Silicon Valley has some of the wealthiest families living in the Bay Area region, and some of the poorest. The Mayfair neighborhood in east San Jose has more than 20,000 residents, the majority of whom are very low-income. Somos Mayfair, a neighborhood organization, commissioned ASR to conduct two school readiness assessments of entering kindergarten students at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, one in 2011 and most recently in 2012.
The first round of assessments in 2011 showed that only 14% of entering kindergarten students at Cesar Chavez Elementary School were strong in all four domains of readiness (i.e., Academics, Self-Regulation, Social Expression and Self-Care & Motor Skills). Fast-forwarding to the assessment conducted a year later (2012), 20% of entering kindergarten students were strong in all four domains. A six percent increase over the course of one year!
Both assessments also looked at the proportion of entering kindergarten students who have readiness skills that are predictive of 3rd grade success on standardized tests in English and Math. In 2012, 17% of entering kindergarten students had skills set predictive of later success as compared to 14% in 2011.
The goals of this second assessment were to not only monitor changes in school readiness from 2011 to 2012, but to also explore how early education experiences, parental practices and the programs offered through Somos Mayfair, funded by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, may be supporting readiness. The findings showed that students who had received services through Somos Mayfair, the only FIRST 5 Santa Clara County Family Resource Center in the Mayfair neighborhood, had significantly higher readiness scores. Additionally, when examining the family and child factors that are related to children’s readiness and early literacy, several factors showed associations with readiness levels including: preschool attendance, access to local community resources (e.g., museums), and parents’ involvement in games with their children.
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