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Curated Literature

The Jeffco Public Schools Research and Assessment Design Team, in partnership with the Early Learning Team, selected the following compendium to communicate the current thinking on Early Learning. 

Coherent Systems

Pearman, F., Springer, M., Lipsey, M., Lachowicz, M., Farran,D., & Swain, W.. (2019). Teachers, schools, and pre-k effect persistence: An examination of the sustaining environment hypothesis. (EdWorkingPaper: 19-85). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: This article focuses on the importance of a coherent PK-3 system, exploring the hypothesis that PreK effects will persist if students experience high-quality learning environments in later grades. The research shows that students were most likely to sustain gains made in PreK when they enroll in high quality schools and received instruction from high quality teachers, emphasizing the need for coherent systems that employ quality standards at all levels, not just those included in state testing.

Takanishi, R. & Kauerz, K. (2008). PK inclusion: Getting serious about a P-16 education system. Phi Delta Kappan.

This article reiterates the importance of developing a comprehensive PK-3 system, arguing that such a system should be seen as a “must have” instead of an “add on”. It offers four specific areas to consider as a way to bolster support and raise awareness of the need for a PK-3 system. It also offers ways to support program development and implementation.

Marietta, G. (2010). Lessons for preK-3rd from Montgomery County Public Schools: an FDC case study. Foundation for Child Development. Retrieved from: These case studies document P12 alignment within high-quality systems, underpinned by consistent investments in early learning. Findings resulted in key lessons for application including district-wide early learning strategies to meet clear goals, alignment between early learning and the K12 system, balancing educator support with accountability, and maintaining a lens on continuous improvement.



Yoshikawa, H., Weiland, C., Brooks-Gunn, J., Burchinal, M.R., Espinosa, L.M.,  Gormley, W.T., Ludwig, J., Magnuson, K. A., Phillips, D., & Zaslow, M.J. (2013).  Investing in our future: The evidence base on preschool education. Society for Research in Child Development. Retrieved from:

This report provides a summary of the short and long-term benefits of scaled preschool programs including cognitive and academic development for a range of student groups. Further, the report notes societal benefits of providing quality preschool education, including cost-benefit estimates. The report also highlights the value of providing ongoing support to preschool providers through professional learning, and to children and families through wrap-around services. The benefits of mixed funding models for preschool are also introduced. 

Shore, R. (2009). The Case for Investing in PreK-3rd Education. Foundation For Child Development. Retrieved from:

This paper addresses three prevalent myths about early childhood education including: Elementary schools are doing fine; problems begin later, good PreK programs guarantee later success, solving the “Fourth-Grade slump” will reverse today’s widespread pattern of underachievement. Through the exploration of the myths, a case is made for strengthening the foundation of the P-12 system to raise student achievement throughout later years.


Bornfreund, L. Ewne, D., & McDonald, D. (2019). Using local, state, and federal dollars to improve pre-k to K transitions. New America.  Retrieved from: This brief underscores the importance of facile transitions for students and families as they move though educational systems with a specific focus on PreK to K. It also highlights the value of cohesion through 3rd grade. The article provides examples of state-wide plans that support transitions as well as provides specific actions for states, Local Education Agencies, and elementary schools to support students and families. 

Loewenberg, A. (2019). Moving into kindergarten: How schools and districts are connecting the steps for children and families. New America. Retrieved from: This report explores methods to strengthen transitions into kindergarten by focusing on relationships between service providers and families as a foundation for success in kindergarten and beyond. The report documents innovative efforts made by schools and districts to promote equity for families and is organized into four priorities: data sharing, professional development, family engagement, and student activities.

Loewenberg, A. (2017) Connecting the steps: State strategies to ease the transition from pre-K to kindergarten. New America. Retrieved from: This report illuminates the importance of state-wide efforts to support families and children with the transition from PreK to kindergarten. The article focuses on four state-specific strategies as well as suggests policy recommendations for others to consider. 

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