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New Kindergarten Readiness Program available
 Families Across Rural North Dakota Can Now Register Their Four-Year-Olds
 for a Kindergarten Readiness Program 
(Bismarck, ND) February 12, 2020 — For a second year, rural families across North Dakota have the opportunity to participate in a program that will help their four-year-olds prepare for school. These additional resources are thanks to a $14.2 million federal grant. The United States Department of Education awarded the nonprofit organization, an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Expansion Grant with a goal of finding solutions to persistent challenges experienced by rural families in five western states through the Waterford UPSTART program. was awarded the EIR expansion grant after successfully serving rural families in Utah.
“We’re grateful to be recognized for the important work we’ve been doing in Utah for a decade,” said Benjamin Heuston, CEO of “Across the country, some 2.2 million families with 4-year-olds lack access to resources that help children get ready for kindergarten, and we’re eager to put this grant to use helping students in five more states prepare for a successful school experience, no matter their location or socioeconomic background.”
The pilots are enrolling for year two in Wyoming, North Dakota, and Idaho. South Dakota and Montana are also now enrolling for 2020.  Chris Jones, Executive Director of ND’s Department of Human Services says, “North Dakota sees this as an opportunity to empower families to create time and space to learn and play together.”
For more information go to Spots are limited. Enrollment ends June 29, 2020. Rural restrictions apply. is an early education nonprofit with a mission to achieve universal literacy for children through parent empowerment, equity, and access. Waterford develops tools that assist students along individualized learning paths toward social-emotional learning such as saying please and thank you and lifelong learning. Waterford empowers parents as a child’s first teacher and supports teachers in taking the right actions at the right time for their students. In total, serves more than 300,000 children every year through all our programs, and that number is continually growing.
Waterford UPSTART
Waterford UPSTART helps four-year-old children prepare for school at home and at no cost. Parents are their child’s first and most influential teachers and with this program, they can help children develop foundational reading and social-emotional skills. The children go through personalized lessons with a family member for 15 minutes a day, five days a week in the year before they start school. Waterford UPSTART also fuels family involvement in their child’s early education through parent coaches and fun educational activities parents can complete with their children offline. Waterford UPSTART has been rigorously tested and proven, earning the program a federal EIR grant and the title of a TED Audacious project. 

Kim Fischer
Director of Public Relations 

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