The FirstSchool Book

Our book, "FirstSchool: Transforming PreK-3rd Grade for African American, Latino, and Low-Income Children", was published by Teachers College Press in November 2013. 

Click here to access a brief overview of the book content, which describes some of the key chapters, as well as our basic approach to PreK-3 reform. You can order either print or electronic versions from Amazon or Teachers College Press.

Below, you will also find links to short videos of several contributing authors providing a quick synopsis of their chapters:


Video describing Chapter 1 (Impetus for PreK-3)

Video describing Chapter 2 (Reinvigorating Professionalism)

Video describing Chapter 3 (Culture of Collaborative Inquiry)

Additional video related to Chapter 3 - about utilizing data more effectively

Video related to Chapter 6 (Home-School Partnerships)

Video describing Chapter 7 (Program & Policy)

Teachers College Press describes our book as follows:

FirstSchool is a groundbreaking framework for teaching minority and low-income children. This work discusses the research and practice to date that defines FirstSchool as a critical approach to closing the achievement and opportunity gaps. Changing the conversation from improving test scores to improving school experiences, it features lessons learned from eight elementary schools whose leadership and staff implemented sustainable changes in their classrooms and schools. The authors detail how to use education research and data to provide a rationale for change; how to promote professional learning that is genuinely collaborative and respectful; and how to employ developmentally appropriate teaching strategies that focus on the needs of minority and low-income children.. 

“We can greatly benefit from applying the knowledge, experience, and wisdom of the authors of this important book to reforming early schooling, teaching, and learning for our most vulnerable children and thereby keep the promise of American democracy—namely, a level playing field and a chance to succeed fully on one’s merits. As a nation we cannot continue to tolerate failure or make excuses when examples such as FirstSchool suggest a proven way forward.”
—From the Foreword by Aisha Ray, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty, Erikson Institute

“Sharon Ritchie and Laura Gutmann have written a terrific book.  FirstSchool is one of the few volumes that provides the details of this important educational innovation—a redesign of the pathway through which children enter public education.  Given the formative importance of these early years of schooling and child development, this volume should be on the agenda of every school board meeting.”
Robert Pianta, Dean, Curry School of Education; Director, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, University of Virginia