Education

Boise pre-K experiment will test city-school partnership

Teacher Sheila Dengler-Shaw, left, United Way CEO Nora Carpenter and Boise Superintendent Don Coberly visit a preschool classroom at Whitney Elementary School Friday. The city of Boise partnered with the Boise School District, United Way and Micron, among others, to create the Pre-K program.
Teacher Sheila Dengler-Shaw, left, United Way CEO Nora Carpenter and Boise Superintendent Don Coberly visit a preschool classroom at Whitney Elementary School Friday. The city of Boise partnered with the Boise School District, United Way and Micron, among others, to create the Pre-K program. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

The city of Boise, the Boise School District and other partners will kick off free preschool at two sites beginning Monday.

Boise Superintendent Don Coberly said the model could be one for other school districts and the state to follow to expand pre-K programs, which have proved to prepare students for elementary school.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter hosted a kickoff event Friday at the Whitney Community Center.

“It is a small start ... but we think it is a watershed day for our city and hopefully our state,” said Bieter. “A dollar invested now pays between $7 and $13 later in programs that we don’t have to pay for, whether it is education programs to bring students up to speed or juvenile detention programs. Those of us in public service, I don’t think we know of a better investment.”

The program grew out of an idea by the city to help neighborhoods improve themselves.

The Vista Neighborhood is the first target. Among the projects: increase police presence, improve 11 intersections with no stop signs or signals and provide an updated fire station at the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building at 3575 Overland Road.

A key part of the upgrade is starting the preschools with two classes at Hawthorne Elementary and one at Whitney Elementary, where there are high levels of low-income students, whose circumstances can be barriers to education.

The city of Boise raised about $100,000 privately and will add about $160,000 of taxpayer dollars to launch the program this year. Partners in the project include United Way and Micron.

  Comments