Metro Nashville Public Schools has come up with a strategy to boost test scores and close the achievement gap, and it's so simple even a 3-year-old could do it.
Soon, all students in the district will have access to the same pre-K curriculum used in the classroom. It's called iTRAILS, and parents, daycare centers and caregivers will be able to go online and follow the same lessons Metro does for free.
"Achievement starts at the very beginning. It starts when they are 3 years old and 4 years old. Four-year-olds come to pre-K learning their letters. They're learning sight words. They're learning colors, but they're also learning how to be good students," said MNPS spokesman Joe Bass.
"Pre-K is a great experience for everyone. We see a real difference," said MNPS Director Dr. Jesse Register.
Currently, Metro's pre-K program includes about 2,500 students, but Register wants to see that number grow.
In fact, Register has announced plans for universal pre-K districtwide within the next three to five years.
"We're going to look at those schools that serve high concentrations of students that live in poverty," Register said. "I would want to double the number that we have now. I would like to see us go to 5,000."
But providing pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds could be costly. Register said he would he pay for it by making pre-K a priority in the budget and with more federal funding.
"I think it's the one thing that we can do where we can make the most difference for improving students' success through elementary, and into middle and high school," Register said.
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