Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Opinion
Education Opinion

Utah Program Taps Technology to Close Kindergarten-Readiness Gap

By Matthew Lynch — May 23, 2016 1 min read

A program in Utah is aiming to reach preschool age children and close the kindergarten readiness gap. Many children are not attending preschool and are arriving to kindergarten already behind their more affluent peers. Some of these children do not speak English, are not able to sit still and haven’t mastered basic skills necessary for learning. Many Utah children do not attend preschool due to cost or programs being inconveniently located. The Waterford Institute, a nonprofit, created a software platform for four-year-olds to prepare them for kindergarten.

Funded by the state of Utah, the program called UPSTART was launched 7 years ago. The 4-year-old and parent or caregiver are instructed to devote 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week using the software. UPSTART teaches the alphabet, numbers, how to spell your name and incorporates songs and games to entice the user. For families who didn’t already have a computer and internet capabilities, the state provides these free of charge.

Nearly 20,000 Utah children have used the UPSTART program to date. A recent study demonstrated that after one year of use, the software had a positive, lasting impact and was able to provide students with a strong academic start. Use of UPSTART has begun to address the gap in achievement between lower income children and middle income students. All children using UPSTART made beneficial gains, including low income children, special needs and English language learners.

South Carolina and Idaho are now interested in the software and plan on pilot testing this year. The reports show that use of UPSTART is one way to begin to close the kindergarten readiness gap and provide low income children with a beneficial start.

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools
Head of Lower School
San Diego, California
San Diego Jewish Academy

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read