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Key Findings: Oakland Retrospective Study

Jan 1, 2019

Starting Smart and Strong (S3I), an initiative of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, strives to ensure that all children grow up healthy and ready for kindergarten by improving the quality of adult-child interactions across all settings where young children learn and grow. Oakland Starting Smart and Strong is a local collaborative that brings together community groups, early childhood educators, city and school district leaders, and people throughout the city to create a strong foundation for young children. As part of Oakland Starting Smart and Strong, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) partnered with New Teacher Center (NTC) in 2015 to provide educators with site-based differential coaching on best practices to support early childhood development. NTC describes instructional coaching as an approach where the coach and teacher collaborate in a non-evaluative, strengths-based and confidential relationship aimed at increasing student learning in equitable classrooms. This typically includes weekly 1-on-1 meetings engaging in cycles of pre-observation, observation, and postobservation. In some cases, teachers receive monthly check-ins and attend group professional learning communities. Six NTC coaches worked with OUSD early learning teachers for over three years, starting in year one with a pilot that involved 80 percent of the early education sites. By year two, all 28 sites and 119 educators received coaching. In year three, OUSD and NTC switched to an opt-in model across all sites, coaching those teachers who wished to participate.