three-year demonstration project, BPS is expanding its K1 program to fourteen private, community-based preschool classrooms—with a focus on Boston's "Circle of Promise" and East Boston, which has the city's highest concentration of English language learners. Through this partnership, community-based programs receive a mix of curriculum coaching and professional development from BPS, as well as funding to increase the salaries of the participating teachers.

Boston K1DS is funded by the Barr Foundation, Boston Public Schools, the @Scale initiative, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care's Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment Grant (part of the Race to the Top — Early Learning Challenge fund), and, through Thrive in 5, the Jessie B. Cox Trust and the Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust.

Stay tuned for one more post on another community-based approach: Thrive in 5's "Ready Educators Pilot."

To learn more about Boston K1DS, download the:

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Kimberly Haskins

Senior Program Officer, Sector Effectiveness