St. Vrain Valley Schools launches new initiative to close the early talk gap

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LENA, St. Vrain Valley Schools, and the Outreach United Resource Center, Inc., (OUR Center) are pleased to announce the launch of LENA Start in Longmont, Colo. this summer.

LENA Start provides a series of efficient, engaging parent sessions where caregivers learn to use feedback from LENA technology about their home language environment, along with simple strategies to increase interactive talk with their children. Interactive talk — specifically conversational turns — has been proven to be a key factor in early brain development.

“Working with LENA – the world leader in supporting language development through technology – and partnering with the OUR Center and the City of Longmont creates a national model for how communities can assure we’re doing everything possible to prepare our children to get the most out of our schools,” said Bob Smith, president of St. Vrain Valley Schools Board of Education.

LENA Start will be implemented as part of the Small Talk, Big Results initiative that started two years ago in St. Vrain Valley Schools, and places a strong emphasis on reading with young children and face-to-face engagement. St. Vrain and the OUR Center are partners in implementing the project, combining space, staffing, and funding resources.

“LENA’s program of helping parents improve talk with their children aligns with the OUR Center’s community-based, front-end prevention service model and early intervention practices,” said Edwina Salazar, executive director of the OUR Center. “The promotion of positive parenting and child development will enhance the capacity of families for self-reliance, for raising healthy children, and for contributing to the community.”

The Longmont initiative is one of more than 10 LENA Start sites launching around the country this year. The program is being implemented by hospitals, library systems, social service organizations, and other school districts.

“More than half the children coming into America’s schools today are low income, and the data show that they disproportionately start school under-prepared. Early language is the starting point in turning that around. The teams at St. Vrain and OUR Center understand that, and their location just up the road from our headquarters offers unique opportunities for learning and collaboration,” said Dr. Stephen Hannon, president of LENA.

LENA Team

The LENA Team is a dedicated group of professionals who are passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of early interactive talk. We are statisticians, speech-language pathologists, curriculum specialists, engineers and linguists.

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