Implementing a Pilot Pre-Kindergarten 3 Program in Partnership with Dorchester County Public Schools
- Looks to address early childhood achievement and opportunity gaps by providing an additional year of high-quality, structured pre-kindergarten, targeting low-income 3-year olds
- Will provide 3-years of funding to cover the cost of the primary instructor
- Classroom will be at the Judy Center/Sandy Hill Elementary School (designated Title I school)
- Target population will be Sandy Hill Elementary School families with income ranging from 185-300% of the Federal Poverty Level guidelines
- Theory of change: These students going through the Pre-K3 program will have two full years of quality pre-kindergarten and thus should demonstrate a higher level of readiness upon entering kindergarten
Measures of Performance
- Goal: To increase access to quality early learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged children.
- The Dorchester County Public School Pre-Kindergarten3 program is a pilot program designed to offer pre-kindergarten to 3-year old children.
- Intent: We believe we can improve kindergarten readiness by offering two full years of pre-k for up to 15 students per year. We expect that overall kindergarten readiness scores, as measured by the state of Maryland Department of Educations’ Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA), will demonstrate increased readiness over time.
- We will measure academic performance of the Pre-K3 students by using the Early Learning Assessment (ELA). The ELA will be tested three times over the course of each year.
- After Year-2, we will measure Pre-K4 ELA scores to see if the ELA scores of students that attended the previous year’s Pre-K3 program are demonstratively higher than children entering Pre-K4 that did not attend the Pre-K3 class.
- After Year-3, we will measure kindergarten KRA scores to see if the KRA scores of students that attended both the Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 program are demonstratively higher than children either attending only Pre-K4 as well as children that attended neither Pre-K4 nor Pre-K3. Using this same comparison model, we will also measure the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) scores for kindergarteners.
- Our sustainability goal is this data will demonstrate that two full years of pre-kindergarten does make a difference, as seen through improved readiness scores. With that data, we are hopeful DCPS will see its value and advocate to the School Board for long-term funding of this classroom, and perhaps even increase the number of Pre-K3 classrooms within the public school system.
- First-year results:
- We were able to enroll a full classroom of 15 students during the pilot school year 2021-2022.
- During its first pilot year, ELA developmental testing occurred over all 3 trimesters. We saw continuous improvement in the children over the 3 testing periods. In the first trimester in the fall of 2021, we noted the classroom averaged 77% in hitting the readiness benchmarks. At the midway point in early 2022 during the second trimester, we saw growth from 77% to 89% and, by the final trimester, 92% of all students met or exceeded benchmarks.
- We will not see any Pre-K4 data until November 2022, once we have our first classroom complete a full year.
- We will not see any kindergarten data (KRA or DIBELS) until November 2023, once our first classroom has completed two years of school.