A rural Georgia district is meeting its future students where they are, whether the crib or cradle.
In a unique program that seeks to get an early start on school readiness, the Heard County School System is creating a formal outreach program to parents and babies. The goal is to capitalize on the unique brain development that occurs between birth and age 3, a period in which research now shows it’s possible to increase IQ and cognitive ability.
Heard Superintendent Rodney Kay says, “Like all school systems in Georgia, Heard County has wrestled with the idea of improving student achievement. We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on remediation programs, after-school tutoring, cram-and-slam study sessions and summer school. We have built remediation time into the daily schedules at most of our schools. Yet, we are still not satisfied with our results.”
The system launched Baby Braves, named for the school mascot. The initiative includes visits to the home of parents and babies by a district representative and annual invitations to the local elementary school to meet their future teachers and learn how to enhance school readiness. The system also gives families materials designed to promote engagement and learning.
Kay explains: “Rather than spending remediation money at the high school, middle school, elementary school or pre-k levels to fix the problem, what if we spent the money reaching out to new parents and educating them on how to prepare their children for pre-K and school success?”
To read more about Heard’s program, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog.
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