EDUCATION STRATEGIES

Anyone who has ever worked to improve education understands that it is a cradle-to-career responsibility. Education starts at birth, and children learn wherever they are. That’s why United Way of Northwest Arkansas is putting emphasis on four education focus areas:
GOAL: Engage young children in environments that promote kindergarten readiness

School Readiness

Too many children begin school already far behind. Low income children are less likely to be read to regularly or to have access to books, literacy-rich environments, high-quality early care, and pre-kindergarten programs. As a consequence, these children may hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their peers before reaching kindergarten. Right now only 29% of eligible three-year olds and 59% of eligible four-year olds have access to Arkansas’s Pre-K program. High-quality early childhood education has proven to be the most promising strategy to help less- advantaged children start school with the same potential for learning as their peers.

Potential Community Level Performance Indicators:

  • Number/percent of children who are assessed as ready for kindergarten based on the Iowa Early Learning Inventory (IELI) assessment.
  • Number/percent of children who are assessed as ready for kindergarten based on the Qualls Early Learning Inventory (QELI) assessment.
  • Number/percent of existing licensed child care providers meeting Better Beginnings certification standards.

Potential Community Level Performance Indicators:

  • Number/percent of children who are assessed as ready for kindergarten based on the Iowa Early Learning Inventory (IELI) assessment.
  • Number/percent of children who are assessed as ready for kindergarten based on the Qualls Early Learning Inventory (QELI) assessment.
  • Number/percent of existing licensed child care providers meeting Better Beginnings certification standards.
GOAL: All children are reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

Early Grade Reading Proficiency

According to the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a student’s ability to read at grade level by the end of third grade is one of the most important indicators of school success and high school graduation. Reading proficiently by the end of third grade impacts a variety of outcomes such as:

  • Children’s ability to learn after third grade
  • Children’s academic outcomes as measured by tests, and grades
  • Non-academic outcomes such as self-esteem and behavioral issues
  • The strength of our area’s economy over the long term

Potential Community Level Performance Indicators:

  • Number/percent of 3rd grade students reading proficiently.
  • Potential Number/percent of students matched with a tutor/reading program

Potential Community Level Performance Indicators:

  • Number/percent of 3rd grade students reading proficiently.
  • Potential Number/percent of students matched with a tutor/reading program

GOAL: Provide quality out-of-school opportunities that reinforce and enhance learning opportunities.

Out of School Opportunities

Research shows that poor transitions into and out of the middle grades are strongly linked to failure to finish high school. Poor academic preparation and performance, deepening disengagement, and an increase in risk-taking behaviors lead many youth to drop out of school. Fortunately, there are proven methods for boosting both middle-grade success and on-time high school graduation. These are the areas where we need to concentrate our efforts.

Potential Community Level Performance Indicators:

  • Percent/number of students who are involved in extracurricular activities or community groups.
  • Percent/number of youth attending school regularly.
  • Percent/number of youth advancing to the next grade level.

Potential Community Level Performance Indicators:

  • Percent/number of students who are involved in extracurricular activities or community groups.
  • Percent/number of youth attending school regularly.
  • Percent/number of youth advancing to the next grade level.
GOAL: High school students graduate on time.

High School Graduation

The economic consequences of not graduating from high school are severe. High school dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, spend time in poverty, use more public assistance and be on death row than people who have a high school diploma.

Potential Community Level Performance Indicators:

  • Number of students retained in school.
  • Percent/number of students who graduate on time.
  • Percent/number of high school graduates attributable to intervention and social support services.

Potential Community Level Performance Indicators:

  • Number of students retained in school.
  • Percent/number of students who graduate on time.
  • Percent/number of high school graduates attributable to intervention and social support services.