Making it Work: Implementing a Comprehensive PreK-3rd Grade Approach
The years between pre-kindergarten and third grade are vital to creating the foundation for later school success. Despite the growing efforts of states and communities to expand pre-kindergarten opportunities for 3- and 4-year olds and to close early achievement gaps, many young children in the United States still lack access to the quality early education and schooling that could make a difference. Achievement gaps and disparities in learning exist even as children enter pre-kindergarten and these gaps persist throughout early elementary school. By third grade, children’s school paths begin to diverge dramatically.
There is increasing evidence that high quality curricula and instruction, data-driven improvement, and instructional leadership that creates and sustains a supportive environment for young learners are central to effective reforms. In concert, they help to narrow achievement gaps and provide children with a solid foundation for lifelong learning. When these crucial efforts are connected and aligned to create continuity between early care and education (ECE) and elementary schools, the gains are even greater.
What You Will Learn
Gain the frameworks, research and strategies to support the implementation of a comprehensive PreK-3rd approach. Learn how to strengthen and improve your existing efforts in schools and in supporting families during the crucial years from pre-kindergarten through third grade. You will understand how high quality curricula and instruction, data-driven improvement and engaged leadership are key levers that positively impact young children’s learning. Targeting a deeper and more robust conceptual understanding of PreK-3rd, this institute focuses primarily on issues of PreK-3rd implementation across both school- and community-based sites.
Expanding pre-kindergarten is good, but not enough. Building transition plans from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten is good, but not enough. Implementing appropriate assessments to inform instruction and gauge children’s strengths in third grade is good, but not enough. These are the first, key steps to a strong PreK-3rd approach. In many cases, once these plans are in place, the next phase of work requires attention to these efforts and more. It requires intentional planning and alignment across the full continuum, from pre-kindergarten through third grade.
In a 4-day learning experience generously supported by the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the institute will focus on aligning, layering, integrating and, most importantly, implementing best practices from classroom to classroom and from grade to grade.
This curriculum is framed by three key levers of reform during these critical years: high quality curricula and instruction; data-driven improvement; and engaged and supportive leadership. Together, they establish a culture that focuses on children’s cognitive and social-emotional development, while also engaging administrators, teachers and families to work together more effectively to support young children’s learning.
In order to successfully embed PreK-3rd principles into policy and practice at every level—state, district, school and community—and to bring them to scale, innovative and visionary leadership is needed. The institute will address the development of school- and district-level leadership, policy supports as well as practical, rigorous accountability and evaluation.
- Understand how the latest research can inform your choice of PreK-3rd strategies and how best to evaluate them
- Refine and strengthen implementation strategies to improve and expand existing efforts, across school- and community-based sites
- Embed the PreK-3rd Implementation and Evaluation Framework, co-developed by Harvard Graduate School of Education, the College of Education at University of Washington, and the Center for Evaluation Innovation, into your strategic planning efforts, using it to identify starting points, practical action plans and logical next steps for expanding and enhancing PreK-3rd efforts
- Understand how to establish policies and practices that enable effective PreK-3rd education to be taken to scale
- Participate in a vibrant community of like-minded education reformers from across the nation
Who Should Attend
This is a team-based professional development opportunity. There is a short application that must be completed (one per team); teams will be selected to attend based on several criteria:
- Teams should comprise 6-8 members who are actively working together on the implementation of a comprehensive PreK-3rd approach. Strong preference will be given to teams that have a strategic plan and/or theory of action that guides their PreK-3rd efforts, and to those already engaged in implementation.
- Appropriate team members include: superintendents, chief academic officers, principals, curriculum and instruction directors, early learning administrators, members of early childhood and/or P–20 advisory councils, classroom teachers, instructional coaches, leaders from non-profit or community-based early childhood services, and other leaders across the early care and education and K–3 continuum.
- The intent of this Institute is to strengthen and propel forward implementation of PreK-3rd approaches; the focus is more on how to do PreK-3rd comprehensively and less on what is PreK-3rd. Preference will be given to teams that clearly demonstrate a history and a future of working together on implementing a comprehensive PreK-3rd approach.
- Because alignment among early childhood programs and elementary schools, as well as alignment between administrative levels, is critical to PreK–3rd work, preference will be given to teams with strategically diverse membership that reflects the collaborative nature of PreK-3rd work.
- Teams comprised of different perspectives lend themselves to rich intra- and inter-team learning opportunities and provocative thinking about planning and implementation.
Nonie Lesaux is Marie and Max Kargman Associate Professor in Human Development and Urban Education Advancement at HGSE. Working in partnership with instructional leaders and policymakers, Lesaux aims to increase opportunities to learn for children from diverse linguistic, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Her extensive research on reading and vocabulary development and instruction, and her work focused on using data to prevent reading difficulties, has implications for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. Among numerous publications written for scholars and practitioners, Lesaux is the author of Making Assessment Matter: Using Test Results to Differentiate Reading Instruction, written for instructional leaders and teachers. She was also lead author on a recent state-level report, Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success which lays out a comprehensive plan for promoting literacy from birth to age 9, across communities, homes, and educational settings.
Lesaux’s work has been supported by grants from several organizations, including the Institute of Education Sciences, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Council of the Great City schools. In 2009, she was a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the United States government to young professionals beginning their independent research careers.
Stephanie Jones is Assistant Professor of Education at HGSE. Her research focuses on the longitudinal effects of poverty and exposure to violence on social and emotional development in early childhood and adolescence. In addition, she conducts evaluation research focusing on the developmental impact of school-based interventions targeting children's social-emotional skills and aggressive behavior, as well as their basic academic skills. She is a Principal Investigator of a multi-year, 9 wave cluster-randomized, experimental evaluation of the 4Rs Program, a universal school-based intervention designed to integrate social-emotional learning and literacy development, funded by NIMH, the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, as well as by the William T. Grant Foundation.
She is also involved as Co-Investigator in a number of similar evaluation studies conducted in early childhood educational settings (Chicago School Readiness Project, Foundations of Learning, Head Start CARES). Previously, she had worked as a Research Associate at Columbia University's National Center for Children in Poverty. She was awarded the 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Education for her work with Zigler and Walter Gilliam on A Vision for Universal Preschool Education, published by Cambridge University Press.
Kristie Kauerz is a research scientist at the University of Washington and Program Director for PreK-3rd Education, a collaborative initiative of UW and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Kauerz specializes in bridging policy, research, and practice. She focuses primarily on early care and education and elementary school reform, with particular interest in state-level policy. Kauerz’s expertise is based in her work with more than 40 states and dozens of school districts on issues related to P-3 (pre-natal through 3rd grade). Her experience includes work at the state level, as an early childhood and P-3 policy advisor, for two former Colorado governors – Bill Ritter, Jr. and Roy Romer; at the national level, as program director for early learning at Education Commission of the States; and in academia at the National Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, and at the Center for Human Investment Policy, University of Colorado-Denver.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles, book chapters, and reports on topics ranging from state kindergarten policies to early childhood governance to P-3 policy alignment. She co-authored Washington State’s Early Learning and Development Benchmarks, a book on improving the early care and education teaching workforce, and is co-editor of a forthcoming volume, Early Childhood Systems: Transforming Early Learning, to be published in January 2012. Kauerz is the lead author on the PreK-3rd Implementation and Evaluation Framework, a self-assessment tool to guide schools, districts, communities and states to establish comprehensive PreK-3rd approaches.
Detailed program information and accommodation options will be provided to all admitted participants. The Harvard Graduate School of Education is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred. We recommend that you not make lodging and travel arrangements until you are admitted to the program.
This is an application program. Teams will be selected based upon the match between their stated objectives and the goals of the program. To maximize the learning experience, the program aims to bring together as diverse a group as possible.
The per-person program fee of $1,095 includes tuition, all instructional materials, refreshments during breaks, a limited number of meals and a social event. Participants receive a certificate of completion and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.
Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of registration and prior to the program start. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.
Cancellations must be submitted via fax or email. Full refunds will be given up to 30 days prior to the start of the program. Due to program demand and pre-institute preparations, cancellations received 29–14 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of 10% of the program tuition. Cancellations received within 13 days prior to the start of the program and no-shows are subject to the full program tuition. Please note: cancellation fees are based upon the date the written request is received.
The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.