Waterford UPSTART Named a 2019 Audacious Project



(SALT LAKE CITY, UT) April 16, 2019 — Each year, 2.2 million four-year-old children in the United States do not have access to publicly-funded early education. More than half of those 2.2 million are under-resourced children with no early education options at all. Waterford UPSTART has been named a 2019 Audacious project, helping overcome access barriers like availability, transportation, and cost to expand access to early learning opportunities for children across the nation.

The Goal of Waterford UPSTART
Waterford UPSTART has one goal: to ensure that every child arrives to kindergarten on day one ready to learn. Research shows that under-resourced children who arrive to kindergarten without basic skills are 25% more likely to drop out of school, 40% more likely to become teen parents, and 60% less likely to attend college.

What is The Audacious Project?
The Audacious Project was launched in April 2018 with a mission to foster “collaborative philanthropy for bold ideas.” Housed at TED (the nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading) and operated with support through The Bridgespan Group (a leading social impact advisor to nonprofits and NGOs, philanthropists, and investors), The Audacious Project brings together some of the most respected organizations and individuals in philanthropy—the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite, Dalio Foundation, and more.

The Audacious Project surfaces and funds critical projects with the potential to create global change. By removing barriers associated with funding, The Audacious Project empowers social entrepreneurs to dream boldly and take on the world’s biggest and most urgent challenges. The 2019 projects include: Center for Policing Equity, Educate Girls, Institute for Protein Design at the UW School of Medicine, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the END Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Thorn, and Waterford UPSTART.

What is Waterford UPSTART?
Waterford UPSTART is a school-readiness project providing access to early education for underserved and unserved populations across the country.

  • Waterford UPSTART empowers parents as their child’s first and most influential teachers. Parents say the project fuels their engagement in their child’s learning and readiness for kindergarten.
  • Waterford UPSTART improves child outcomes. Research and multiple independent evaluations show that children who graduate from Waterford UPSTART outperform their peers in foundational literacy skills with improved outcomes persisting over time.
  • Waterford UPSTART is flexible. It works as a standalone for unserved children or as an extension for underserved children in early childhood programs needing a cognitive boost.
  • Waterford UPSTART works for all children. It produces strong outcomes across all demographic groups.

How does Waterford UPSTART work?
Waterford UPSTART helps four-year-old children develop foundational academic and cognitive skills at home by using the software just 15 minutes a day, five days a week in the year before kindergarten. Importantly, the project also supports families with a personal coach to help them every step of the way and provides Chromebooks and Internet access at no cost to families with financial need.

Waterford UPSTART Provides Life-Changing Results and Lasting Impact
Waterford UPSTART has been implemented in more than 15 states across the United States. On average, 92% of children who participate in Waterford UPSTART are ready for kindergarten—compared to a 65% average nationwide and 48% for under-resourced children. Waterford UPSTART has been validated by eight years of rigorous external evaluations in Utah, and a third-party randomized-controlled trial (RCT) shows strong evidence of effectiveness.

These learning gains last over time. A longitudinal study conducted by the Utah State Board of Education shows Waterford UPSTART children outperform their peers on state standardized tests in literacy skills all the way through the fourth grade. These gains were consistent across all subgroups, including special education (SPED), minority, under-resourced, and English Language Learner (ELL) populations.

What’s Next – Waterford UPSTART coming to new states – Fall 2019
As an Audacious project, Waterford UPSTART will be coming to a number of states over the next year! This fall Waterford UPSTART will expand to California, Nevada, Connecticut, Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota, welcoming families to take advantage of this proven effective project. More locations and future expansion will be announced in the coming months.

To learn more about Waterford UPSTART and their plan to reach more children in need, visit WaterfordUPSTART.org or contact:

Kim Fischer
Public Relations Manager
Waterford UPSTART

Jacob Hanson
PR with Panache


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