Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success, which is why United Way places the highest priority on working with systems and partners to ensure children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn.
When United Way launched the Bold Goals for Our Region in education, income and health in 2011, three of the six goals were tied to education:
The above three goals essentially build upon one another, with the catalyst being kindergarten readiness.
High-quality early learning environments are effective in preparing children for school, work and life. Throughout the region, United Way Success By 6® is the driving force behind ensuring that families get the support they need to help young children succeed. Success By 6® has been influential in developing a new kindergarten readiness initiative in Northern Kentucky: the “Me and My School” Kindergarten Transition Project.
Me And My School
Because many preschool and home visitation programs operate on a school year schedule, many children are left without a quality program during the three months of summer prior to kindergarten. In the fall of 2013, Success By 6® began working with early childhood partners to define and develop a summer program ready to launch in spring of 2014. Thus, the “Me and My School” Kindergarten Transition Project was born.
“Me and My School” is a six-week summer “kindergarten boot camp” geared toward children who will enter kindergarten in the fall. Children become more familiar with their school, their teacher and other staff, and participate in a fun, enriching experience that provides developmentally appropriate activities that promote kindergarten readiness.
“Preparing children for kindergarten is so important for the long-term educational success of this community,” said Amanda Greenwell, director, Success By 6® in Northern Kentucky. “When children are comfortable and confident in kindergarten, they do much better. This effort provides the opportunity for children to become familiar with the school and their teacher, as well as learn or refresh some of the skills necessary for success in kindergarten.”
In end-of-project evaluations in 2014, schools reported that students who attended the “Me and My School” pilot were becoming the “leaders of the class,” and a couple schools reported that “it was the smoothest start to kindergarten that they’d ever had.” From data analyzed, 67% of schools produced higher percentages for kindergarten readiness compared to the students who did not attend.
Currently, the “Me and My School” project is ongoing at eight sites over a six-week period in Northern Kentucky and is looking to increase results in this second year.
“Me and My School” strengthens kindergarten readiness efforts in Northern Kentucky, which includes the United Way Born Learning Academies, developed in 2007 by a partnership of Success By 6®, Kenton County Schools and Northern Kentucky University.
While the Born Learning Academy initiative began here in our region, it is now undergoing replication nationally – a true testament to the hard work and dedication of United Way Success By 6®, Kenton County Schools, Northern Kentucky University, and all others involved.
There are currently 105 academies in the state of Kentucky, with 20 on tap in Northern Kentucky starting this fall:
- A.J. Lindeman Elementary (Erlanger Elsmere)
- Beechgrove Elementary (Kenton County)
- Campbell Ridge Elementary (Campbell County)
- Crossroads Elementary (Campbell County)
- Donald E. Cline Elementary (Campbell County)
- Florence Elementary (Boone County)
- Grandview Elementary (Bellevue Independent)
- Howell Elementary (Erlanger Elsmere)
- J.A. Caywood Elementary (Kenton County)
- John G. Carlisle Elementary (Kenton County)
- John W. Miles Elementary (Erlanger Elsmere)
- Latonia Elementary (Covington Independent)
- Lincoln Elementary (Dayton Independent)
- Mary A. Goetz Elementary (Ludlow Independent)
- Newport Primary (Newport Independent)
- River Ridge Elementary (Kenton County)
- Ryland Elementary (Kenton County)
- Silver Grove Elementary (Silver Grove Independent)
- Southern Elementary (Pendleton County)
- Williamstown Elementary (Williamstown Independent)
To learn more about “Me and My School” or Born Learning Academies in your community, contact Leshia Lyman at Leshia.firstname.lastname@example.org.