- Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A study has found that an early learning program at Portland Public Schools has been successful.

The three-week pre-kindergarten program is aimed at students whose primary language is not English and did not attend preschool prior to entering grade school. It’s offered for free at about a dozen high-poverty schools in the district during the summer.

Multnomah County Partnership For Education researchers followed 450 students who participated in the program throughout a five-year period.

The study found that the participants had higher attendance rates and better literacy skills than others who did not join the program, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported (https://bit.ly/2qjZeE5 ) Wednesday. The students continued to perform well in later years, according to the study.

The study’s lead researcher Beth Tarasawa said students with low attendance and reading skills are more likely to become dropouts, so the findings on the program were exciting.

The district had begun the program in 2010 when teachers noticed that students who hadn’t gone through preschool or head start were struggling to transition to school.

Students in the program are given daily morning kindergarten training with a teacher from their school. Program officials also meet with parents twice a week to go over how to support the students at home.

Portland mother Ngoc Nguyen put her younger son into the program so that he would feel more comfortable in school and so she could connect with other parents.

Her son’s worries about school went away after the program, and she wishes it had been around when her first child entered school.

“My son didn’t know anything about school,” Nguyen said. “He was so unsure and kind of afraid. After, he really liked it. They helped him step by step know the rules and routine every day.”

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, https://www.oregonlive.com


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