Waterford Institute, the nonprofit provider of the Waterford UPSTART online kindergarten readiness program, today announced that it has been awarded an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Expansion Grant from the United States Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement.
The EIR program supports entities that design, generate, and validate solutions to persistent educational challenges and supports the expansion of effective solutions to serve substantially larger numbers of students.
Totaling $14.2 million, the five-year grant will enable the Waterford Institute to launch Waterford UPSTART pilot programs in Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, and Montana, affording children in each of these states complimentary access to its kindergarten readiness program.
Designed to help 4- and 5-year-old children prepare for kindergarten, Waterford UPSTART offers an online curriculum including more than 2,500 free online reading, science, and math lessons, along with 360 digital books, 330 animated songs, and more than 450 instructional hours.
Longitudinal studies have shown that graduates of Waterford UPSTART outperform nonparticipants, regardless of demographics, and the greatest gains were seen in at-risk populations. Additionally, these sustained gains continue through the 4 grade.
Waterford UPSTART will be available to parents and students in all of the new pilot states by fall of 2019.