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Boston K1DS

The pre-Kindergarten program in Boston Public Schools has been rated one of the best in the country. It is helping close achievement gaps and prepare young people for success in school.

Yet, even as the school system expands capacity, reaching all kids in the city continues to depend on a diverse network of early education and care providers. Read about one promising model for bringing effective practices from the public schools into community-based programs.

How can we ensure that each student in Boston starts off on a track to success? A recent Harvard study shows that students enrolled in Boston Public Schools’ (BPS) pre-kindergarten (K1) program are more prepared to enter elementary school. In fact, the report finds that participation in the BPS K1 program closes Kindergarten racial and income achievement gaps by 50%.

BPS steadily adds K1 preschool seats each year but space and budgetary constraints have limited the pace of growth. Increasing demand from Boston families outpaces K1 expansion. In addition, the District’s K1 program does not offer the full-day, full-year care that many working families need.

To address these gaps, BPS launched a complementary approach to in-district K1 expansion called Boston K1DS. Through this project, BPS is expanding its K1 program to 14 private, community-based preschool classrooms - targeting neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of English language learners.

These community-based programs receive a mix of curriculum, coaching, and professional development support from BPS, as well as funding to increase the salaries of the participating teachers. One important goal behind Boston K1DS is to reach a universal standard of excellence for Boston’s four-year-olds. One strategy to reach that universal standard is Boston K1DS, in which participating organizations partner closely with BPS to synchronize their curricula and professional development opportunities for teachers.

Boston K1DS promotes inclusive access to high-quality early education - critical to closing Boston’s achievement gap. Barr Foundation is proud to support Boston K1DS as part of its Early Education Program to ensure that all of Boston’s children enter school ready, on a path to succeed.

Read Harvard's study on BPS early education

Boston K1DS is a three-year demonstration project to expand the nationally recognized BPS pre-K program to fourteen community-based preschool classrooms.