How an Online Personalized Preschool Experiment Could Change the Way Rural America Does Early Education

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Garfield County, Utah, is about 5,200 square miles, and has just about as many people. Among its nine schools is Escalante School, which enrolls roughly 75 children from kindergarten through sixth grade. This year, eight of its future students are enrolled in Upstart, an online personalized learning preschool program that children complete from home. Upstart launched in Utah in 2009 as a low-cost option to expand preschool in a state that didn’t have a state-funded program. Since then, it has been a particular boon for the state’s rural areas. About 30,000 Utah children have gone through the program over the past eight years, with about 14,150 participating this school year. It has also now spread to seven other states, where 700 early learners are enrolled.

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