FPG Transforms Early School Life for African American, Latino, and Low-Income Children

Date Published: 11/13/2013

The FPG research team behind the FirstSchool project has been helping schools close the achievement gap for African American, Latino, and low-income children and their families—and now a new book will reveal how FirstSchool and its partners have used education research and data to support these students. 

During FirstSchool’s partnerships with eight elementary schools, the FPG team learned important lessons that continue to serve as a foundation for their work. The leadership and staff in these partner schools made difficult but sustainable changes in their professional culture, relationships with families and children, instructional practices, and curricular choices. In doing so, these schools strengthened and enriched the learning, development, and early school experiences of African American, Latino, and low-income children and their families, which in turn helped these children to be successful in environments from pre-kindergarten through grade 3.

FirstSchool: Transforming PreK-3rd Grade for African American, Latino, and Low-Income Children provides a framework for school and district leaders, professional development personnel, and teacher educators to transform education through collaboration with teachers and other school community members. In addition to the book-length resource, FirstSchool will be providing an introductory professional development session for educational organizations purchasing the publication at a bulk rate. Each customized session will vary according to audience and requested topic and can provide an overview of the FirstSchool approach or zero in on particular areas of interest.

FPG senior scientist Sharon Ritchie and co-editor Laura Gutmann designed their book to be relevant for leaders on all levels, from state agencies to the pre-k to 3rd-grade classrooms. The subjects include “Using Data to Create a Culture of Collaborative Inquiry,” “Designing High-Quality Curriculum and Instruction,” establishing meaningful “Home-School Partnerships,” and much more. In addition to Ritchie and Gutmann, contributors include Cindy Bagwell, Dick Clifford, Carolyn Cobb, Gisele Crawford, Diane Early, Adam Holland, Sandra Garcia, Cristina Gillanders, Iheoma Iruka, Jenille Morgan, and Sam Oertwig.

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Sharon A. Ritchie, Senior Scientist
UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute