The Robin Hood Foundation and MDRC have partnered to establish the Robin Hood Early Childhood Initiative, with the goal of identifying, implementing, and rigorously evaluating promising solutions that can dramatically improve the life trajectories of low-income preschoolers in New York City, particularly with respect to long-term academic success, reduced criminal activity, and increased adult earnings. The first initiative was designed to reduce poverty by narrowing the persistent achievement gap between low-income children and their higher-income peers through a curriculum-based intervention. The first initiative was focused on enhancing math instruction as a key component of a preschool intervention model. The project will now build on Making Pre-K Count (MPC), the first project of the Robin Hood Early Childhood Initiative, by following up with a kindergarten enhancement of Math Clubs in which tutors provide small-group instruction to four children at a time.
The project includes a two-phase strategy. During a 14-momth pilot phase the Math Club curriculum was developed and piloted in three New York City public schools during the 2014-2015 school year. We are now beginning the second phase of the project in which the Math Clubs (now known at High 5s Clubs) will be implemented and their efficacy will be evaluated in 24 NYC public schools during the 2015-2016 school year. Incoming kindergarten students, whose parents give permission, will be randomly assigned within schools to receive the High 5s program or to an as is control condition. Each participating school will have two to five clubs each, depending on the number of eligible children who move from pre-K to kindergarten within the school. Each club will have four students, for a total of approximately 300-400 students in the treatment sample. Trained tutors will provide small-group instruction to four low-income children at a time, either after school or during the school day, three days a week for approximately 28 weeks.
06/01/2012 to 06/30/2019