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Highlights Archive for September 2015
September 8, 2015
Spotlight on the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) program

IES Principal Investigator Katherine Pears, at the Oregon Social Learning Center, is working with United Way to scale up her evidence-based intervention, the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) program. Aimed at addressing the school readiness needs of children, KITS supports young children's social-emotional, early literacy, and school readiness skills just prior to kindergarten entry, and supports families as their children transition into kindergarten. With IES funding, Pears launched two efficacy studies. Through a 2008 NCSER grant, Pears demonstrated that the intervention is efficacious for children with developmental disabilities and behavior problems. The intervention demonstrated positive effects on early literacy, self-regulation, and parent involvement in school at the end of kindergarten. Pears also received a NCER grant in 2012, through which she is examining the intervention's efficacy among children living in disadvantaged communities. And, in 2015, Pears received a NCSER award to continue her efficacy trial of KITS with children with developmental disabilities and behavior problems, following the same children through Grade 5, to evaluate the long-term impacts of the intervention on student outcomes.

As a result of working closely with South Lane School District during the initial efficacy study, Pears applied for and received a 2014 NCER award to establish a partnership among the Oregon Social Learning Center, South Lane School District, and United Way of Lane County to explore the early childhood education and child care experiences of children in rural school districts so that the information can be used by the district for future planning in preparing students for academic success.

Building on these research findings and the partnership, the United Way of Lane County recently received a Social Innovation Fund award from the Corporation for National and Community Service that will allow the team to bring the KITS Program to scale in Lane County, Oregon. The funds will be used to train local school districts in the intervention, implement the program, and evaluate the program's fidelity and outcomes for children and families. United Way will hold a competition to select community-based organizations to receive subgrants of at least $100,000 for periods of 3 to 5 years to expand their reach to more families and participate in the program's evaluation.