Napa Valley Early Learning Initiative (NVELI)

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Closing the academic achievement gap

The Napa Valley Early Learning Initiative aims to reduce the achievement gap by supporting children, their families and the early learning professionals who work with them. We want to close the academic achievement gap between English-fluent students and English language-learning students to help ensure children’s success in life. NVELI strives to do just that by investing in high-quality early learning experiences for children before they enter kindergarten. Research supports that every public dollar spent on high-quality early learning results in future savings on education, crime reduction and social services.

The ultimate goal of the NVELI is to ensure that every child in Napa County enters kindergarten ready to learn. To realize this goal, Napa Valley Vintners committed up to $5 million over 3-5 years and created a partnership with First 5 Napa County as the experts in early childhood learning and development. NVELI launched in June of 2013 with the rollout of program funding. We are currently in the fourth year of the Initiative.

Which neighborhoods are involved?

The NVELI elected to pilot the program in four high-need elementary school neighborhoods: American Canyon’s Napa Junction; Napa’s Shearer and Phillips; and Calistoga’s Elementary School. Our hope is that NVELI will become a model for supporting and enhancing existing community services while building collaboration among all who affect a child’s early education.

The approach

NVELI has four components with strategies, activities and outcomes to reduce the achievement gap in Napa County:

  1. Family Strengthening which includes engaging hard to reach families and supporting parents in learning English while providing their children with enhanced childcare.
  2. Child Access that provides more high quality preschool experiences and provides summer preschool experiences to support children entering kindergarten.
  3. Provider Quality to support preschool teachers with the skills and coaching to best serve English language learning students.
  4. System Change to assure an integrated, clear and streamlined process for funding and communication about NVELI. Ensure coordination and integration of services for children and families participating in NVELI and the supporting the larger ecosystem of early education in our community.

To date more than 3,000 ESL students and their families have been served through Initiative services.

As we round out the third year our data clearly shows that in combination our services support kindergarten readiness for students. These gains are expected to last throughout the child’s academic career in part because of the emphasis we place on the family as their child’s first and most important teachers.

Just a sample of other success:

Family Strengthening

Parents made statistically significant gains in the following early learning development practices:

  • Read or share books 2+ times a week
  • Read for more than 10 minutes
  • Follow regular reading routines

Child Access

Children demonstrate an increase in kindergarten academic readiness skills. Children made statistically significant gains in the following kindergarten readiness skills:

  • Number recognition
  • Counting
  • Shape recognition
  • Letter recognition
  • Color recognition

For more information, contact Michelle Laymon

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