Waterford Awarded Additional Contract for UPSTART; Expanding Kindergarten Readiness in Utah

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Roughly 10,000 children can now enroll in this school year’s
program

SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Waterford
Institute
was recently awarded the contract for the High Quality
School Readiness Program Expansion for High Quality Education Software,
which provides an allocation of up to $2 million in Temporary Assistance
for Needy Families (TANF) funds each year for the next three years. The
funding will be used to expand Waterford’s UPSTART
kindergarten readiness program. The allocation, in combination with
current funding sources, will enable UPSTART to serve approximately
10,000 children throughout Utah, roughly 20 percent of the state’s
four-year-olds.

Waterford Institute took part in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process
issued by the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and won based on
efficacy demonstrated through multiple student
outcomes data
. The RFP came about by the passage in the 2016 Utah
Legislative Session of Senate Bill 101 (S.B. 101) sponsored by Sen. Ann
Millner and Rep. Bradley G. Last.

“UPSTART is all about supporting the family in preparing young children
for kindergarten and a love of learning,” said Claudia Miner, Executive
Director of UPSTART and vice president of development for the nonprofit
Waterford Institute. “This new funding source will permit more at-risk
children throughout Utah to participate in the program—all of whom are
from lower income or non-English speaking families. UPSTART has proven
to be one of the most successful kindergarten readiness programs for
children in every district across the state.”

“With the additional allocation, Utah will be able to serve even more
preschool aged students and support them in building a solid foundation
for school readiness,” said Jennifer Throndsen, PreK-12 Literacy and
Library Media Coordinator, Utah State Board of Education.

According to the Award Justification Statement, Waterford was determined
to meet the requirements of the RFP and reasonable pricing compared to
other potential contractors. “After evaluating the proposal and
reviewing the costs proposed, the evaluation team determined that
awarding the contract to Waterford was in the best interest of the
procurement unit,” the statement read. Waterford was also selected for
its parent support model and its ability to recruit at-risk children.

UPSTART uses Waterford Early Learning, a cloud-based adaptive learning
curriculum to provide children lessons in early literacy, math and
science at home, the year before kindergarten. Now starting its eighth
year in Utah, UPSTART is offered at no cost to participating families
through funding by the Utah State Legislature.

“There is no question that UPSTART is giving Utah great and economically
viable results,” said State Senator Stuart Adams.

Independent evaluations by the Utah State Office of Education show
UPSTART children significantly outperform state averages on standardized
tests in grades kindergarten through fourth across language arts, math
and science.

UPSTART is open to everyone, prioritizing low-income and English
language learners. Qualifying families receive use of a free computer
and free Internet during the program if they do not have access to these
resources at home.

Families can pre-register now for UPSTART at www.utahupstart.org
or by phone at 800-669-4533.

About Waterford Institute

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Waterford Institute is a nonprofit
research center that creates personalized cloud-based instruction
through an award-winning curriculum, content and assessment for children
aged pre-K to 2nd grade. As a nonprofit, Waterford is uniquely focused
on providing accessibility, equity and excellence for our youngest
learners to position them for a lifetime of learning and success. For
more information, visit www.waterford.org
or call 801-349-2200.

Contacts

SnappConner PR
Cory Maloy, 801-301-7900
cory@snappconner.com