First 10 Blog

First 10 Summer Institutes: A Joint Professional Learning Example from York, PA


Each year, starting in 2021, Head Start teachers, community-based Pre-K teachers, district Pre-K and K teachers, and assorted administrators in York, PA, have come together in the summer for a 1-day joint professional learning experience.

York’s First 10 Summer Institutes have been a great way for this community of educators to connect, build relationships, and learn from one another. Even though they are all educators in the same city, their professional paths might not have crossed without the Summer Institutes. We wanted to share this professional learning model in case other early education communities are interested in trying something similar.

In 2021, the Summer Institute focused on the transition to Kindergarten, social-emotional learning standards and strategies, and exploring ideas for building on a partnership with a local library. In 2022, they checked in on their Transition to K progress, compared Pre-K and K ELA learning standards, shared ELA teaching strategies, and discussed how to support York City’s Basics parenting campaign to support child development. In 2023, they continued The Basics conversation, shared best practices in supporting student learning in centers in Pre-K and K classrooms, and shared a local library’s resource opportunities (including science kits!). This coming summer, they’ll be focusing on early math learning. Our colleagues from Young Mathematicians will be offering professional development. Each year they set aside time to discuss how to best work with teachers across the community and support the ongoing collaboration that has grown out of the summer institutes.

A Summer Institute requires resources – funding, materials, and time. York has used funding from the school district and local philanthropies to support this work.