To help grantees, educators, policymakers and colleague foundation leaders understand ways to create a strong start in math for early learners, the Heising‐Simons Foundation asked Education First to profile noteworthy early math efforts already underway and identify implications for change in other communities.
In seeking out communities to profile, Education First looked for those that place an explicit emphasis on high quality mathematics instruction for all children, including their youngest learners, and for evidence (even if tentative) that educators’ efforts to improve early mathematics were contributing to improved student learning.
The three communities we selected showcase different leverage points for leading change in early mathematics: a county office of education, a single school district and a collaboration or network of multiple organizations:
- Our profile on the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools in central California describes its efforts—in partnership with other local organizations—to help educators who work with children younger than 5 (both in country‐run preschools and in private/in‐home settings) become more effective teachers.
- Our profile on the Hawthorne School District in the Los Angeles metro area examines its intensive coaching and ongoing professional development practices aligned to Common Core math standards that are helping elementary school teachers improve math achievement.
- Our profile on the school district collaboration in Washington state’s south King County showcases how educators are working to more authentically engage nonwhite parents and families, especially newly arrived immigrants with their own cultural histories, as active partners in their children’s early learning in mathematics.
A standalone introduction to the profiles summarizes the early math focus in each of the three communities and identifies their implications for policymakers, education leaders and funders interested in successfully replicating these sorts of efforts in other communities.