The latest report card on San Antonio's sales-tax funded Pe-K 4 SA program is in, and not only are the four year olds who are enrolled in the city's groundbreaking early childhood education program scoring ahead of their peers on key learning benchmarks, Pre-K CEO Sarah Baray says they are also scoring well on a very important quality, what is called 'executive function,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Executive function, which can also be scored by established testing, is a students self control, his or her ability to 'control thoughts, emotions, and actions.' A failure of executive function is seen as a key component of crime and violence in society.
"Executive function is the ability to multi task and control our behaviors in order to achieve a goal," Baray said. "The best time to achieve that is in the three to five year old range."
She says for the fifth straight year, students who are enrolled in Pre-K 4 SA are outshining their peers in cognitive skills, mathematics, literacy and language, which is significant because many of the students were trailing before enrolling in the program.
"The Board of Directors is pleased to see contrinued positive growth with each class of Pre-K 4 SA students," Board Chair Elaine Mendoza said. "We are confident that the results of this evaluation indicate the Pre-K 4 SA teaching methods and high quality instruction are benefiting children."
But Baray says the executive function scores may be the most impressive, because that shows that Pre-K 4 SA is not only creating smart students, it is also creating good future citizens.
"This is the fifth year in a row that our students are seeing tremendous progress," she said. "What excited me the most is the connection to quality teaching."
She says not only is Pre-K 4 SA itself expanding, it is also branching out into the city's public and private schools, training pre-K instructors there on the quality teaching methods which have become so successful at the four Pre-K 4 SA learning centers.
She says Pre-K 4 SA provides more than 10,000 hours of coaching and training to more than 2,000 educator each year.