Parts of a Whole: Critical Aspects to Support PreK to Grade 3

Virtual Convening | August 4-6, 2020

The education field is steeped in tough issues related to fall 2020. They face competing demands to address young students’ academic needs, their social-emotional well-being, and the child care needs of families. This meeting looked at how these critical aspects intersect. The primary focus is on school systems — at state and local levels.

Meeting Goal

Anchor the focus on school systems and their need to increase focus on whole child strategies that will support children in schools such as social and emotional learning, mental health consultation, and meaningful family engagement.


Day 1 Slides | Day 2 Slides | Day 3 Slides | Full Meeting Slides

All session videos can be viewed in the above playlist. Links to individual session videos are below.

Day 1: Tuesday August 4, 2020

Keynote and Panel Discussion:  Aligning Policy and Practice to Improve 3rd Grade outcomes in the Era of Covid-19

The Keynote by the state school chief from Ohio and the panel discussion with school chiefs from Mississippi, Wyoming, and West Virginia highlights the need for greater coherence and alignment in the transition to school and early grades to support students’ foundational skills and approaches to learning. What have state education agencies planned and done to work toward aligning standards, high quality curriculum, and classroom practice to support all students’ early learning? How can this approach be launched and sustained as schools are re-opening under various models?  How can the whole child approach be implemented in a hybrid or remote learning model? What are considered best practices for young learners in PreK-3 to adapt to new in-classroom routines and remote learning?

Session Video | Session Slides

Keynote Speaker:

  • Paolo DeMaria,Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio Department of Education


  • W. Clayton Burch, State Superintendent of Schools, West Virginia Department of Education
  • Carey Wright, Ed.D., State Superintendent, Mississippi Department of Education
  • Jillian Balow, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Wyoming Department of Education


  • Steve Bowen, Deputy Executive Director, State Leadership, CCSSO

Paolo DeMaria, State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Ohio, will outline the state’s Whole Child Framework which emphasizes the importance of addressing not only the academic needs of students but also their social and emotional as well as health needs, especially during the upcoming school year.

Steven Bowen, Deputy Executive Director at CCSSO, will moderate a discussion with Paolo DeMaria and the three other chiefs on aligning P3 policy and practice in the era of Covid-19.

Transitions and Learning Supports in a Pandemic Context

As states and school districts navigate the ever-changing context for fall 2020 and beyond, there are unique challenges related to young learners. Specifically, Pre-K children are not often included in re-entry plans and their transitions to kindergarten have been entirely disrupted this year. This panel explored the current status of SEA and LEA efforts related to Pre-K, kindergarten, and transitions between the two.

Session Video | Session Slides


  • Andrea Brinnel, IDEA Part 619 Part B Manager, Connecticut State Department of Education
  • Lauren Zbyszinski, Inter-agency Deputy Director of Early Childhood, Texas Education Agency
  • Priscilla Hopkins and Jane Walsh, Early Education Department, Denver Public Schools


  • Kristie Kauerz, Director, National P-3 Center, University of Colorado Denver

Day 2: Wednesday August 5, 2020

Featured Speaker: Tabatha Rosproy, 2020 National Teacher of the Year

Tabatha Rosproy, a 10-year veteran Kansas teacher, is the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year. She teaches preschool for Winfield Early Learning Center (WELC) in Winfield, Kansas. Housed in Cumbernauld Village, a local retirement community and nursing home, her inclusive classroom is an inter-generational program that provides preschoolers and residents with multiple daily interactions and serves special education and typically developing preschoolers in a full-day setting.  As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings across the country, Rosproy served as a co-chair of the educator task force that helped compile Kansas’s continuous learning guidance. A career preschool educator, Rosproy hopes to bring a voice to the important role early childhood education plays in our society and to highlight the value of social-emotional education at all age levels.

Session Video | Session Slides

Moderator and Interviewer:

  • Libby Doggett, Consultant and Speaker, Libby Doggett Consulting, and formerly the Director of the Early Learning Office at the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama Administration, will ask Tabatha about her platform and aspirations for the field of early education.

Supporting Families and Redefining Engagement

Schools have engaged families this spring in unprecedented ways.  Remote learning and homeschooling has cast parents in the role of educators with their children.  The arrangement has exposed a number of inequities that define the relationship between schools and families.  What will this relationship look like for the upcoming school year and beyond?  What lessons have we learned this spring that help us this fall as schools are re-opening? How can students from vulnerable populations have equal access to learning opportunities? 

Session Video


  • Windy Lopez, Vice President of Partnerships, Learning Heroes
  • Kwesi Rollins, Vice President, Institute for Educational Leadership
  • Reyna Hernandez, Director of Research and Policy Development, National Association of Family, School, and Community Engagement
  • Ann Ishimaru, Associate Professor, Educational Policy, Organizations & Leadership, University of Washington


  • Carrie Goux, Vice President, External Affairs, GreatSchools

Day 3: Thursday August 6, 2020

Coordination Case Study: An Illustrative Example from California

States and school districts alike hold responsibilities for building greater alignment between preschool and K-3. A longitudinal study in California, led by Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME), is highlighting the intersection of SEA and LEA efforts. In this session, you hear what the research has revealed about the effects of different district policies, as mediated at the school level, on math teaching and student learning in preschool through 2nd grade. The presenters also discuss state policies that support or make alignment more difficult, and suggest specific strategies to improve continuity at the state and district levels.

Session Video | Session Slides


  • Deborah Stipek, Professor of Education, Stanford University and Faculty Director, DREME
  • Deanna Mathies, Director of Early Learning, Fresno Unified School District (CA)


  • Kristie Kauerz, Director, National P-3 Center, University of Colorado Denver

Leadership Development to Enact Pre-K-3rd Grade Work

To leverage the benefits of PreK, and to ensure elementary schools are designed to provide the kind of instructional quality that sustains gains, policymakers and practitioners are increasingly looking to the role of principals to guide this work. States are taking different approaches to this. This panel highlights a variety of strategies, and provide opportunity to reflect on the strengths and challenges of each. Approaches to increasing principals’ P-3 leadership skills and dispositions include: state agency-offered programs; collaborating with NAESP; working with higher education; and legislative changes that affect principal preparation programs

Session Video | Session Slides


  • Bobbie Burnham and Mike Brown, Minnesota Department of Education
  • Erika Hunt, Center for Study of Education Policy, Illinois State University
  • Gracie Branch, National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • Jean Allen, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education

Presenter and Moderator:

  • Kristie Kauerz, National P-3 Center, University of Colorado Denver