Santa Maria Sun / School Scene
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 19
Guadalupe students THRIVE
Preparation is key for the children and students of Guadalupe, and thanks to a $10,000 grant from an anonymous donor, local kids are getting the attention and preparation they need for kindergarten from THRIVE Guadalupe.
The program offers four classes for four weeks, preparing young students for their kindergarten debut.
THRIVE was formed by the First 5 Commission of Santa Barbara County, and is a community collaboration of public and private donors such as the Orfalea Foundations, the James S. Bower foundation, the Hutton Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Foundation.
The goal of the THRIVE program is based on a “cradle-to-career” model to help students succeed, to engage parents in their child’s education, and to create a community with effective schools.
Kindergarten teachers overseeing four classes of 20 kids share classroom routines, how to sit in groups, and development of pre-literacy skills, as well as help children learn to identify shapes, letters, and colors. The program also works with parents and encourages them to get involved with their children.
After two years of meeting with the community, assessment, and choosing the right program for the community based on evidence, the THRIVE program is making headway in Guadalupe.
According to the director for THRIVE Guadalupe, Florene Bednersh, this program is very important for a community such as Guadalupe.
“A lot of these kids have never been exposed to reading,” Bednersh said. “A big goal of THRIVE is to emphasize the importance of early literacy with kids.”
According to Bednersh, 60 percent of the students in Guadalupe have never been to preschool and start out kindergarten behind on their learning skills, and a core concern for the THRIVE program is parent involvement. Bednersh said that they’ve had a positive response from parents at the community meetings.
The program is being implemented at both Mary Buren Elementary and MacKenzie Junior High schools.
Bednersh said there have already been improvements in child preparedness. Using a Kindergarten Screening Entrance Profile developed by UCSD, THRIVE discovered that seven percent of students in Guadalupe are ready for kindergarten after the first year of the program’s implementation. Bednersh said that’s a five percent increase from last year.
Aside from focusing on academic preparations, THRIVE also teaches students about health and development, works with families on strength and involvement, as well as helping kids work past social or emotional behavior issues.
“Guadalupe is a high need community,” Bednersh said. “These parents are actively involved and want their kids to succeed.”
Staff Writer Kristina Sewell compiled this week’s School Scene. Send comments or ideas to the Sun via e-mail at email@example.com.
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