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Children in Augusta have a New Option to Prepare for Kindergarten

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Families in Kentucky now have a new option to prepare their children for kindergarten at home and at no cost. Thanks to generous donations made through the TED Organization, is bringing the Waterford UPSTART program to Augusta.  


Each year, 2.2 million four-year-old children in the United States do not have access to publicly funded early education and more than half are low-income children with no early education options at all. Waterford is one of 8 nonprofit organizations in the world named a 2019 TED Audacious Project. As a part of this recognition, the organization was tasked with reaching more four-year-olds in need, including 300 children in Kentucky.


“Here in Kentucky, we know that only half of our students are coming to kindergarten prepared. So that means half our students, once they start kindergarten and even finish, are already behind,” said Rhonda Caldwell, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. “I’d like for all Kentucky parents to know that the Waterford UPSTART program is an amazing opportunity that doesn’t come very often.”


Waterford UPSTART is an in-home, early education program that helps unserved and underserved families. Parents are given the tools they need to become their child’s first and most influential teacher, including a computer and internet access at no cost. The program provides positive parent-child interactions while delivering personalized, online instruction 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Parents are also given support through a personal coach and tips to continue engaging their children offline. On average, 92% of children who participate in Waterford UPSTART are ready for kindergarten—compared to a 65% average nationwide and 48% for low-income children.


Participants must be 4 years old, with their birthday falling between August 01, 2015 and August 02, 2016.


“When a child begins school behind his or her peers, it’s very hard to catch up. It’s even harder for children from low-income families or whose native language is not English,” said Claudia Miner, Waterford UPSTART executive director. “We want to help these children prepare for school at home with their parents, so they have the ability to walk into their first day of class confident and ready to learn.”


Waterford UPSTART is now registering families in Augusta, but spots are limited. To sign up for this at-home, no-cost early education program, go to or call 1-888-982-9898.  For more information or assistance signing up, call Amy Miller, Anita Jefferson, or Kendra Cline at Augusta Independent School at 606-756-2105 or Lisa McCane at the board office at 606-756-2545.


###### is an early education nonprofit with a mission to achieve universal literacy for children through equity, access, and parent empowerment. Waterford develops educational tools that guide students along adaptive, individualized learning paths toward fluent reading and lifelong learning. We empower parents as a child’s first teacher, and we support teachers in taking the right actions at the right time for their students.  In total, serves more than 300,000 children every year through all of our programs, and that number is continually growing.


Waterford UPSTART

Waterford UPSTART helps four-year-old children prepare for school at home and at no cost. Children develop foundational reading and social-emotional skills, and parents are empowered to become their child’s first and most influential teachers. The children use adaptive software just 15 minutes a day, five days a week in the year before they start school. Waterford UPSTART also fuels family involvement in their child’s early education through parent coaches and fun educational activities parents can complete with their children offline. Waterford UPSTART has been rigorously tested and proven, earning the program a federal EIR grant and the title of a TED Audacious project. Independent research shows the average Waterford UPSTART graduate enters kindergarten reading at nearly a first-grade level and maintains those gains through the fourth grade.

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Augusta Independent School District - Board of Education
307 Bracken Street   |  Augusta, KY 41002
Phone: 606-756-2545  |  Fax: 606-756-2149

Augusta School
207 Bracken Street  |  Augusta, KY 41002
Phone: 606-756-2105  |  Fax: 606-756-3000