United Way’s helping kids get ready for kindergarten and long-term academic success
The “Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids” (SPARK) project is a nationally demonstrated project initially supported by the Kellogg Foundation that has shown significant results at improving kindergarten readiness among low-income children in urban, rural, and suburban settings in six states and Washington D.C. In Ohio, SPARK was piloted five years ago in Stark County with the support of the Kellogg Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton.
An evaluation of the project conducted by the University of Akron found that children whose families participated in the program scored higher on the state’s kindergarten readiness assessment test than other children from the same school district. In addition, the gains shown by these children held up over time and these children also had better math and reading skills than their peers through grade three.
The local project will work with families with 3 and 4-year-old children in the Cleveland Heights/University Heights and Maple Heights school districts, recruiting 100 4-year-old children and 50 3-year-old children within a three-year timeframe, and following their progress from preschool through grade three.
The project will: