Why focus on Lancaster County’s youngest kids could break cycle of poverty

lancaster article

Last week I posted Thomas Friedman’s article about civic renewal in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. On Sunday Lancaster’s newspaper published an article about the county’s new P-3 initiative (which I’ve been supporting). Reporter Jeff Hawkes does a nice job using local examples to introduce P-3 improvement. See in particular:

  • How Hawkes follows a family receiving home visiting services to discuss the importance of P-3.
  • The important roles played by the United Way and the Community Action Partnership (CAP) as intermediary/backbone organizations.
  • How Jill Koser, a former elementary school principal and the current head of education and child development at the CAP, is able to use her experience to help bridge early childhood and elementary school education.
  • The connection between P-3 and 2 Generation programs as Anna Rodriguez participates in Parents as Teachers and a GED program.

You can find the article here.

New Case Studies: PreK-3rd Alignment

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a set of case studies of PreK-3rd Alignment and Differentiated Instruction. The case studies are of the Boston Public Schools, the Chicago Child-Parent Centers, Early Works, FirstSchool, and the SEAL program.

The alignment efforts in these programs all emphasize developmentally-appropriate instruction and focus on building students’ vocabulary, oral language skills, and social-emotional skills. All of the programs organize their teachers in professional learning communities and support them with coaches. In addition to the findings across the five programs, the case studies at the end provide helpful detail about each model.

The New America Foundation’s Aaron Lowenberg provides a nice overview here.

Jim Lesko on “Why a Birth–3rd Approach?”

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

“Kindergarten Readiness Begins Early in New Bedford”

A great article about how New Bedford, MA has come together to support a focused Birth–3rd strategy. Thanks to Titus DosRemedios and Strategies for Children for laying it out so clearly and compellingly (and for the kind mention). Titus has also been a key contributor to New Bedford’s Partnership. It has been very inspiring to see New Bedford embrace this work. The district and the community have brought great ideas and experience to the table, and we are seeing the results in a concerted program of on-the-ground activity this fall.

Also of note, emerging out of this work is a deepening and very promising partnership between the New Bedford Public Schools and the Housing Authority. With district support, the Housing Authority is expanding and developing the educational components of its after-school programs. District teachers and “resident service coordinators” from the Housing Authority will meet regularly to discuss the children they share in common; resident service coordinators are participating in the district’s early literacy professional development, which also includes both district and community-based prekindergarten teachers; and the district’s literacy coach is advising the Housing Authority on program design, book purchases, and other aspects of the after-school program.

Kindergarten Readiness Begins Early in New Bedford (Eye on Early Education)