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The Chance for Every Child to Succeed Before They Have an Opportunity to Fail

With inspiration from the Maine State Fire Academy model, a picture book about a relentless librarian, and the passion of two special educators, an idea was born that education could be different. What began seven years ago as an idea in one rural school has resulted in a ripple effect throughout the state of Maine. Beyond educating the child, KJS (Kindergarten Jump Start) educates parents through structured engagement. All students who participate are those who historically would have required long term Title I or special education remediation. After participation in KJS, more than 90% of students require no remedial services. While students enter the project with limited foundational skills, often not recognizing their own name in print, they exit with a love of literacy and a skill set that, more often than not, renders them on par with students who were never at risk. Students develop into active and engaged learners based upon the instruction provided. In fact, most enter above target.

This talk was presented at:
National Title I Conference
January 2016 in Houston, Texas
Audrey O'Clair

Audrey O'Clair has a deep working knowledge of special education, early childhood education and how to best meet the unique needs of struggling young learners. To her practice, she brings more than a decade of early intervention skills and strategies that she continually shares through professional development and by modeling best practices for families. Always eager to improve her craft, she works closely with other professionals to build the capacity of their learners and each other.

Carrie Thurston

A passion for working with exceptional children began at a young age for Carrie. Starting at the age of 9, Carrie worked with students on the autism spectrum and continued tutoring students with learning disabilities throughout her academic career. From these early experiences, a career was inspired. With 26 years in education, as a classroom teacher, special educator and Director of Pupil Services, Carrie is well known for her ability to engage the most challenging learner. Most recently, Carrie has been working in the capacity of RTI consultant to a number of Maine school districts helping them to achieve substantial growth for students in the area of literacy.