Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Year 1 Evaluation Report

Program/Intervention: 
Kids in Transition to School (KITS)
Intermediary(s): 
United Way of Lane County
Summary: 

The Kids in Transition to School (KITS) program was implemented in 13 school districts in Lane County, Oregon. KITS is a brief but intensive kindergarten readiness program designed to help prepare high-risk children and their parents for entry into elementary school. It focuses on teaching children literacy, numeracy, prosocial, and self-regulation skills that are critical for school readiness and positive school adjustment. Additionally, parents participate in workshops in which they learn skills for supporting learning at home, promoting positive child behaviors, and becoming involved in their child's school.

This report summarizes findings from the Year 1 Feasibility Study which used a mixed-method, quasi-experimental comparison group design, including open-ended interviews with key stakeholders (school district administrators, principals, KITS teachers, assistant teachers, parent group facilitators, community partners, and parents); focus groups with KITS parents; web-based surveys with KITS training participants; pre-and post-KITS surveys with KITS participants and a quasi-experimental comparison group; and direct child assessments done pre- and post-KITS with a small group of KITS and comparison group children. In addition, detailed records were kept regarding recruitment and data collection strategies and results.

Feasibility and Process study findings identified a number of project successes and challenges during the first implementation Year. In terms of successes, the evaluation documented the following:

  1. The KITS program was well-received by both KITS teachers and part?icipating families.
  2. The KITS training and implementation support/coaching provided by Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) was a key driver of implementation success.
  3. KITS teachers described potentially meaningful impacts of the KITS training on their own professional development as teachers.
  4. Preliminary data suggests that most KITS groups were implemented at a fairly high level of fidelity.

Challenges included:

  1. The short timeline for recruitment of families, hiring, and start-up.
  2. Inability to recruit a randomized comparison group.
  3. Challenges recruiting Hispanic/Latino and other potentially higher-risk families.
  4. Challenges implementing parent groups with Spanish-speaking families, and need to enhance the cultural appropriateness of the KITS model.
  5. Attendance, especially for parent groups and for both groups during Fall sessions.
  6. The steep learning curve regarding KITS curriculum and approaches.
  7. Technical challenges with KITS group videotaping.
  8. Logistical challenges related to facilities and transportation.
CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Youth Development (SIF)
Age(s) Studied: 
0-5 (Early childhood)
Outcomes Category(s): 
School Readiness
Study Type(s): 
Feasibility
Study Design(s): 
Non-Experimental
Level of Evidence: 
Preliminary
Evaluator: 
Portland State University, Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services
Year Published: 
2017
Date Posted Online: 
January 11, 2018
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