The new school year at Pre-K 4 SA has proven to be a great success. We built two new education centers within the last year which brings us to a total of four education centers city wide. We are continuing to serve the community in our second year, Pre-K 4 SA with early childhood education, parent engagement, and professional development.
Currently, 1,450 students are enrolled at Pre-K 4 SA. This is more than twice as many students enrolled compared to the inaugural school year. General education classes are at 99% capacity with a wait-list of 1,300 students. Each education center has two bilingual classes which have are still accepting students.
During the first month of school, the new students spent time learning about self-managing behavior, problem solving, emotions, and daily routines. When i visited the west education center last week, i saw students adjusting well, having a positive experience, and having fun while learning.
To gauge success in development and implementation of the program, Pre-K 4 SA has contracted with Edvance research and the national institution of early education research (NIEER) in affiliation with Rutgers University to conduct an independent evaluation. The evaluation each year will include an alignment study of prekindergarten readiness assessments used throughout Texas and an overall program assessment. For our first school year, the study measured six outcomes: cognitive, literacy, mathematics, oral language, physical ability, and socio-emotional behavior. The first year evaluation results of Pre-K 4 SA students show that students met or exceeded a nationally-normed sample of children their same age.
Pre-K 4 SA also puts a strong emphasis on family engagement. The program uses a multi-pronged approach to parent involvement by providing training and events, dedicating family specialists to work with families individually, collecting feedback through surveys and evaluations, providing services, and offering the online and technology resources.
Pre-K 4 SA partnered with the Baptist Health System’s student program where their students earned school credit for their service by providing free screenings for vision and hearing to all families enrolled at Pre-K 4 SA.
A survey was sent to parents asking them to provide feedback on their experience with Pre-K 4 SA during the first month of school. 96% of parents reported that their child has adjusted positively to school.
Parents also were asked to identify where their child would be if they had not been selected for the Pre-K 4 SA program. 80% of families would not have had the opportunity to attend a “quality full-day” program. This is a good indicator that the initiative is fulfilling its purpose of serving families that may not have had access to early childhood education.
Professional development is the third key dimension of Pre-K 4 SA. The professional development program is designed with an internal and external component. Internally, our Pre-K 4 SA teachers and assistants received over 30 days of trainings and workshops to prepare for the school year and will continue to receive in-service opportunities through the year. Externally, our professional development coaches are provide guided observations, planning, and other services for public and private schools and childcare facilities throughout the city.
As we continue through the school year, we look to build upon our successes in the first year focusing on high-quality prekindergarten services and innovation.