Kindergarten Readiness Camp: Jefferson County Public Schools' Initiative Boosts School Readiness
Children who are ready for kindergarten are much more likely to achieve academic success that carries them through to high school, college, and career success.
In May 2015, the Louisville, Kentucky-based C.E. and S. Foundation made a large investment in early childhood education when it approved a $250,000 grant to the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation (JCPEF) to support and expand the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Kindergarten Readiness Camp.
The camp produced promising results with a small group of students the previous two years. The $250,000 grant allowed JCPS to more than triple the number of at-risk students served by the camp from approximately 80 to more than 300. The camp was held at three locations - Cane Run Elementary, Unseld Early Childhood Center, and McFerran Elementary.
In addition to the increased enrollment, C.E. and S. funding allowed for the development of a new staffing model to ensure consistent support across all classrooms, the development of fun, age-appropriate activities focused on kindergarten readiness, and transportation to and from the program for two of the three sites. Breakfast and lunch were also provided each day.
The results of the summer 2015 Kindergarten Readiness Camps were tremendously positive.
With this grant and funding from others, JCPS can continue to scale the Kindergarten Readiness Camp to serve more children and incorporate the programming as a meaningful and systemic change to improve the district.
The 2016 phase will expand the Kindergarten Readiness Camp to six locations (up to 60 classrooms), serving approximately 1,200 rising at-risk kindergarten students. The program will operate five days a week for four weeks, for five and a half hours a day. Students will receive breakfast and lunch each day, and transportation will be provided for all sites.
Other program enhancements are planned for 2016, based on experiences of the first phase. They include:
· Access to Exceptional Child Education (ECE) and English Language Learner (ELL) staff to support the specific needs of these student populations;
· A minimum of two family engagement events in collaboration with the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) at each site;
· Launch an incentive program (K Camp Bucks) to target and encourage student attendance.
For more information about JCPS Kindergarten Readiness Camp, see the following:
The Courier-Journal Op-Ed:The Potential of JCPS Camp
The Courier-Journal:JCPS to Expand Kindergarten Readiness Camps
· BRIGANCE data shows that 74% of the participating students with a 76% - 100% attendance rate scored Ready on the Fall 2015 BRIGANCE.
· Regardless of attendance rate, 71% of students scored Ready on the Fall 2015 BRIGANCE.
· 47.9% of all JCPS kindergarten students scored Ready on the Fall 2015 BRIGANCE.
· 50% of all Kentucky kindergarten students scored Ready on the Fall 2015 BRIGANCE.
Based on the positive results of this expansion, along with the interest and excitement of the school district and other funders, a plan was developed to expand to serve 1,200 in summer 2016. Subsequently, the C. E. and S. Foundation committed $500,000 toward a $1 million budget for the 2016 program.