Recently, a Southern California school district did what every district in the state of California should do. Azusa Unified School District passed a board resolution identifying the district as a Pre-K through 12th grade district. At its August 1st meeting, the Azusa Unified Board of Education passed the resolution with the help and support of Children Now, a national, state, and local research, policy and advocacy organization that works to improve the lives of kids.
Azusa Unified is located in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County. The district serves over 8,700 Pre-K through 12th grade students, which includes 12 elementary, three middle and three high schools, as well as an adult school and an alternative education center.
If you are interested in presenting this resolution to your local school board members, you can can access resources and support at www.childrennow.org/
Here is a sample resolution that can be used by other districts to identify their district as a Pre-K through 12 district. The template can be customized and used by any district wishing to prioritize and affirm its commitment to early education and expand Pre-K programs through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
For decades, studies have found that children who attend preschool are better prepared for kindergarten than those who do not. Access to preschool has been difficult to find, but that is changing slowly. Other studies have concluded that the overall long term benefits of a preschool education include increased academic motivation, a life-long reduction in negative behaviors, and many other measurable continuing benefits. Often, preschool programs have been almost impossible to access and especially for children living in poverty. Take a look at this graph:
So why isn’t every district committed to Preschool expansion? It’s time to have a discussion with your local school board and find out why not. This is a conversation that parents and community members need to start, especially in cities where there are not many preschool options.
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