The University of Nevada, Las Vegas completed an HIA to inform decisions by the Nevada State Legislature on proposed modifications to the availability of full-day kindergarten and on allocating state funding to support full-day kindergarten in high-risk schools. The HIA highlighted connections between full-day kindergarten and academic success. In particular, the study found that black, Hispanic, English language learners, and low-income students who attend full-day kindergarten tend to score higher on standardized tests in third and fifth grade, increasing these students’ likelihood of eventually graduating from high school. Greater lifetime educational attainment could, in turn, affect healthy behaviors such as exercise and healthful eating, reduce disease risk, and improve life expectancy. Furthermore, students in full-day kindergarten may have greater access to school meals and services, such as vision and hearing screenings, which could also improve health.
In addition to addressing the factors above, recommendations from the HIA include prioritizing funding for full-day kindergarten for schools with high levels of English language learners and students receiving free and reduced-price school lunches; promoting physical activity and healthy behaviors through school meals, nutrition programs, recess, and exercise programs; and evaluating the effectiveness of full-day kindergarten.
Around the time the HIA report was released, Governor Sandoval signed a measure providing nearly $142 million to universally expand full-day kindergarten across the state of Nevada.