FRANKFORT — Shannon Hankins, an English Language Arts teacher at Crabbe Elementary School in Ashland, understands what Gov. Steve Beshear means when he says: “When children start out behind, they stay behind.”
Hankins works with Geri Willis at the school’s family resource center. This year the school, which has an enrollment of 385 students, nearly nine of 10 of whom qualify for free or reduced lunches, began a program targeting pre-school children “who do not come prepared for kindergarten,” children of parents who love their children but might not have the skills or understanding to prepare their children for school.
Hankins said the program addresses the emotional, physical, social and academic needs of each child.
“We’re not going to leave a piece of that child behind,” she said.
The program is already showing signs of improvement in kindergarten children and the school administration continues to look for more ways to help those children, according to Crabbe Principal Brad Greene.
That’s why Crabbe Elementary will participate in an innovative “Bornlearning” program developed by United Way of Greater Cincinnati at Beechwood Elementary in Kenton County and now expanded to 10 elementary schools across the state with a $115,000 grant from Toyota Motor Manufacturing.
In addition to Crabbe Elementary in Ashland, the money will start Bornlearning Academies at Hiseville Elementary in Barren County, Berea Elementary, Burgin Elementary, May Valley Elementary in Prestonsburg, Grandview Elementary in Bellevue, East Calloway (County) Elementary, H.W. Wilkey Elementary in Leitchfield, Farley Elementary in Paducah and Boston Elementary in New Haven.
Beshear, Toyota President Will James and United Way of Kentucky President Doug Eberhart announced the pilot programs Tuesday at a Capitol press conference. James said Toyota plans ultimately to make a five-year, $450,000 investment in the program.
The aim is to use monthly workshops to train parents and grandparents of children ages birth to 4 “how to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities,” said Beshear.