Evidence in Action: AppleTree Institute’s ‘Every Child Ready’ a Model for Future Pay for Success Projects

Thanks to the persistence of social entrepreneurs across the country, every day we see strategies that are working and delivering results in a rapidly changing world. This Evidence in Action blog series will highlight the voices of the more than 70 social innovation organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition, the results-driven solutions our community has to our country’s most pressing social problems, and the evidence-based federal programs that are critical to scaling the impact of this work. Today we will hear from Jack McCarthy, president & CEO of AppleTree Institute about the Institute’s proven Every Child Ready program.

Last December the U.S. Department of Education announced eight new Pay for Success feasibility study grants. One of them went to the Legacy Charter School network in South Carolina. Legacy will study the feasibility of using a Pay for Success model to incorporate pre-k into their schools. But they won’t be starting from scratch when developing their pre-k program, they will adopt AppleTree Institute’s proven Every Child Ready program.

A key value proposition for Pay for Success is that investors, and later taxpayers, are investing in proven programs that can successfully solve—or at least make a dent in—intractable social problems. Ensuring that children from low-income or other challenged backgrounds are ready for school and can keep pace with their more affluent peers is one of those problems that is ripe for Pay for Success funding. But there are very few successful models for investors to look to.

AppleTree Institute’s Every Child Ready is a proven, evidence-based curriculum that helps unlock every child’s potential – regardless of background or circumstance—to thrive in K-12 education. Every Child Ready provides teachers with the lessons, tools, professional development and technology to provide highly personalized learning to preschool children. Including critical the social and emotional skills and behaviors they need to succeed in life.

Every Child Ready is used at AppleTree’s 10 preschools, including the preschools we operate in partnerships with Rocketship, Democracy Prep and Achievement Prep charter schools in D.C. It is also being used by other leading charter schools like E.L. Haynes, Friendship, Center City and Ingenuity Prep in D.C. and Harlem Dream Academy charter school in New York.

Every Child Ready provides preschool teachers with:

  • What to teach: affordable, comprehensive, research and standards-based curricula.
  • How to teach: training so that each classroom has highly qualified early childhood teachers.
  • How to know it’s working: tools to measure classroom quality and developmentally appropriate student assessments to validate the effectiveness of the programs.

Research has shown that over two years, this evidence-based approach to individualized instruction can take children who are starting out significantly behind their more advantaged peers and develop their language, literacy, numeracy and social-emotional skills where they are measuring above the mean, which is effectively closing the achievement gap. Perhaps this is why the Center for High Impact Philanthropy featured us in its 2016 High Impact Giving Guide.

As governments make tough choices about where to spend their limited funding, and more investor attention is focused on filling the gap in government budgeting for early childhood education, Every Child Ready has the potential to be just the innovative, scalable approach needed when making these decisions and for investing in future Pay for Success models to make them successful.

This post is part of America Forward’s Evidence in Action blog series. Follow along on Twitter with #EvidenceinAction and catch up on the series here.

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