Monday, October 30, 2017


In September, 2016, we wrote about the impressive results of the first year of the Boise Pre-k program; 83% of students who attended the Pre-k program were at "grade level" or "ready to read" when they entered kindergarten, as opposed to half of those who did not participate in the program.

The Boise Pre-k program is a collaborative venture among the Boise District, the city of Boise, the United Way, Micron Foundation, and other community partners. Two outstanding teachers, Sheila Dengler-Shaw and Grace Ruddy, teach two sessions each of the program at Whitney and Hawthorne, respectively. Each of the two schools have high percentages of students who qualify for the federal free/reduced lunch program.

Year 2 Results

Here are the combined results for Whitney and Hawthorne Pre-k students on the Fall 2017 Idaho Reading Indicator, along with "ready to read" percentages for students not enrolled in the Pre-k program and the Boise District as a whole.

Year 1 Cohort - Mobility and Spring Kindergarten Results

Of the first year cohort, only 60% (24) of the 44 Pre-k enrollees who took the fall Kindergarten IRI in 2016 are still at Hawthorne and Whitney. As we wrote previously, high-poverty schools are typically high-mobility schools, as well. Of the 20 who are in different schools, 6 are enrolled in other Boise bench elementary schools, and 14 have moved out of the Boise District.

Among the 30 students who were enrolled in Boise Schools during kindergarten, here's the IRI data for fall and spring of the 2016-17 school year:

So, 2 students from the first cohort went from scores of "3" on the IRI  to a score of "2" in the spring. However, 3 students moved from a score of "1" (intensive) to a score of "2". The percentage of first cohort "3" scores remained higher than that of the total percentage at the two schools.

First Year Cohort First Grade Results 

We are currently undertaking an analysis of Fall 1st grade scores for the first cohort of Pre-k students. We are concerned about how the "summer slide", decline in reading performance over the summer, has affected students from the Pre-k project. We know that, in the past, students from low-income schools often have made dramatic gains during the school year, only to see the gains disappear during the summer.