Wednesday, September 24, 2008

HIPPY as Added Value

One of the questions that principals ask us when considering implementation of HIPPY is “Why should I spend money on services to a few 3, 4, and 5 year olds when I have a whole school to take care of?”. It’s a valid point especially as resources continuously shrink for education. Our answer is that HIPPY services don’t just affect a few 3, 4, and 5 year olds for that one year. We have research that demonstrates that HIPPY children do significantly better in school, all the way through High School. Texas Kindergarten teachers rate 90+% of HIPPY children as well prepared for school, this affects those children throughout their school careers. Every month a parent meeting is held at the school in which all the parents of the school are invited to participate. Lastly, HIPPY parents are asked to give back 20 hours as volunteers at the school, and many schools report that PTA participation is up since HIPPY began. HIPPY adds value to the whole school by increasing parent involvement, making lasting changes in children’s education and bringing parents into the school as active and supportive volunteers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Intervention in Early Childhood: Links to School Success

We're often asked to demonstrate HIPPY's quantitative, research based effects. Below are highlights from a recent study developed by Dr. Angela Nievar, from the University of North Texas.

Research questions

Do students who have received a home visiting intervention program have significantly higher average reading scores than a comparable group of students, controlling for income and classroom quality?

Do students who have received an early childhood preschool program have significantly higher average reading scores than a comparable group of students, controlling for income and classroom quality?

In the Texas HIPPY program, 75% of families served are Hispanic, 18% are African American, 4% are Asian, 2% are Native American, and 1% is White. The median annual income of HIPPY families in Texas is $10,000, and almost 75% of parents surveyed had not graduated from high school.

The Classroom Effectiveness Index (CEI) measures the effectiveness of the child’s language arts teacher in the third grade (m = 5.01, sd = 9.69). CEIs are calculated through the use of multiple regression and hierarchical linear modeling and widely used to hold schools, principals, and teachers accountable for student achievement (Bembry, 1997).

Our results concur with a meta-analysis of early childhood parenting intervention programs (van IJzendoorn, Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & Juffer, F., 2003); intervention programs that involve the parent have a positive effect on at-risk children. Our analyses looked at the effectiveness of prekindergarten and home visiting programs, separately and combined, on third grade reading achievement. The majority of students in the HIPPY home visiting program also attended prekindergarten; hence the number of HIPPY-only students is too small to test. As expected, a preliminary analysis showed a significant association between the Classroom Effectiveness Indices (CEI) and TAKS reading test (r = .22, p < .001). Correlations between income and both the CEI and TAKS reading measures were, respectively (r = .04, p < .001, r = .08, p < .001).

The models in Table 1 provide insight into the combined effects of socioeconomic status, classroom quality, and early intervention within low-income Spanish-speaking families. It was of particular interest that prekindergarten alone was not an effective intervention for this group. The HIPPY program predicted higher scores on TAKS reading when combined with prekindergarten. A test of the HIPPY program, including students who were only in HIPPY and in both groups, was also significant.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Sarah Thorne, our first VISTA member!

The HIPPY*VISTA project is our newest initiative undertaken to expand HIPPY services in Texas. Four community agencies have expressed an interest in implementing HIPPY, and have committed to supporting a VISTA member on site at their organization. These VISTA members will develop partnerships, establish an infrastructure and secure funding to start HIPPY in the next 2 years. We are currently recruiting members for the communities of Denton, Carrollton-Farmer's Branch, Edinburg and Maypearl Texas.

We have three overarching goals in our VISTA plan:

GOAL 1: VISTA members will engage the professional community as well as stakeholders and potential collaborators in the community resulting in the establishment of a School Readiness Task Force that will develop and implement a plan to increase parent involvement and school readiness in the community.

GOAL 2: VISTA members will engage parents in the community in school readiness activities in order for children to enter school ready to succeed.

GOAL 3: VISTA members will develop the infrastructure, partnerships and resources necessary to establish a fully functioning and sustainable parent involvement and school readiness program in the community.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Austin HIPPY Closes

Melanie Walter Mahoney, Texas HIPPY Rally 2008

It's never easy when a program closes, especially when it has been serving families successfully for over 15 years! It is with sadness I share the letter, below, I received from our Austin HIPPY Coordinator, Melanie Walter Mahoney. We have hopes that Austin HIPPY will return, and will be working diligently to make it happen!
Dear HIPPY Advisors and Friends-

Since 1991 HIPPY has been a program of Communities In Schools of Central Texas, serving families of Austin's young children' through home visitation with the goals of school readiness and parental involvement in children's education. As of 8/31/08, HIPPY will no longer be a program of CIS due to funding challenges for the past 5 years when Child Protective Services cut funding for its Prevention and Early Intervention Programs statewide in order to balance its budget, as all State agencies were mandated by the Legislature to do. I am writing to you to ask for your sage advice and help. Communities In Schools is looking for another organization to adopt HIPPY in Austin, perhaps an organization that works with parents of young children with funding for that purpose. Most HIPPY programs around Texas and the United States are parts of school districts and receive Title I funding, which is used in Austin to pay for parent support specialists in the schools. I ask that each of you please think about the organizations you are involved with and whether HIPPY might be a possible fit with them, including organizations with which you volunteer, and let me know of any thoughts that you have. HIPPY supporters will also be visiting representatives at the Capitol again to educate them regarding the need for funding from the next legislative session. If you need more information about HIPPY please refer to or I do look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards, Melanie

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Spotlight on Grand Prairie!

The HIPPY USA preservice tradition is a Thursday dinner with talent show put on by the participants. Here Esmeralda Rodriguez of Grand Prairie joined an Alabama team for the HIPPY Olympics!

Grand Prairie HIPPY started in 2005 with two elementary schools and 3 home visitors. After 3 years of successful implementation the program staff had the opportunity to present the model to principals across the district. Immediately the demand for the program increased, when principals heard how successful it had been in neighboring schools! This year, Grand Prairie grew from two schools to seventeen campuses served! Our HIPPY end of year celebrations in Grand Prairie boasted 280 parents and children in attendance!!! Principals, parents, administrators, school board members and community representatives, along with "Maya and Miguel" celebrated together. Our congratulations to the 184 four year olds, and 37 five year olds and their parents who completed the 30 week curriculum this year.

The success of Grand Prairie HIPPY is thanks to the strong leadership provided within the District, especially from Sandra De La Cruz, who had experienced HIPPY in a former job with Dallas ISD, as well as Gina Esparza, who was also a former HIPPY coordinator in Dallas, and now Miriam Rios, HIPPY coordinator, and her team of Home Instructors. It is with pride and sadness that we say congratulations to Gina as she takes on a new leadership position as an Elementary School Assistant Principal at Eisenhower Elementary in Grand Prairie. We'll miss you Gina!