Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- February 21, 2005

ChevronTexaco Contributes $600,000 to Support Bakersfield Early Literacy Project

California State University, Bakersfield; Bakersfield City School District and Houghton Mifflin Co. partner to improve literacy among preschool students.

In an effort to improve literacy among children in Bakersfield, the Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) and California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) today announced that ChevronTexaco is contributing $600,000 to the "Preschool Literacy Project - Building Blocks to Reading Success."

"It's clear that positive early childhood experiences set the stage for life-long success - in the classroom and beyond," said ChevronTexaco San Joaquin Valley Business Unit Vice President Warner Williams. "We're proud to support programs like the Preschool Literacy Project that deliver sustained benefits to the Bakersfield community."

This project will help alleviate a critical problem that has been identified locally. The impact within the district should be demonstrated within one to two years with children entering kindergarten with significantly higher emergent literacy skills.

As part of ongoing community efforts, BCSD, CSUB, and Houghton Mifflin created the Preschool Literacy Program to address the problem at the earliest stage of education - pre-school.

"This is an enormously important project for our region," said CSUB President Horace Mitchell. "By targeting children at an early age, we will be able to place them on the track to a lifetime of success."

As part of the project, CSUB faculty will offer training to BCSD preschool teachers. Literacy coaches will develop model literacy strategies, provide feedback to teachers, and conduct on-going assessments to customize instruction. Additionally, preschool educators and parents will learn techniques on early literacy instruction, assessment methods and how to use in-home resources as teaching tools.

"This project lays the foundation for essential emergent literacy skills," said Jean Fuller, BCSD superintendent. "Research indicates that children need certain pre-literacy skills from recognizing the front and back of a book to recognizing letters of the alphabet. This project will tap into the existing strong preschool programs and help children be ready to learn how to read on their first day of kindergarten."

"Through these partnerships we hope to increase the number of students who attend college. Not only will that improve the quality of their lives, but also it will improve the quality of our local economy," Mitchell said.

CSUB - Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456,
Bakersfield City School District - Cherrie Sabin, 661/631-4621,
ChevronTexaco - Linda Robinson, 661/654-7153,

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