New Study Released Today: All Children Learn and Thrive

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We are pleased to release All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities.

This study examines First 10 Schools and Communities—coordinated efforts taking place around the country to improve teaching, learning, and care during the first decade of children’s lives.

First 10 Schools and Communities bring together school districts, elementary schools, and early childhood programs to improve the quality of education and care for young children and their families. They work to improve teaching and learning, deepen partnerships with families, and provide comprehensive services for children and families.

Live-Streamed Panel Moderated by Ed Week’s Christina Samuels: The First 10 Years

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The Early and Elementary Education Policy unit at New America is hosting a panel event on the release of my new study, “All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities.” The live-streamed event will take place in Washington, DC on April 30.

Laura Bornfreund of New America is organizing the event and will introduce the panel, which will be moderated by Christina Samuels of Education Week. Deborah Stipek (Stanford University) and Kwesi Rollins (Institute for Education Leadership) will provide expert commentary on the study. Three leaders from communities described in the report will share their experiences implementing innovative initiatives to improve teaching, learning, and care throughout the first decade of children’s lives:

  • Brooke Chilton-Timmons
    Youth and Families Services Division, SUN Service System, Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Lei-Anne Ellis
    Cambridge Birth–3rd Grade Partnership, Cambridge Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Criselda Lopez Anderson
    Buffett Early Childhood Institute, Omaha, Nebraska

You can learn more about the event and RSVP here. Hope to see you there.

New Study, New Name: Introducing First 10

The P-3 Learning Hub is changing its name. We are now called First 10.

For the past two years I have been working on a study funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation. The study investigates community initiatives that combine improving teaching and learning in the early grades with strong family partnerships and comprehensive services—all underpinned by a deep commitment to educational equity. The study provided a great opportunity to talk with community leaders in 18 communities throughout the country and conduct site visits to six of them. The innovative work these communities are doing is inspiring.

My experience learning about these communities has convinced me that we need a new name for this powerful combination of strategies. Further, the name needs to communicate the importance of collaboration between school districts, elementary schools, and other early childhood organizations and programs. As I explain here, I follow Arthur Reynolds and Judy Temple in defining early childhood as roughly the first decade of life, and with this in mind I call these important community initiatives First 10 Schools and Communities.

The study will be released on April 30 at a live-streamed panel event at New America in Washington, DC. (I will post the invitation to the event next.)

The report includes 7 key findings regarding First 10 initiatives. Informed by the experiences of the communities I profile in the study, I propose a new theory of action that outlines the roles that First 10 Schools and Communities can play to improve teaching, learning, and care in the first decade of children’s lives.

Moving forward, this website and the related research and technical assistance projects my colleagues and I do will focus on supporting First 10 initiatives. (And by the way, the url you have been using will continue to work, but our primary domain is now first10.org.)

Pianta to Policymakers: Build a System, Include K-5

Early childhood expert and UVA dean, Robert Pianta, in The Hill:

“There is precious little evidence that boosts from pre-k are then followed by boosts in kindergarten, first, and second grades – the kind of cumulative impact that produces lasting increases in academic achievement.

More to the point, focusing so intently on universal pre-K obscures the fact that most pre-K (and K-2) programs still require a lot of improvements when it comes to curriculum, assessment, and effective instruction. And perhaps more importantly, there is abundant evidence that the experiences provided to children across these years are poorly aligned, resulting in repetition of instruction that hold some of our children back.

So let’s stop thinking that pre-k, universal or targeted, is the silver bullet answer.  And for every argument about expanding or improving pre-k, let’s add a focus on strengthening and aligning curricula across the early grades, which spans from pre-K through third grade. Young students need a consistent trajectory of educational experiences that builds on the preceding years—and informs what follows.”

For the full article, see Running on a New Promise for Pre-K.

Lancaster County’s Purple Agenda

Woohoo, Lancaster County, PA! What Friedman doesn’t say is that Lancaster County is gearing up for a comprehensive P-3 initiative. More to come about the Lancaster County  approach to comprehensive P-3 in the coming months. For the connection between the kind of bi-partisan, place-based collective impact initiative Friedman describes and early childhood/P-3, see A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education.

The National P-3 Center’s New Framework in Action Series

The National P-3 Center is launching a new publication series, Framework in Action. Each brief in this helpful new series includes a short digest of the research, suggested starting points, common implementation pitfalls, indicators of progress, and examples of promising efforts and success stories.

The Center’s Director, Kristie Kauerz, provides the following introduction:

“The first in the series – Framework in Action: Administrator Effectiveness – addresses the important roles and responsibilities of elementary principals, Early Care and Education directors/managers (from PreK, Head Start, and child care), and other district-level or program-level administrators. Much attention, both positive and negative, has been paid to administrators’ effectiveness in supporting young children’s learning and in building alignment between the traditionally disparate systems of birth-to-five and K-12.

The Framework in Action series expands on the Framework for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating P-3 Approaches (Kauerz & Coffman, 2013) and provides brief research reviews, practical strategies, and guidance for creating meaningful and tangible change in communities. Each Framework in Action corresponds with one of the eight buckets of alignment effort identified as essential to high-quality and comprehensive P-3 approaches.

Framework in Action that corresponds with each of the remaining seven buckets will be released throughout the remainder of the year.”