New America and the Center for Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) are partnering on a series of posts about the implications of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for early childhood. You can find my contribution to this series here: The Leading Edge of Local System-Building: ESSA and Continuity Across the First Decade of Children’s Lives. And here’s an excerpt:
“ESSA requires school districts that receive Title 1 funding to coordinate with Head Start programs, and it gives states the flexibility to expand early childhood, incorporate early learning into school improvement plans, improve transitions to kindergarten, and improve educator professional learning. How should states and communities best take advantage of these opportunities? What would continuity of high-quality experiences look like in practice, and what are the implications for state and community system-building?
I suggest that leading-edge school and community partnerships focused on the first decade of children’s lives can help answer these questions and provide new direction to states and communities as they implement ESSA plans.”
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.
This post is a cross-posting from Preschool Matters Today, the blog of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). Thanks to Michelle Ruess at NIEER for her support.
In western Oregon, a regional early learning hub supports 30 partnerships of elementary schools, neighboring family childcare providers and community-based preschools focused on professional learning and family engagement.
In Lowell, MA, elementary schools, preschool centers, and family childcare providers working in the same neighborhoods participate in “communities of practice” to improve teaching and family engagement. In addition, the city’s P-3 Leadership Alignment Team developed a school readiness definition and strategy that is informing city health, social services, and education programs.
A Community Innovation Zone in Harrisburg, PA recognized that a paucity of pre-kindergarten opportunities resulted in too many children entering kindergarten with no preschool experience. It responded by providing a summer bridge program offering not only activities and starter libraries for children, but also workshops for parents.
Such partnerships are not accidental. Each resulted from deliberate efforts by state education agencies (SEAs) to support quality improvement and alignment throughout the prenatal through third grade (P-3) continuum. This support includes grant programs funding local P-3 efforts and state policy work to align standards, develop formative assessments, and organize leadership and workforce development opportunities.
My recently published report, Building State P-3 Systems: Learning from Leading States, examines the P-3 work underway in Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, states that are part of a broader movement focused on improving quality and continuity across the P-3 continuum. Three overarching lessons for future state P-3 initiatives stand out.
Continue reading “Three Lessons: How States Can Support P-3 Efforts”
Massachusetts’ early childhood childhood advocacy organization, Strategies for Children, has posted a thoughtful article on how states should incorporate Birth-3rd strategies into their plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Other states may find the recommendations to be of interest as well. As the article states,
“It’s … crucial for our state ESSA plan to include early education throughout — and not treat the early years as an afterthought. We have to look at how much Title I funding is being used locally to support preschools. How many children enter kindergarten each year with no prior preschool experience? Let’s figure these things out as a state and provide guidance to districts that want to build out their early learning strategies.
The state could also provide guidance for schools and districts on how to collaborate with the early childhood “mixed delivery” system of preschool programs that includes schools, centers, and family-owned settings.”
Alyssa Haywoode has done a nice summary of Building State P-3 Systems at Eye on Early Education.
The Center for Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) recently released a report I wrote comparing P-3 System-Building in Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. The three case studies address a central question: How can states support P-3 system building at both state and local levels?
See the Executive Summary at the beginning of the report for nine themes and patterns and nine recommendations for state education agencies. There are also examples of local P-3 efforts, both urban and rural, throughout the report.
On Monday we are doing a webinar on the report for people interested in the state role in P-3 efforts. Panelists from all three states are participating.
My thanks to all the interviewees and panelists for their thoughtful insights on the work they are leading. And to my CEELO colleagues for all the helpful feedback throughout the project.
In Washington, DC for a meeting with Preschool Development Grant and Early Learning Challenge grantees. Jim Lesko of AEM discusses the rationale for Birth–3rd approaches:
- Eliminates artificial distinction between early childhood and early elementary education.
- Supports continuity, coherence, and support for children
- Promotes intentional and collaborative professional development
- Promotes cross-pollination of knowledge about development leading to sustaining efforts to support children’s learning gains
He adds that a coherent and aligned Birth–3rd system:
- Focuses on the whole child
- Provides seamless transition across components
- Includes aligned and comprehensive standards and curriculum
- Uses comparable instructional practices
- Enables communication and data-sharing across the entire assessment
- Establishes durable and long-lasting family, community, and school partnerships
- Supports PreK–3rd teachers participating in joint professional development opportunities
- Reduces the achievement gap among children in families at risk