P-3 Case Studies

P-3 is not just a state-level endeavor, not just a district-level concern, and not just an interest for classroom teachers. Indeed, P-3 alignment must occur at multiple levels -- state, district, community, school, and classroom. While alignment is a common element at each level, alignment looks different and requires diverse strategies depending on the level of effort. Case studies that focus on a specific level of effort provide the most targeted and replicable strategies from which others can learn. This page provides links to case studies that focus on a variety of implementation levels.

State-Level Perspectives

Publication Date: Jan 2010
Authors:
Nonie Lesaux
Synopsis:

This report exposes the high costs of childhood reading failure and examines external and in-school barriers to reading achievement within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Author Nonie LeSaux calls for a major, comprehensive refocusing of efforts to create strong, successful readers. Among the recommendations featured in this report, she highlights the need to conduct early and ongoing assessments of children's language and reading and of the quality of services and supports; bring language-rich, rigorous and engaging reading curricula into early education and care settings, as well as PreK-3rd grade classrooms; and expand and strengthen work with families across learning settings and within communities.

Publication Date: Sep 2011
Authors:
Paul Nyhan
Synopsis:

The New School Foundation was one of the first organizations to focus on the importance of P-3 work. Since 2005 its work has highlighted the need for strong leadership within the PreK-3rd grade reform movement, emphasized the importance of creating and maintaining public-private community partnerships, and has championed the necessity of creating PreK-3rd model schools to serve as exemplars of reform. 

Publication Date: Aug 2016
Authors:
David Jacobson
Synopsis:

Communities, states, and the federal government are all working to improve quality and coherence across the P-3 continuum. This report provides three case studies to address a central question: How can states support P-3 system building at both state and local levels? The case studies examine the work taking place in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. 

District-Level Perspectives

Publication Date: May 2016
Authors:
Rachel Valentino and Deborah J. Stipek
Synopsis:
This research paper documents: 1) how key district and policy leaders in California conceptualize PreK-3rd grade alignment; 2) what kinds of policies and practices districts have implemented to achieve alignment; 3) what kinds of efforts and practices have been successful and the critical ingredients of their success; and 4) the main barriers districts and schools have encountered when attempting to achieve alignment between preschool and the elementary grades. The report highlights efforts from Fresno Unified School District and Long Beach Unified School District.
Publication Date: Mar 2013
Authors:
Geoff and Sky Marietta
Synopsis:

With a strong focus on PreK-3rd grade, Union City Public Schools overcame the crippling effects of poverty and prejudice to close the achievement gap between its low-income Hispanic students and their wealthier peers across New Jersey. The district overhauled its curricula to emphasize critical thinking and reasoning, extended classtime, and increased teacher training. The district also bridged the all-too-common divide between home and school, particularly for young Dual Language Learners (DLLs).

Publication Date: Dec 2010
Authors:
Geoff Marietta
Synopsis:

The efforts to reform the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, led by then-Superintendent Jerry Weast, produced five key lessons for PreK-3rd grade practitioners: (1) establish a clear and compelling district-wide goal that maps back to early learning; (2) craft integrated district-wide early-learning strategies to meet the clear and compelling goal; (3) align early-learning programs and services with the integrated K-12 strategies; (4) balance teacher support and accountability to ensure effective and consistent implementation; and (5) innovate and monitor these reforms for continuous improvement.

Publication Date: Jun 2015
Authors:
Paul Nyhan
Synopsis:

In response to a growing achievement gap among its low-income students and students of color, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has invested time and resources to build a bridge between PreK and third grade. In particular, SFUSD undertook several critical district central office reforms including elevating district early childhood administrative leadership to the cabinet level and bringing PreK under the authority of school principals. This report describes the successes and struggles that the district faced while developing its PreK-3rd grade approach and shares lessons learned throughout the implementation process.  

School-Level Perspectives

Publication Date: Jan 2013
Authors:
Shelley Waters Boots
Synopsis:

This report highlights the work taking place in three U.S. communities--Palm Beach, FL; Petal, MS; and Los Angeles, CA--which seek to build, reform, and align comprehensive child and family services. Key themes that unite this work include identifying and cultivating strong leaders who are committed to systemic success; developing meaningful partnerships with families and community-based agencies; and institutionalizing the work that is taking place.

Publication Date: Dec 2016
Authors:
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service
Synopsis:
The report, from the U.S. Department of Education, looks at Boston Public Schools, Chicago Child-Parent Centers, Early Works Initiative, FirstSchool, and Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL).  All five programs focus on elementary schools that include on-site/co-located PreK classrooms and strive to create greater coherence across the PreK-3rd grade continuum. 
 
In addition to identifying common practices and alignment strategies, the case study highlights programs' self-reported observed improvements in student outcomes. Across the five programs, there are common challenges, including guiding teachers to change their practices and concerns about funding sustainability.
Publication Date: Oct 2014
Authors:
MinnCAN: The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now
Synopsis:

This report features profiles of six schools and districts in Minnesota that have implemented inventive PreK-3rd grade alignment strategies.Site visits to these settings proved that focused, intentional efforts in areas such as effective leadership, data-driven instruction, and engaged families can have huge impacts on student achievement and school culture.