The Grant Money Will Be Used to Provide Kindergarten Readiness Kits at Arizona Charter Academy and Offer Academic Intervention Programs to Kindergarteners
SURPRISE, Arizona—The administration and staff at Arizona Charter Academy are pleased to announce that the school has been awarded an 18-month, $200,000 grant called the A for Arizona Expansion and Innovation Fund.
As. Dr. Charlotte Pullins, Director of Inclusion at Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) noted, the grant money will be used in very specific and crucial ways to support the school’s youngest learners.
“The grant will allow ACA to directly support our kindergartners by providing researched interventions that have the potential to increase student academics,” she said.
“Also, the grant provides preschool programming that supports our preschools in the community by bridging and strengthening the transitions from preschool to kindergarten.”
In addition, Dr. Pullins noted, the grant will enable ACA to leverage teacher expertise and develop professional development and to engage the community.
The staff at ACA was inspired to apply for the grant based on the school’s desire to help incoming kindergartners and their families be as ready for school as possible, as well as to help reverse the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the school system.
“Based on the community needs, ACA proposed a community-wide initiative to strengthen the development of preschool aged children to close the academic and behavioral gaps that exist among incoming kindergarteners. By engaging the community, we can work collaboratively in private-public community partnerships to help our children become resilient and ready to learn,” Dr. Pullins said.
The grant money is already being put to use; for example, ACA gave away close to 400 Kindergarten Readiness Kits to help promote early learning, in alignment with the grant.
“Through our relationships with close to 10 area preschools and community centers we were able to connect with Pre-K families and provide free kits to all of their 4 year old students, Dr. Pullins said.
“In addition, we raffled off free kits to families at local community festivals in El Mirage and Surprise and every incoming ACA Kindergartner also received the kits.”
The kits are full of supplies like safety scissors, construction paper, counting cubes, playdough, jumbo pencils, craft sticks, motor skills crayons and ACA’s custom curated activity packet created by ACA’s kindergarten teachers.
The kit also includes a QR code that parents are encouraged to access and allows them to sign up for quick instructional videos created by ACA’s kindergarten teachers with activities and tips on things like number sense, motor skills, reading basics and more.
In addition to the Kindergarten Readiness Kits, ACA hosted an Early Childhood Educators Conference as well as a Parent Reading Workshop.
“Similar and more events are scheduled for the coming 2023-2024 school year,” Dr. Pullins said, adding that it was very exciting and gratifying to learn that ACA had been awarded the grant.
“Receiving the grant was of tremendous importance to ACA following the effect of COVID on the school system. This grant allows ACA to provide high-quality academic support to the children within our community to address the significant impacts of COVID on our current students and incoming kindergarteners,” she said.
“Most of all, this grant allows ACA to be a proactive intervention to address student needs.”