Educational Alignment for Young Children
Researchers, practitioners and policymakers increasingly believe that a more seamless pipeline that addresses a range of academic, behavioral, health and family issues can serve young children more effectively.
NLC and city officials are working together to align efforts on behalf of young children from birth to age eight that go well beyond the classroom to include strengthening connections within their communities and linking families to a broad range of supports and opportunities that help them thrive.
NLC provides technical assistance to six cities chosen through a RFP process. The cities are Austin and Fort Worth, Texas; Hartford, Conn.; Longmont, Colo.; Richmond, Va.; and Rochester, N.Y.
NLC focuses its technical assistance on three key elements of educational alignment:
- Formalizing partnerships or creating governance structures to develop common definitions and goals and take joint action to implement a high quality early childhood system;
- Enhancing professional development to support qualified teachers and administrators; and
- Transforming family engagement to develop shared educational goals for children, support parents in their role as a child’s first teacher and help children and parents gain access to a full range of services, including health and mental health services.
To tackle these issues, the cities have developed cross-sector teams or working groups comprised of city staff and city council members, public library leaders, early childhood educators and administrators, representatives from the school district and the local United Way.