SAN ANTONIO, TX, JANUARY 6, 2021 – For Sarah Baray, a dream seemed within reach as 2020 opened. More four-year-olds than ever before would spend at least part of their days in San Antonio classrooms, giggling and exploring with teachers skillfully guiding their play into crucial learning.

After four years as chief executive of an ambitious program to bring pre-K programs to San Antonio’s children, Baray saw it becoming an equalizer in the nation’s seventh largest city, just as she knew it could.

Ninety percent of San Antonio’s 25,000 4-year-olds were enrolled in pre-K at the beginning of the year – a pacesetting goal for Texas and the nation.

These joyful, creative classrooms were not just in exclusive private preschools and wealthy suburbs. They were all over the city — in neighborhoods where parents could not afford elite private schools, and in elementary schools where nearly every child qualified for free and reduced lunch.

Not only were more children being reached, but pre-K classrooms had been getting better. At private centers, teachers were learning new techniques to take play time and turn it into rich fodder for learning patience and patterns. Public schools were going from half-day programs to full-day, doubling the time for stories, play-dough numbers, yoga, and scissor skills. Read more.