KILMARNOCK—Lancaster school superintendent Steven Parker and Kids First Foundation (KFF) president Tom Kinney recently addressed the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) annual convention in Williamsburg.
They reported that Kids First has closed the typical gap in school preparedness among socio-economically challenged children and their more fortunate peers.
The presentation topic, “What Works―Early Intervention for Literacy Achievement,” featured a report on the positive test results for the graduates of the Kids First 3-Year-Old Preschool Program.
“We have struggled through all the programs of the ‘War on Poverty’ and its cost of well over $1 trillion to find that the poverty rate actually increased from 14.7% to 15% between 1965 and 2014,” said Parker.
“The first class of 3-year-olds in the Kids First Program has now completed first grade with average scores actually exceeding the average scores of their more fortunate peers by 15%,” he said. “A statistical analysis of the test elements critical to reading skills revealed that the usual gap is gone. That is tremendously encouraging because learning to read transitions to reading to learn, a key path to success in the upper grades and beyond.”
“The Kids First Program of Lancaster and Middlesex public schools engages expert teachers with decades of experience to give intensive attention to children at a stage when their brains are still rapidly developing to help them achieve the socialization and learning skills needed to be successful in school, work and life,” said Kinney.
“These test results prove we’re on the right path to further our mission of eliminating generational poverty through early childhood education augmented by our volunteers focused upon nutrition for our students and their families,” he said.
Parents of 2-year-old children in Lancaster and Middlesex should watch for posters in March announcing the sign-up period for next fall. Posters will be displayed at Social Services, the Community Services Board and WIC offices as well as many churches and gathering points throughout both counties. Applications will be available at public schools.
The Kids First Foundation has provided seed money to establish classes in Lancaster and Middlesex. The foundation intends to expand into Mathews and Northumberland when those counties have the foundations in place to do so. Kids First was initiated by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Rappahannock in White Stone based on the research of a Pew-funded study at the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
Direct support to Kids First Foundation, P.O. Box 1266, White Stone, VA 22578; or firstname.lastname@example.org.