FirstSchool

FirstSchool partners with school communities to focus on improving PreK-3rd grade school experiences for African American, Latino and low-income children and their families. The FirstSchool team provides research expertise and professional development support in collaboration with districts, schools, administrators, and teachers.  Read more about our work here and explore our site to access related resources!

Making the Case for PreK-3

FirstSchool's focus on improving PreK-3 experiences for African American, Latino, & low-income children stems from an accumulation of evidence that the early elementary years are crucial to children's development and learning trajectory.  For more information, we recommend viewing the webinars that FirstSchool Director Dr. Sharon Ritchie helped lead for the PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group.

Reinvigorating Professionalism

FirstSchool collaborates with educators to examine their practice and engage them in inquiry.  Teachers deserve to work within environments that support their own learning and professional growth, just as we would expect teachers to provide positive learning environments for their students.  We also encourage schools to utilize teachers' expertise by involving them in decisions about policy and program implementation.

A Culture of Collaborative Inquiry

We believe that while the effective use of data is at the center of improving school for African American, Latino, and low-income students, teachers need more guidance in this area. Making a shift towards a more productive, positive culture of collaborative inquiry means using data to drive continuous improvement in ways that are more formative than evaluative.   

Improving Curriculum & Instruction

After designing high-quality curriculum that is aligned, balanced, integrated, relevant, and developmental, the natural next step is to make closely related decisions about how it will be delivered.  We have organized thinking about instruction around developing cultures of caring, competence, and excellence

Strengthening Home-School Partnerships

FirstSchool partners with school communities as they work to develop more respectful, inclusive, and effective home-school partnerships.  Check our our new guide to exploring families' beliefs and practices, so families' knowledge about their children can be better integrated into their school's curriculum and instruction! 

Advocating for African American, Latino, and Low-Income Children

Our ultimate goal is to improve the school experiences of African American, Latino, and low-income children and their families.  Our focus is on helping schools change to better meet the learning, cultural, and language needs of the children in their classrooms.

Where You Can Find Us Lately

Governor's P-3 Symposium, Reno, NV (August 15th, Sam Oertwig invited to be part of panel of national experts on "Building a Strong P-3rd Grade Foundation in Nevada")


National Black Child Development Institute 44th Annual Conference, Detroit, MI (October 12th, Sharon Ritchie and Nitasha Clark presenting Better Classrooms for African American Children..Better Futures).

FirstSchool Wherebouts: April-July 2014

 

  • Head Start's National Research Conference on Early Childhood, Washington, DC
  • Hartford Public Schools, Hartford, CT  state & local leaders, community partners, administrators, and teachers on PreK-3, building culture of collaborative inquiry, key instructional practices, and effective use of data
  • National QRIS Conference, Denver, CO  What does it take to develop and sustain excellence in teaching in an early childhood classroom?")

 

PreK-3 News

  

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