Education

Boise preschool students ahead of their peers in reading readiness

Preschool takes root in Boise’s Vista neighborhood

Sixty preschoolers from the Vista Neighborhood get a jump on kindergarten in November 2015 through the Energize Our Neighborhoods Pre-K project, a partnership of the city of Boise, the Boise School District and others. The project earned Boise a C
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Sixty preschoolers from the Vista Neighborhood get a jump on kindergarten in November 2015 through the Energize Our Neighborhoods Pre-K project, a partnership of the city of Boise, the Boise School District and others. The project earned Boise a C

Boise School District’s preschool program begun last November has shown positive results in preparing students to read, district officials say.

Eighty-three percent of preschool students who left the program at Hawthorne and Whitney elementaries to attend kindergarten this year showed they were ready to learn to read, according to a short statewide assessment given to students in the fall. That compares with 50 percent of students who were not enrolled in the preschool, funded with city and nonprofit support.

Based on those results, district Superintendent Don Coberly called the pre-K program a “smashing success” in the Data Points column he regularly writes for the district’s website. Only 35 preschool students were tested in the kindergarten program this fall. Coberly said the district will continue to follow these students to see how they develop, as well as assess new students entering kindergarten from the two preschools.

Both preschool classes, which total about 60 students, began last November as part of a city project to beef up the Vista neighborhood. United Way of Treasure Valley, Micron Foundation and others contributed money to run the preschool program. The state has declined to put money into preschool programs in Idaho, contending that early education is a family matter and that the state needs to concentrate resources on kindergarten and above.

“I think there is evidence those kids got a good background in pre-reading skills,” said Ann Farris, area director for schools in the Boise High area.

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