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Making a Difference

10 Essential Steps to Building a PreK-3 System
By: Linda Sullivan-Dudzic, Donna K. Gearns, Kelli Leavell

Foreword by Ruby Takanishi

A 10-step plan for linking early childhood education to the K–3 system!

Focused on increasing achievement for all young learners, this 10-step model demonstrates how early childhood professionals and K–12 educators can develop a strong PreK–3 foundation that connects early childhood education standards and goals to a K–3 system. Drawing on the authors' extensive experience, this field-tested approach helps educators outline a clear implementation plan for an integrated system that:

  • Identifies families' and children's needs
  • Provides high-quality instruction before kindergarten
  • Shares developmental information about children's progress
  • Aligns resources, curriculum, and instruction
  • Anticipates challenges and celebrates successes

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412974233
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2010
  • Page Count: 184
  • Publication date: November 30, 2012

Price: $31.95

Price: $31.95
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"It's time to build a bridge between early childhood programs and the K–3 system to ensure continued success for all children. This is the ultimate how-to manual for administrators and teachers who wish to maintain and maximize the gains children make in preschool."
—Sally Wingle, Preschool Teacher
Chelsea Community Preschool, MI

"A great guide pointing in the right direction for starting a program. With the U.S. Department of Education's emphasis on early childhood education and new monies available from the stimulus plan, this book is a valuable resource."
—Cindy Luna, Principal
Northside ISD, San Antonio, TX

A 10-step plan for linking early childhood education to the K–3 system!

The national push for improving young children's early learning experiences is no longer just about preschool. Now the focus is on strategic planning to increase achievement by reaching out to community early childhood education providers, establishing a strong PreK–3 foundation that connects early childhood education standards and goals to a K–3 system, and ensuring that young learners receive high-quality instruction before kindergarten.

Drawing on more than 20 years' success with a PreK–3 system in Washington state, the authors present a 10-step, field-tested model that demonstrates how early childhood professionals and K–12 school leaders can outline a clear implementation plan for an integrated PreK–3 system that:

  • Identifies both families' and children's needs
  • Shares developmental information about individual learning skills and social/emotional development as children transition to kindergarten
  • Aligns resources, curriculum, instruction, and assessments
  • Anticipates challenges and celebrates successes
  • Invites input from superintendents, state officials, Head Start leaders, and Title I directors


Linda Sullivan-Dudzic photo

Linda Sullivan-Dudzic

Linda Sullivan-Dudzic has spent the past 30 years connecting early childhood to K-12 to the higher education system. Prior to entering the fields of speech language pathology, curriculum and instruction, special education, and Title I, she learned a great deal from her mother, Lillian Sullivan, who started one of the first quality preschool programs in the 1960’s, Nursery School, that included students with disabilities. Building on this strong early foundation, Sullivan-Dudzic continued her educational training and experience as a speech language pathologist at Kitsap Community Resources Head Start and started one of the first cooperative public school and Head Start service agreements to serve children with disabilities. Sullivan-Dudzic's advocacy for early childhood and students with disabilities continued with her work with the public school system (birth to 12th grade) as a special programs director, as well as her work with higher education designing and teaching college-level courses, and working with others to create a faith-based private preschool whose mission is to provide quality education to families who cannot afford preschool. 
Donna K. Gearns photo

Donna K. Gearns

Donna Gearns began her teaching career in self-contained preschool, elementary, and middle school classrooms for students with learning disabilities. As an itinerant special education teacher, she discovered the importance of building relationships with staff and directors in community preschool settings, a critical step in the process of developing a Pre-K to 3rd Grade System. Her work in quality preschool classrooms and collaboration with committed teachers and directors allowed her the opportunity to facilitate the use of common curriculum and its implementation in community preschool settings. Donna currently is a Teacher On Special Assignment (TOSA) for Bremerton School District. In addition to working with community preschool programs, she is an Assistive Technology Specialist for students from preschool through high school. Her goal is to make a difference for children and teachers by providing resources, information and support. Donna and her husband have two sons and live with their three dogs in Seabeck, Washington.
Kelli Leavell photo

Kelli Leavell

Kelli J. Leavell started her career working as a special education teacher in the Bremerton School District. After several years in the classroom, she took her current position as a part time district Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA). As a TOSA, Kelli has had the opportunity to coordinate the district english language learner program. She also provides coaching and training focused on district-wide initiatives like Response to Intervention, Title I services, reading instruction and alignment, and classroom management. Kelli also helps coordinate several grants in partnership with state and private foundations. In addition to her work as a TOSA, Kelli is also a national independent reading consultant. Over the last seven years, this role has allowed her to work with a multitude of wonderful schools and districts across the nation. She is currently working on a degree in education leadership to earn her administrative credential. Her goal is to continue to help districts connect, align, and improve education services for all children. Kelli and her husband Aaron reside in Silverdale, Washington with their two sons, Kellen and Corbin.


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ruby Takanishi


About the Authors


Step 1. Establishing Need and Common Interests

Connecting to Your Preschool Community

Connecting the Early Childhood Community and K-12 Public School

Establishing the Need and Prioritizing Your Efforts PreK-3

Your First Early Childhood and K-3 Meeting

Step 2. Locate and Connect With Your Early Childhood Learning Environments

Locating Your Community Preschool Partners

Identifying and Locating Key People in Your School District

Planning for Your "Kick off" PreK-3d Meeting

Step 3. Develop a Leadership Group

Your Leadership Group

Vision Plus Action

Quality Preschool

Step 4. High Quality Professional Development

How to Provide Professional Development Aligned to Your Goals

Target Professional Development to the Needs of Your Community

Establish Your Professional Development System

Information to Refine Your Work and Strive for Excellence

Step 5. Connect and Align Quality PreK to Kindergarten

Connect Your Community Preschool and Kindergarten Programs

Develop an Assessment and Information Loop

Align Curriculum and Instructional Practices

Step 6. Maximize the Benefits of Full-Day Kindergarten


National Trends

How to Design a Full-day Kindergarten

Developing a Planning and Implementation Team

Developing Goals for the Program

Using Research to Drive the Process

Core Curriculum Selection Process for Your Kindergarten (PreK-3rd Grade) System

Low-to-No-Cost Options

Developing Daily Schedule Expectations

Data Sharing

"Friendly Accountability"

Step 7. Align and Connect Full-Day Kindergarten With Grades 1-3

Connect Your FDK to Grades 1-3

Align Your K-3 Standards

Align Your Assessment and Information Loop

Align Curriculum and Instructional Practices That Support Children's Learning and Development K-3 (PreK-3rd)

Tiered Systems

Connect and Align Resources to Focus on Your Goals

Step 8. Conquer the Fade Out

Teach the Conventional Reading Skills That Are Developed Birth to Age 5

Horizontal Alignment

Vertical Alignment

Temporal Alignment

Step 9. Create a Sustainable System of Support

Broad Base Support and Financing Your Goals

Celebrate and Publicize Your Efforts

Continuous Engagement

Step 10. Review, Revise, and Extend

Next Step: Looking Ahead and Planning

Review Your Goals

Are We Making a Significant Difference?

Your Leadership Group (ECCE Group)

Looking Ahead


Resource A: Books and Web Sites

Resource B: Steps for Your First Leadership Meeting

Resource C: Leadership Guide

Resource D: Curriculum Adoption Form

Resource E: Glow and Grow Self-Reflection Form

Resource F: Look Fors in Early Childhood Programs

Resource G: Four Key Components to Sustainability Guide




Price: $31.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.