Studies show that educational achievement gaps already exist at Kindergarten entry.  Children from low-income families are more likely to start school with limited language skills, health problems and social and emotional problems that interfere with learning.  The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close.

Language proficiency is a key predictor of school success. Early literacy skills (size of vocabulary, recognizing letters, understanding letter and sound relationships) at kindergarten entry are good predictors of children's reading abilities throughout their educational careers. Language and literacy skills enable children to develop cognitive skills and knowledge and to interact effectively with peers and adults.


The School Readiness Indicators Initiative was a multi-state initiative that uses child well-being indicators to build a change agenda in states and local communities in order to improve school readiness and ensure early school success. The task of participating states was to develop a set of child outcome and systems indicators for children from birth through the fourth-grade reading test, an important red flag for children most at-risk for poor long-term outcomes, such as dropping out of school, teen pregnancy, and juvenile crime.

State Teams
The Initiative involved 17 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. State teams worked individually and as a group to develop a comprehensive set of measures to monitor school readiness and service system outcomes for children and families. Each team consisted of multi-agency senior policy and data staff.

National Meetings
National Meetings invited representatives from state teams together to provide peer-to-peer support on indicator development and conceptual issues, data and technology issues, and communications strategies. Our first National Meeting was held October 2001 and the final National Meeting was held in May of 2004.

Residency Roundtables
Residency Roundtables were convened two to four times a year to tackle tough conceptual issues in a focused way. During these roundtables, state leaders and field experts worked together to accelerate progress in priority areas. Our first Residency Roundtable was held April 2002 on the topic of social and emotional development of young children. Our final Residency Roundtable was held in October 2003, where the focus was Birth to Three Indicators.

Technical Assistance
Expert consultants, from the State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network (SECPTAN) with selected skills and experience were engaged as needed to support the work of the Initiative. The primary role of the consultants was to provide assistance to the network of states as a whole or to groups of states with common issues. The consultations took a variety of formats, including commissioned papers on priority issues and participation at National Meetings and Residency Roundtables. On a selective basis, expert consultants provided on-site consultation to individual states in order to advance their indicator agendas.

Project Management and Funding
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, a multi-issue children's policy organization, is the lead agency for this national initiative. Funding is provided through the generous support of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

Contact us for additional information.


© 2005, School Readiness Indicators Initiative
One Union Station Providence, RI 02903 401.351.9400 fax 401.351.1758
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The School Readiness Indicators Initiative is supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
The 17-state initiative is managed by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT