Jumpstart: Winner's Statement
CEO: Rob Waldron
Previous winner: 2004, 2005
What it does: Jumpstart recruits and trains college students to work with low-income preschool children and their families, stimulating and interacting with children to develop neurological skills and promote school success. The goal is three-pronged: to provide kids with one-on-one mentoring and instruction, to involve families in their kids' education, and to inspire college students to pursue preschool teaching careers.
Results: The number of kids in Jumpstart programs increased by 33% in 2004. And annual assessments show those participants make greater gains in school readiness skills than their peers.
Aspiration and growth: A-
Jumpstart's mission is to work toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Founded on the belief that all children-regardless of social or economic circumstance-deserve an equal chance for success in school and in life, Jumpstart addresses the economic, educational, and social problems of school readiness to remedy the achievement gap for young children.
Young children need Jumpstart. The state of childhood education in the United States is alarming: 35% of children in America enter school unprepared to learn.
By kindergarten, on average, a child from a middle-income background has received up to 1,700 hours of one-to-one reading time while a child from a low-income background has received only 25. As a result, at first grade, the middle income child will have a vocabulary that is four times greater than his low-income peers. Since a child's knowledge of the alphabet in kindergarten is the strongest predictor of reading ability in 10 grade, this discrepancy is telling.
Jumpstart works to create an environment of lifelong learning for children by directly combating this school readiness gap. Jumpstart's unique program model builds school success for young children, inspires college students to become future teachers and leaders in education, and involves families in their child's learning experiences. All of these elements are echoed in the story of Jennifer:
Jennifer, now a third-grade teacher in Boston, is a former Jumpstart Corps member. Recently, she reunited with her Jumpstart partner child, Cheri, whom Jennifer mentored five years ago while a junior in college. When Jennifer first met Cheri, she was significantly behind her peers, barely able to use words. At this reunion, however, Cheri's father was thrilled to tell Jennifer that his daughter, now 9, had just won the Mayor's award for outstanding academic achievement. He thanked Jennifer for supporting and guiding Cheri, but Jennifer insisted it was she who should thank Cheri since she was Jennifer's inspiration to teach in the Boston Public Schools.
In Boston and all 60 locations across the country, Jennifer and thousands like her help Jumpstart address America's education crisis through a three-pronged strategy:
- Reduce the early education gap: Jumpstart Corps members provide each child with up to 300 hours of one-to-one reading time and individualized attention over the course of a school year.
- Transform preschool systems: Corps members dedicate time weekly to support teachers in their child's classroom, thereby improving the student/teacher ratio at 200 preschools nationwide.
- Create a pipeline of highly qualified teachers: Through intense, yearlong training, Jumpstart equips and inspires college students to become teachers and advocates for early education.
Today, nearly 10,000 children benefit from the 2,500 Jumpstart Corps members engaged in service. Jumpstart has quadrupled the number of children served over the past five years, while reducing the cost to serve each child. This efficient growth has allowed Jumpstart to make a significant regional and national impact. Jumpstart's Corps is now so large that the organization has increased the number of adults serving low-income 4-year-old preschoolers by 5% nationwide; in cities such as Boston and San Francisco, this figure is as high as 70%.
Jumpstart pairs growth with continued improvement in its impact on each child. Annual evaluation assures us that Jumpstart has a clear impact on the children it serves: Children enrolled in Jumpstart make statistically significant greater progress in school readiness skills than children who are not enrolled in Jumpstart. Lauded by Harvard Business School for performance measurement, Jumpstart continues assessing its impact on children, aiming to improve upon prior years, until one day every child in America will enter school prepared.
The above Winner's Statement was provided by the profiled organization.