Education Week’s special correspondent Lisa Stark visited Portland, Oregon, to report on Portland Public School’s Early Kindergarten Transition (EKT) program for PBS’s NewsHour. The segment also featured research conducted by NWEA and the Multnomah County Partnership for Education Research (MCPER) which found that, overall, students who participated in EKT showed higher attendance rates and higher early literacy skill growth when compared to their non-participating peers.
Offered in a dozen Title I elementary schools in Portland Public Schools, the EKT program is designed to help families with students who may struggle with the transition to kindergarten. These are primarily children who have not had a structured preschool experience, have a primary language other than English, or have had attendance or behavior issues while enrolled in Head Start. The targeted intervention is a free, three-week summer program that aims to increase parental involvement, reduce chronic absenteeism, and enhance the development of early literacy skills—all early indicators of long-term academic success.
During the program, incoming kindergarteners work with teachers to practice school routines and gain literacy skills, and parents connect with school staff and learn how to support their children’s learning at home. You can see the program in action in the PBS NewsHour story, This kindergarten sneak preview helps families hit the ground running.
“The EKT program helps school staff develop strong, authentic partnerships with families and students before school starts,” said Nancy Hauth, Program Manager of Kindergarten and Early Learning at Portland Public Schools. “This early ‘home to school’ connection is powerful and helps all of our students succeed. We’re thrilled that the results of our EKT program validate that we are on the right path with our youngest students.”
Hauth, PPS Community Liaison and EKT Program Family Facilitator Fernando Madrid, and I have also submitted a SXSW EDU submission (Ready to Learn: Easing Transition to Kindergarten) about the program. We could use your votes!
Here’s how to vote for Ready to Learn: Easing Transition to Kindergarten:
The deadline is August 30, so vote soon! You can also read more about the EKT program here on our blog.