learn / 2015

Jumpstart: Delivering Quality Early Education To Close the Achievement Gap *Before* it Begins

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Jumpstart For Young Children, Inc.

Jumpstart recruits and trains college students and older adults (ages 55+) to implement a data-driven preschool curriculum in low-income communities, helping children circumvent the achievement gap by ensuring that they build the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills most vital to school success. Jumpstart seeks to expand our program, particularly in South LA and East LA, to continue fostering intergenerational learning and improving the academic outcomes of low-income children.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD
  • Jumpstart provides high quality early education programming at almost fifty state preschools, Head Start providers, and child development centers throughout Los Angeles.

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Advocate with policymakers and leaders

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs
  • College matriculation rates
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

Somewhere among today’s preschoolers sit our future presidents, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Yet, by virtue of living in a low-income neighborhood, thousands of children in America are deprived of access to quality child care and early education programs, thus entering kindergarten already behind national benchmarks for early literacy and math. Research shows that these same children who start behind, stay behind—they are more likely to drop out of high school, be incarcerated for violent crime, and experience significantly lower earning potential upon entering the workforce.

Los Angeles is no exception to this trend. In a county where almost 20% of all families live in poverty, only 44% of children enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District demonstrate grade-level reading and writing proficiency by the third grade.

By recruiting and training college students and older adults, called Corps members, to implement a research-based curriculum in preschool classrooms, Jumpstart works systemically and strategically to close the achievement gap before it begins. Our curriculum is uniquely designed to help children build the key language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills deemed by early education experts to be most vital for school readiness. Corps members deliver our high-quality program to the same small group of children twice weekly for an entire year, leveraging reduced adult-child ratios in Jumpstart classrooms to provide children with consistent, targeted individual instruction.

Corps members receive 55+ hours of professional-grade training in early education best practices and methodology to support their implementation of Jumpstart’s outcomes-based program. They provide their partner preschool teachers with much needed resources and support over the course of the year, while simultaneously developing valuable workplace and leadership skills. The highly structured nature of the Jumpstart program instills in college Corps members the values of time management, teamwork, effective communication, and grit that are intrinsic both to success in their academic studies and to competitiveness in the job market. Our older adult Corps members experience significant health benefits, such as improved mobility and mental acuity. Informed by their experiences in the classroom, Jumpstart Corps members become early education advocates for life, and many seek out careers in education and human services related fields.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Jumpstart’s “School Success Checklist”, a targeted adaptation of the High/Scope Perry Child Observation Record, evaluates children three times annually against fifteen key developmental metrics that research has indicated are vital to school readiness. This year, we commit to:

  • Serving 1,360 preschool children
  • 65% of children will make gains of 1+ developmental level(s)
  • Distribute over 3,000 books to families in communities where we serve

In Pre-Service, Mid-Year, and Post-Service Surveys, Corps members report on academic, professional, and personal gains made through their experiences in the Jumpstart program. We commit to:

  • Recruiting and training 422 Corps members
  • 85% of Corps members will report Jumpstart improves their leadership and connection to their community
  • 85% of college Corps members will report Jumpstart helps them academically
  • 70% of older adult Corps members will report feeling “somewhat satisfied” to “very satisfied” with their health

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Education/training
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research