Early Childhood Education in Houston: Are We Preparing Our City’s Children to Succeed?
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 10:00–11:30 A.M.
SMALL STEPS NURTURING CENTER, 2902 JENSEN, 77026. LIMITED ENROLLMENT.
High-quality early childhood education programs help prepare children for success in elementary school and beyond. Decades of research show that these programs have strong and persistent benefits, including substantial learning gains, better social and executive function skills, increased high school graduation rates, and improved short- and long-term health outcomes. However, too many Houston families miss out on this opportunity, deterred by unavailability of space at nearby programs, cost (for those who don’t qualify for free tuition), lack of information, and other factors. Some children go to daycare that provides few educational benefits; others stay home. Nearly half of Houston Independent School District students enter kindergarten lacking early literacy skills that make them “school ready.” How can we as a city change this? What is a “quality” Pre-K program? What role do our state legislators play? Can we learn from San Antonio’s new Pre-K scholarship program? Two respected educational leaders will discuss these and other issues and respond to questions. Our conversation will take place at a Small Steps campus and will include a classroom visit.
Sehba Ali is the Chief Executive Officer of KIPP Texas Public Schools, a charter school network of 59 schools with nearly 34,000 students across the state. She is the former Superintendent of KIPP Houston Public Schools and the former Chief Academic Officer for KIPP Bay Area Schools.
Ana Schick has been the Executive Director of Small Steps Nurturing Center for more than ten years. Small Steps’ two campuses provide high-quality education and other support to economically at-risk children ages two through six living in poverty in Houston.