Policy

Connecting the Steps: State Strategies to Ease the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten

This report examines strategies implemented by four states to improve the kindergarten transition process: West Virginia, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. The authors describe actions each state has taken to address the difficulties that often arise in the transition to kindergarten and the opportunities and challenges with their various approaches. The report concludes with four policy …

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A False Dichotomy: Elementary Principals on Academics and Play

Research suggests that play, particularly up through 3rd grade, has become less prevalent in classrooms. The authors argue that with greater knowledge of child development and appropriate practices, principals would be more likely to understand that scaffolded play can and does lead to learning. In this brief, they conclude that principals who know best practices in …

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Why Elementary School Principals Matter

In order for elementary school principals to be effective early education leaders, they must establish a PreK-3rd grade culture and continuum within their schools; build relationships with families and other community early education providers; and ensure effective, developmentally-appropriate teaching and assessment within their schools. Further, to ensure that principals are knowledgeable about the unique nature of …

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Bringing it All Together: Elementary Principals are Key to Strong PreK-3rd Grade Classrooms

This brief presents four actions for states and school districts to better support elementary school principals: [1] states should incorporate early childhood education into principal preparation programs; [2] states and school districts should provide ongoing professional learning opportunities related to early education; [3] states and school districts should invest in opportunities to bring elementary school …

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Connecting Pre-K and the Early Grades: Principals on Transitions

This policy brief argues that child care centers and Head Start programs should not be the only agencies trying to help their families navigate the new world of Kindergarten and elementary school. It asserts that elementary school principals should recognize the value in establishing relationships with center administrators and building connections between what happens before …

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Better Policies for Dual Language Learners: Bridging Research, Policy, Implementation, and Classroom Practice

The New America Foundation publicly launched the Dual Language Learners Work Group in January 2015. Work Group founder Conor Williams identified the following as priorities for their work: Conduct case studies of districts implementing innovative policies for supporting DLLs; Convene meetings of leading DLL advocates, researchers, and policy thinkers; and Provide a steady stream of …

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Building a Skilled Teacher Workforce: Shared and Divergent Challenges in Early Care and Education and in Grades K-12

This paper identifies the unique personnel-related opportunities and challenges the early childhood education sector faces, and describes how these differ from those encountered in grades K-12. Whitebook concludes that the four cornerstones of a sturdy early childhood personnel structure–human capital development, the professional development infrastructure, the teaching context, and system finance–call for bold vision, creative …

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A Framework for Rethinking State Education Accountability and Support from Birth Through High School

Accountability systems measure the professional practice of schools, and then help schools improve their practices as a means of achieving better student outcomes. States should build on the best ideas in both early childhood and K-12 accountability systems to create a single statewide education accountability system from birth through high school–one that sets the right …

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Towards Equitable Parent-School Collaboration: Developing Common Parent Engagement Indicators

Education systems are increasingly expected to partner with parents and families to ensure the success of all students; however, the field struggles to characterize and measure parent engagement and its impacts. This report presents common indicators of parent engagement as a way to quantify parent-school collaboration. These indicators include: the percentage of parents who feel …

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Parent Engagement From Preschool Through Grade 3

While high-quality teaching in preschool and the early grades is essential, parents can also play a vital role in helping children acquire foundational competencies–including language, literacy, early math, and social-emotional skills– that fuel school success. Given the evidence that parent involvement holds significant benefits for children, efforts to promote effective parent engagement should be viewed …

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