San Diego County: Mobilizing Technical Assistance, Partnerships, and Data to Support School Reopening

Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the United States in March 2020, districts across the nation have faced the difficult task of reopening schools safely and keeping them open. It is useful to learn from the successes of districts that have used multilayered mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of in-school transmission. This brief describes reopening efforts in San Diego County, CA, where 98% of districts had reopened for in-person learning as of May 2021. The brief also describes how the county supported the reopening of child care programs and highlights the reopening strategies adopted by Cajon Valley Union School District, the largest district in the county to resume in-person learning in fall 2020. It is part of a series of reopening profiles produced by the Learning Policy Institute to disseminate key public health research and reopening strategies to educators and policymakers.

How Policy Can Maximize Children’s Potential by Addressing Systemic Racism

Policies that expand access to high-quality medical care and early childhood programs provide important benefits to children and families, such as improved literacy and numeracy skills and executive function at kindergarten entry and beyond. But improving the life prospects of all children and families — and building a sustainable society in which everyone thrives — may require new policy approaches that confront and dismantle the structural inequities that undermine the well-being of over-burdened families in under-resourced communities. 

A Window on Early Childhood Administrative Practices: 2010-2021

Since its first publication in 2004, the Program Administration Scale: Measuring Early Childhood Leadership and Management (PAS) has been used across the country to reliably measure and improve center-based leadership and management practices. In 2011, the second edition of the PAS was published and included updated national norms and refinements reflecting best practices in early childhood program administration.4 Data collected by the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership since 2011 are examined here to provide the most current picture of the administrative practices of a large, national sample of center-based programs.

Transition to Kindergarten: Findings from Recent Research

This brief provides a review of recent research (2016-2021) on transitions to kindergarten. It focuses on [a] transition practices that children and families may experience directly; and [b] the policy levers that state and local policymakers can enact to support effective transitions to kindergarten. This brief was prepared for Education Commission of the States as part of technical assistance provided to five states.

From Expanded Pre-k Access to Success in Elementary School

This study, with NORC at the University of Chicago and Start Early, investigates if and how the geographic placement of full-day pre-k classrooms within a school district matters for later student outcomes.  It found that Chicago policies intended to increase access and enrollment to full-day, school-based pre-k were also related to higher kindergarten entry skills and ultimately better academic outcomes in second grade, particularly for high-priority students. Average second-grade math and reading test scores and academic grades increased the most for some high-priority student groups, including Black students, students in the lowest-income group, and students living in mostly Black neighborhoods.