Digital Early Literacy Program

Leveraging technology to close the achievement gap and accelerate literacy

NapaLearns’ Digital Early Learning (DEL) Initiative supports the five Napa County school districts and the County Office of Education, helping them implement preschool through 2nd grade online reading and math programs that include vocabulary development, multimedia storytelling, personalized learning through games and activities, and progress tracking.

Digital Early Learning in Napa County originated with a pilot program in 2011 called Summer Bridges, with 17 children of high poverty who were also English Language Learners (ELL) and who had no school experience. In collaboration with the Calistoga Joint Unified School District, the Calistoga Family Center, Napa Valley First Steps program, and the Napa County Office of Education, NapaLearns provided funding to support these disadvantaged children with iPads, digital reading curricula, Footsteps2Brilliance, and pre-post kindergarten readiness assessments during the 4 week preschool program.

Video from Calistoga Summer Bridges Program

“When they use the iPads, I can see my students’ natural abilities to be creative and independent.” – Calistoga Kindergarten Teacher

NapaLearns invests in seed-funding and evaluating innovative learning programs followed by expansion and sustainability supported by district funding. This approach was wildly successful with the Digital Early Learning program as districts and NapaLearns co-funded teacher professional development, acquisition of devices, digital curriculum, and parent training over the next four years until every preschool through 2nd grade classroom had fully engaged teachers and students.

Project Milestones

  • 2011-2012 The program was expanded to 210 kindergarten students at seven schools in 13 classes in Napa Valley, St. Helena, and Calistoga schools.
  • 2012-2013 The program expanded to 590 kindergarten students in 40 classes, including Howell Mountain and Pope Valley schools. The number of English Language Learners who performed at a six year old level grew by 35%, with 80% of them performing at that level in only 5 months. Students in first grade were using iPads and digital curriculum, including story writing tools and math games.
  • 2014-2015 All preschool – 2nd grade classrooms in the county with 4,950 students and 195 teachers were using DEL tools and curriculum. Teachers reported that the achievement gap is closing and they are seeing 3rd graders, especially ELL and disadvantaged children who have been in the program since kindergarten, performing better than ever before.
  • 2015 The Napa County Office of Education in collaboration with NapaLearns won the eSchool News Collaboration Nation contest and was awarded the Grand Prize of $50,000 of equipment and services!
  • 2015-2016 NapaLearns continues to support the Napa County Office of Education’s 23 preschool classrooms with 410 students, 78% of whom are English Language Learners and live in poverty. NapaLearns co-funds teacher professional development, parent training, digital curriculum, and digital devices for families through our Tech Connection.

NapaLearns and the Napa County Office of Education also make Footsteps2Brilliance available to all Napa County parents of preschoolers and as of June 2018, more than 2400 children have experienced more than 100 million words while reading books and playing games.