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Preschool Promise students more prepared for kindergarten, officials say

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Local officials say Dayton and Montgomery County’s Preschool Promise program is making a positive impact.

According to Robyn Lightcap, executive director of Dayton-Montgomery County Preschool Promise, state test scores show the program’s students are more prepared for kindergarten than their peers.

“He tells me stuff every day that he learns and he’s super excited about it,” said Lakesia Fletcher, who sends her four-year-old son Giovanni to preschool at Montgomery County Mini University.

“I like a lot of trains,” Giovanni said of preschool.

As a single mom, Fletcher said, it would have been much harder to send her son to class there if it weren’t for Preschool Promise.

“To prepare him for kindergarten basically,” Fletcher said. “Because there’s other people outside his circle that could teach him more than what I could teach him at home.”

At a Dayton city commission meeting Wednesday, Lightcap said the program’s students are more prepared for kindergarten based on test scores from Ohio’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA).

Based on KRA test results from students who attended Preschool Promise programs during the 2017-2018 school year, the first year for the program in the entire city of Dayton, 57 percent more students in Dayton Public Schools who attended Preschool Promise programs achieved scores that “demonstrated” readiness for kindergarten compared to those who did not attend, Lightcap said.

In Kettering City Schools, 46 percent more students from Preschool Promise sites “demonstrated” readiness for kindergarten as opposed to those who were not enrolled in the program, she added.

Preschool Promise students also performed better on the language and literacy subtest, scoring 19 percentage points higher in Dayton Public Schools and 26 points higher in Kettering City Schools than their peers who were not enrolled at Preschool Promise sites, according to data from officials.

Officials want Preschool Promise to reach more four-year-olds, particularly on Dayton’s east side, Lightcap said.

“You never know who’s going to be going to who for advice,” said Matt Joseph, Dayton city commissioner. “So I think just spreading the word, educating people on the importance of putting kids in for that four-year-old year, getting them preschool, making sure they’re prepared.”

Nearly 75 percent of four-year-olds who lived within the Dayton public school district attended Preschool Promise programs during the 2018-2019 school year, Lightcap said.

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