STEP (Summer Transition Education Program) into Kindergarten

Who are the benefactors?
Children’s Services Advisory Council, Title I – School District of Indian River County Federal Programs, United Way, John’s Island Community Service League, Quail Valley Charities, and the LJ Foundation.

Who are the participants?
4 and 5 year old children who have completed a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program and will be attending a Title I school in the Fall.

How does the Ed Foundation participate?
We helped to co-create the program with the SDIRC. We fund the project and provide additional supports (grant oversight, marketing and reporting).

What other groups or organization are involved?
We are the only organization, in partnership, with the School District of Indian River County to offer this FREE program to 4 and 5 year old children who will be entering a Title I school in the Fall.

We collaborate with other childcare providers to encourage them to refer students. Head Start students make up 60% of the children we serve each year.

When does it happen?

6-8 week program held through June and July of each year.

Why is the Ed Foundation involved?
We fund this program to advance Kindergarten readiness rates and to stop the summer slide of 4 and 5 year old children who have completed Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten programs.

Without the involvement of the Education Foundation, the program would only be able to serve 2 classrooms of children for about 2 weeks. We leverage partnerships with funding organizations to raise dollars not covered by tax/traditional resources to extend the school years for our most at-risk children.

Each year we raise over $239,000 to support this program that serves more than 30% of the Title I population of incoming Kindergarten students.

What is the goal?
To prepare children for Kindergarten success. This includes pre-reading, math and social/emotional skills to transition smoothly into a learning environment.

Are there volunteers? 

Not at this time. We hope to add this opportunity in the future.

What is the Ed Foundations investment in dollars?
$239,000 annually

What is the Ed Foundations investment in human and other resources?
Grant oversight and accountability.

How is the performance to goal measured?

Pre and Post testing:



One child in our STEP into K program is a foster child who is currently being adopted by related family members. Before this, his parents were drug users and sadly, they both ended up in prison. This child and his two siblings were bounced through 5 different foster homes before their elderly great aunt and uncle committed to their care. Needless to say, the child has developmental delays. The guardians have their hands full with a toddler, a pre-schooler and a rising middle schooler! This program is VITAL! Our church does all we can to help this family. Often, it’s hard to elicit a smile from these children. To see this child in photos and videos smiling and learning, brings tears of joy to my eyes! I’m so excited for our children here in IRC to have this opportunity.

~ Pat Blackburn
Board Member

What are the foundations expectations and projections for the future?
Our goal is to serve 50% of the entering Title I population of Kindergartners. Presently we serve 225 or 30% of this group.

How is the program funded?
Grants from the Children’s Services Advisory Council, Title I dollars from the School District of Indian River County, the United Way of Indian River County, the John’s Island Community Service League, Quail Valley Charities, and the LJ Foundation.

Why would a donor choose to support this program?
Investing in early childhood education pays big dividends. It means that we will not need to remediate or “catch up” children who arrive unprepared. Setting our students up for success means we will have a vibrant education system that benefits the entire community indefinitely.

step into kindergarten outcomes
step into kindergarten outcomes


Laica Gerwien-Moreta

Laica Gerwien-Moreta is a government contracting consultant with proven experience in the Information Technology, Aviation, Aerospace, and Health Industries. Laica previously held leadership roles within various defense contractors supporting domestic and international operations as well as medical management solutions and humanitarian programs.

Laica has also served as an Empowered Official overseeing all International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) related activities and responsible for the strategic alignment of resources and staffing in support of global supply chain. Laica holds a bachelor’s degree in technical management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and professional certification in government contracting from The George Washington University, School of Business.

She is a certified contract manager (GWCCM), member of the National Contract Management Association Space Coast Chapter, and regularly participates in professional development training.