Dana E.
Contra Costa
As Superintendent for the Brentwood Union School District, out of 1,000 transitional and traditional kindergarten students arriving for the 2015-2016 school year, 400 will already be behind in school. In the ongoing debate about universal preschool, the severity of the challenge is often glossed over. 40% of children start kindergarten behind, with 50% of those at least 2 years behind. Multiple research studies show that this range in academic achievement continues and even widens as students transition from kindergarten to high school. Simply put, children who start behind in school often stay behind in school. The research by Hart and Risely shows that children in high-income families hear approximately 30 million more words than children in low-income families before they even start school. Since over 85% of a pre-school age student's vocabulary is derived directly from their parents and caregivers, the language exposure for children from poverty is dramatically different. We believe our community can dramatically increase the % of students who are academically prepared to start school if we work together. We have joined together with several wonderful non-profit organizations, committed to a common vision statement, "When a child and family start Transitional Kindergarten/Kindergarten, they will have the skills they need to succeed." Our first event was so successful that we are next holding a "Parent Power! Kindergarten Readiness" event on April 25, 2015.