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Computer preschool program expands to rural Utah

Federal grant » Eighteen rural districts to participate.

First Published Mar 07 2014 02:58 pm • Last Updated Mar 07 2014 10:54 pm

Young children throughout rural Utah will soon get free computer-based preschool lessons in their homes, thanks to a $11.5 million federal grant.

Eighteen rural Utah school districts have signed agreements with Sandy-based Waterford Institute to participate in the company’s UPSTART program, which delivers preschool lessons via home computers.

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More than 7,000 Utah children have already participated in the program since it began receiving state funding five years ago. Now the program will expand to 18 rural districts with federal Investing in Innovation money.

Preschoolers from each district can participate in the voluntary program until kindergarten. They’ll then use it again during the summers in kindergarten through second grade to try to prevent learning loss during the summers.

The districts are Beaver, Daggett, Duchesne County, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Kane, Millard, North Sanpete, North Summit, Piute, Rich, San Juan, Sevier, South Sanpete, South Summit, Tintic and Wayne.

In related news, the Legislature has also passed SB148, which extends the state-funded portion of the program for five more years. It also gives priority, for the state-funded portion, to students from low-income families and those learning English.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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