West Valley's Pre-K initiative leads the state in early childhoo - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

West Valley's Pre-K initiative leads the state in early childhood learning

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YAKIMA, WA - The West Valley School District is receiving national attention for its methods in educating our youngest students.

The district's early-childhood provider training has been recognized by the University of Washington's National P-3 Center.

The center looks at programs like West Valley's, as well as their progress in areas such as leadership, development, and policy.

Mike Brophy, Superintendent of West Valley School District, says this recognition comes because of the district's "Five Steps to Student Success". Brophy says that success is the first step they give to young students.

"Step one is a Pre-K, or early learning focus," Brophy explains. "We've worked hard over the last five years to establish an early learning focus in our district that actually collaborates with every pre-school and childcare provider in Yakima County."

Because Washington doesn't have statewide pre-school, West Valley uses its teachers to work with childcare providers and help them get kids prepared for kindergarten.

These quarterly training sessions are free of charge,and there are now over 150 childcare providers and educators who attend them.

"We have found that the kids who participate in West Valley's Pre-K initiative with recognized official partners perform better on the WA kids assessment, that in Washington state all kindergarteners have to take," Brophy says.

The school district has had this initiative in place for the past five years, and believes the success these students have after their early learning years is evident by their increased ability in literacy and numeracy.

Brophy also says this recognition by the P-3 center really validates the hard work they're doing and their passion for helping students do their best.

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