Through an Education Innovation Research (EIR) Grant awarded by the US Department of Education, Idaho will join five states in piloting the Waterford UPSTART program, an at-home kindergarten readiness computer program which has been used in Utah and other states for the past several years. Supporting the belief that learning begins at home, the program is designed to help parents be their child’s first teacher. The program and support staff will be provided at no cost to families. The software sessions are limited to 15 – 20 minutes per day.

UPSTART is recruiting children with birth dates ranging from 9/02/15 through 9/01/2016.

ICfL is supporting the recruitment of Idaho families in this pilot for the following reasons:

  • The program targets children in the year before kindergarten.
  • Technology is provided at no cost to qualifying participants, and all families are paired with a Family Education Liaison (FEL), who provides personalized updates, guidance, and encouragement.
  • Waterford UPSTART will provide a FREE Chromebook (which families may keep upon completion of the program), as well as internet while families are enrolled in the program (must qualify).
  • A version of the software is available in Spanish and other languages.

Other details of interest:

  • The program contains over 450 hours of sequenced reading and math/science instruction.
  • Children will be assigned a reading or math and science curriculum at random and the usage requirement is 15-20 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • When there is an UPSTART child in the home, they also make the software available to other children in the home who can use the additional practice in reading or math/science.
  • The software range is pre-K through second grade.
  • While the software is in English, support is available in Spanish and other languages as needed. They have supported the program in 21 languages to date, and state that they have experience working with refugee families.
  • UPSTART assesses the children at the beginning and end of the program to provide outcome information to parents and stakeholders, maintaining the child’s confidentiality unless otherwise specified in data-sharing agreements approved by the child’s guardian.

To find out more about UPSTART, including studies conducted by the company regarding the program’s effectiveness, see

Two flyers are provided for you to display in your library or take to your outreach partners, one in English and one in Spanish. The registration information is included on each of those. The direct link is:

Questions about this program may be directed to:

Isaac Troyo
Director of National UPSTART Program Implementations, Waterford Research InstituteWaterford Upstart logo