Here is my new Education Week Commentary on bridging the gaps between early childhood, elementary school, and health and human services. Please join me in getting the word out and supporting these important collaborations. In addition to the leading edge communities I mention in the essay, 13 communities in Maine and 4 communities in Pennsylvania are implementing First 10 initiatives, and 7 more communities in Pennsylvania are beginning the planning process.
For a helpful introduction to the First 10 study, see Eye on Early Education’s review, Addressing the Gaps in Children’s First 10 Years. Eye on Early Education is the blog of Massachusetts’ early childhood advocacy organization, Strategies for Children. With its Massachusetts audience in mind, this post highlights examples of First 10 work in Boston, Cambridge, and Lowell. The First 10 study also includes examples from California, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio, and Oregon.
In case you missed it, here is the video recording of the April 30 New America panel event on my new study. The study, All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities, examines partnerships between school districts and communities to improve teaching, learning, and care throughout the first decade of children’s lives.
I provide a 20-minute overview of the First 10 approach and my major findings beginning at the 5:35 time mark. Then Education Week’s Christina Samuels does a great job moderating two panel discussions: the first with Deborah Stipek of Stanford and Kwesi Rollins of the Institute for Educational Leadership and the second with leaders of innovative First 10 projects in Omaha, NE, Multnomah County, OR, and Cambridge, MA.
Panel #1 discusses the implications of First 10 initiatives for building community systems that support young children and their families, how First 10 initiatives can strengthen developmentally appropriate practice, the challenge of sustaining ambitious initiatives, and the role of states in supporting this work.
Then in panel #2, Ms. Samuels talks with Brooke Chilton-Timmons, Cris Lopez Anderson, and Lei-Anne Ellis about their experiences leading First 10 initiatives. Topics include:
- The role of play-and-learn groups
- Improving teaching and learning in kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms
- Addressing the needs of culturally-specific groups
- Community-wide quality improvement initiatives
- Garnering principal buy-in
- Governing First 10 Community Partnerships
Many thanks to Laura Bornfreund and New America for hosting the panel, to Christina Samuels and the panelists for their participation, and to the Heising-Simons Foundation for supporting this research.
For a 10-minute audio introduction to my new report, All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities, check out this new podcast. EDC’s Burt Granofsky interviews me about the major themes of the study.
Just out in Kappan magazine:
“In many cities and towns across the United States, elementary schools are forging deeper partnerships with families and community organizations well before children arrive at kindergarten. The aim of this work is to improve children’s experiences and family engagement and support along the entire continuum from prenatal care through grade 3 and beyond.
This potent combination of educational supports and family services is the single best strategy we have to address pernicious opportunity gaps and raise achievement for low-income children. Communities such as Cincinnati, Ohio; Omaha, Neb., and Multnomah County, Ore., are embracing this approach to tackle persistent poverty, family instability, the hollowing out of the middle class, and the demand for a more highly skilled workforce.”
You can find the full article here.
David Kirp’s recent New York Times op-ed on community schools in Tulsa is getting a lot of attention. Kirp is also the author of Improbable Scholars, which tells the story of how Union City, NJ has achieved remarkable educational results, including its well-known P-3 work.
Here are a few select quotations from the NYT article on Tulsa:
“The school district also realized, as Ms. Burden put it, that “focusing entirely on academics wasn’t enough, especially for poor kids.” Beginning in 2004, Union started revamping its schools into what are generally known as community schools. These schools open early, so parents can drop off their kids on their way to work, and stay open late and during summers. They offer students the cornucopia of activities — art, music, science, sports, tutoring — that middle-class families routinely provide. They operate as neighborhood hubs, providing families with access to a health care clinic in the school or nearby; connecting parents to job-training opportunities; delivering clothing, food, furniture and bikes; and enabling teenage mothers to graduate by offering day care for their infants.”
“The truth is that school systems improve not through flash and dazzle but by linking talented teachers, a challenging curriculum and engaged students. This is Union’s not-so-secret sauce: Start out with an academically solid foundation, then look for ways to keep getting better.”
“Union’s model begins with high-quality prekindergarten, which enrolls almost 80 percent of the 4-year-olds in the district. And it ends at the high school, which combines a collegiate atmosphere — lecture halls, student lounges and a cafeteria with nine food stations that dish up meals like fish tacos and pasta puttanesca — with the one-on-one attention that characterizes the district.”
“Under the radar, from Union City, N.J., and Montgomery County, Md., to Long Beach and Gardena, Calif., school systems with sizable numbers of students from poor families are doing great work. These ordinary districts took the time they needed to lay the groundwork for extraordinary results.”