- Problem: There is a clear academic achievement gap for low-income children. We learned that access to pre-K education significantly minimizes this achievement gap and helps ensure that all children receive a quality education that enables them to succeed beyond high school.
- Solutions: Increased enrollment and classroom expansion for low-income preschoolers.
- Results: Between 90 and 100% of enrolled children in three- and four-year-old classrooms are low-income. Significant achievement gap decreases, with as many as 100% of students passing 3rd grade PALS standardized tests. The City and County will continue to collaboratively expand to have 20+ pre-K classrooms and to increase enrollment to all children.
A quality education for all ought to be the backbone of every community. When all children succeed in school and are prepared for life after high school, there is a significant effect on the community at-large.
However, not all children–especially low-income and minority–in Charlottesville-Albemarle receive a quality education, and there is a clear achievement gap between these students and children who are given a head start in life. The evidence exists that attending pre-school is vital to creating the foundation for later success in school and beyond. Through IMPACT’s research process during 2009-2010, we learned that low-income Kindergardeners consistently underperformed relative to their peers. In fact, the pass rates on KPALs tests for low-income Albemarle County children were only 68% and for low-income Charlottesville City children a shocking 26%.
In March of 2010, we pressed City and County Superintendents and School Boards to prioritize low-income children for pre-K enrollment and expand the number of locally funded pre-K classrooms.
As a result, between 90% and 100% of enrolled children in three- and four-year-old classrooms are designated low-income and significant achievement gap decreases have been measured, with as many as 100% of students passing 3rd grade PALS standardized tests. The City and County will continue to collaboratively expand to have 20+ pre-K classrooms and to increase enrollment to all children. A more detailed report may be found here.