At the Wichita Falls Independent School District, Texas, we believe every student deserves to start his academic career at the same start line. It is undoubtedly a matter of justice and justice, but it is also a practical matter. If students fall behind in their first year of schooling (5 to 7 years), it will be much harder to get them into grade with age. In short, the biggest advantage of our money in developing solid students of all grades is that you start early and make sure they have a solid foundation.
However, students who need the most help often face a number of other challenges in their lives, from unstable home environments to poverty and hunger and other adverse childhood experiences (ACE). We have found that the commitment to focus on school readiness, engage with community organizations and, if necessary, seek technology support can help provide the right tools to students.
Find your approach
The focus of our student preparation is on success. It’s that simple. We’ve decided to make early learning a priority and the rest followed him.
In practice, this means we have a director for early learning, dr. Travis Armstrong, have discontinued. It focuses exclusively on students who are not yet attending school in kindergarten. We have an early learning specialist and a curriculum expert working in the field of teacher education. We also have three own Head-Start campuses, a Pre-K campus and Head-Start or Pre-K programs that run on 13 other campuses.
As part of our Parents as Teachers program, we have a head teacher and six full-time teachers who go to children’s homes once a week after the age of two. They help parents become their children’s first teacher so they can better prepare for school. This work is in part possible through a scholarship from the Texas Home Visitation Program, which we receive from our partnership with the United Way of North Texas Area, which focuses on children who have not yet joined a Head Start program. or pre-K.
This leaves us around 100 students who, due to a lack of transport, childcare arrangements or other reasons, do not receive high-quality educational opportunities. For these children, we offer a mixed learning solution called Waterford UPSTART, which provides an online curriculum for kindergartens.
Families who can not afford it will receive a free laptop and an internet connection. Five days a week, children spend 15 minutes a day preparing for kindergarten. Dr. Armstrong says that for the first time in all his school years, he did not have to take a family off school because of lack of resources. Waterford UPSTART has really helped us fill this gap.
Support your families
We also found that it is important to address the areas of life of young students, where schools traditionally have less involvement. Again, there are children who need the most help to get to the starting line, often facing other obstacles that affect their early learning. “Poverty has a direct impact on academic performance, as there are insufficient resources for the students’ success,” says a study by Educational Research and Reviews. “Low performance is closely related to the lack of resources, and numerous studies have documented the link between low socioeconomic status and poor performance.” There is a direct link between families with difficulties and the preparation of their students for learning and later for their reading.
To mitigate this, we offer meals. For example, this summer we are providing children under 18 with more than 25,000 meals. Most of them were probably less than 10 years old. We also help parents receive interview interview interviews and find day care. Otherwise we connect parents with resources and services through our social workers.
If we want to give children the best chance of success, we have to do everything we can to help our families in trouble.
Touch your community
As important as these types of immersive services are, they can be a real challenge as they are not part of the traditional task of a school district. For it to work, it has to do with associations.
We partnered with our local food bank to feed these children. We have partnered with our Community Health Clinic and are currently building a full-service dental clinic on one of our grounds. In addition to the Parents as Teachers program, we teamed up with United Way in an early childhood coalition. We work closely with out-of-school operators such as Boys and Girls Club, Campfire and YMCA, as well as non-primary care and pre-school facilities. In addition, we have several local foundations that have helped us with the additional resources needed to manage the toxic stress of families.
So far, we have held three summits to bring together our social services and early childhood education providers to focus on ACEs. These include, for example, poverty, medical or dental malpractice, insufficient oversight and neglect in education. A pivotal study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente found a correlation between the amount of ACE a child experiences and all sorts of negative consequences, including alcohol and substance abuse, the risk of partner violence, fetal death, and ischemic Heart disease and more.
It is imperative that we do everything in our power to connect our families with the services that help them, even if it reduces stress. By creating a supportive community for our children even before they become our disciples, we give them a start they otherwise might not have had.