There is a saying: “Equality is giving everyone a pair of shoes; Equity is giving everyone a pair of shoes that fit.” At Jumpstart, educational equity is our goal. That means that every child in every classroom across the country will not have the same experience. We know well that formal education — the time each student spends in a classroom — does not happen in a vacuum. Every child who crosses a teacher’s threshold is walking in the door carrying their own life experiences, assets, and needs. One child may know the alphabet well already but is still working on how to explain and manage their emotions. Another may not have had many early reading experiences but is skilled at sharing and helping others. The key is to suss out: what skills has this child already learned that I can continue to nurture? Where do they need more support?
This is a challenging task — figuring out a child’s “shoe size.” But it is at the heart of what we do at Jumpstart — providing an early education solution that meets the needs of the individual children and communities we serve while also advocating for change that ensures all children have what they need no matter where they live. First, we engage passionate, caring volunteers to serve preschool children from underserved communities across the country. In each classroom, these Jumpstart members lower the child-to-adult ratio, enabling them to more carefully adapt their support to suit each child’s specific needs. This year, 13,035 children — the most in Jumpstart’s history — benefitted from this intentional strategy.
“Equality is giving everyone a pair of shoes; Equity is giving everyone a pair of shoes that fit.”
Next, with our workforce programming, we are providing current and future teachers with the resources and training they need to create warm, respectful, and enriching learning environments that will enable all children to achieve learning outcomes — a skill that will have ripple effects for years to come. This year, our program at San Francisco State University converted to exclusively focusing on future teachers with an early practicum program for 65 college students — more than doubling its participants from the prior year. These students served more than 600 children in the San Francisco area through the Jumpstart-San Francisco State University partnership.
Finally, through our policy and advocacy efforts, we are amplifying the voices of Jumpstart children, educators, volunteers, and communities in support of legislation that helps to level the playing field and increase access to opportunities that will set them up for success. For instance, after Jumpstart advocated directly on Capitol Hill earlier this year, House Democrats included provisions in its Aim Higher Act that would strengthen the TEACH grant program, incentivizing more aspiring early educators to enter and remain in the field.
We are thrilled to invite you to read through this year’s annual report, full of stories and celebrations from Jumpstart’s 2017-2018 program year. In the following pages, you will meet some of the people who are on the ground, doing the day-to-day work in all three spheres of Jumpstart’s work. We are so proud of what they’ve accomplished this year, and we know that you — our supporters and friends — set the foundation for all of us to come together to do this important work. Thank you for another great year!
President & CEO of Jumpstart