This week, Chamber leaders had a lively visit with Pre-K 4 SA officials and children to learn about the program’s progress and future. Chamber Chairman Rad Weaver, along with Chair-Elect Shaun Kennedy, President & CEO Richard Perez, and others met with Pre-K 4 SA CEO Dr. Sarah Baray to learn about the program’s model and how Pre-K 4 SA is working with community and district partners to improve San Antonio in one generation by changing the educational trajectory of four-year-olds.
Celebrating its fourth year in existence, Pre-K 4 SA serves approximately 2,000 students across its four centers located in each quadrant of the city. Partnering with several of our local ISDs (Edgewood, East Central, Harlandale, North East, Northside, San Antonio, Southside and Southwest), Pre-K 4 SA not only provides full-day Pre-K for eligible students, but it also offers professional development opportunities for educators; competitive grants for public, private, and child development centers; as well as family engagement and outreach opportunities.
While touring the Pre-K 4 SA South Center, Chamber leadership was able to explore the unique classroom designs which allow for increased activity by the children, the outdoor learning environments that include a community garden as well as the arts infusion aspect to the program allowing students to not only learn academically but explore their creative side. Additionally, leaders were able to talk with students as they enjoyed some outdoor activity time.
Most importantly, the Chamber team was able to learn about the progress students are achieving after completing after their year in the program. Measuring cognitive, literacy and math skills, data has shown that students who enter the center behind on each of these measures make significant gains at the completion of their year. In Year 3 under cognitive skills, students were entering Pre-K 4 SA a little more than 19 points below the national average and were almost 18 point above the national average at the end of the year. Similar trends can be seen in literacy where students in Year 3 entered a little over 11 point below the national average and graduate from the program more than 22 points above the national average. Math literacy appears to be where many students are entering closer to the national average at only 6 point below the national average and then improve to more than 33 points above the national average at the end of the year.
At the conclusion of the visit, Chamber leadership congratulated the Pre-K 4 SA team on their accomplishments thus far and committed to working with the program on ensuring continued success for its students and families. “Businesses understand the importance of a quality education and that begins in the early years,” said Weaver. “The Chamber will continue to work with partners in our community who help to educate our youngest citizens, ensuring that they are armed with all the resources needed to succeed in school and in a future of work,” said Perez.
For more information on Pre-K 4 SA please visit their website.
For more information on how you can get engaged in the Chamber’s Education/Workforce Development Council please email Priscilla Camacho.