Data to Action, Part 3

Marin County is Putting Data to Action for Low Income and Diverse Students


How does one community work together to close the achievement gap of low-income students and students of color?

Data based community conversations.

Preschools, after school programs, school sites, and community partners in Marin County are all working together in nine elementary schools on a five year initiative called Pre K to 3: Promoting Early School Success. The goal is to make sure children have:

  • A high quality culturally competent early education
  • Excellent teachers
  • Strong engagement from family members.

ASR is tracking the success of the initiative by conducting school readiness assessments of incoming kindergarteners for three years in a row. We conduct these assessments because we know that children who have early learning skills when they enter kindergarten are more likely to graduate with a high school diploma, are more successful in their careers, and are less likely to be involved in crime and drugs.[1] That’s why ASR has assessed over 50,000 children for their readiness for kindergarten over the last decade.

This year, ASR used the data from the assessments to:

  1. Facilitate discussions with elementary school principals, kindergarten teachers, preschool directors, afterschool program staff, CBO partners, and parents to brainstorm new ideas.
  2. At one site, where children’s self-regulation was of concern, preschool staff and kindergarten teachers agreed to a “shadowing” arrangement to better understand their respective classrooms and to improve the “hand-off” from preschool to kindergarten. 
  3. At another site, participants discussed how to increase the preschool slots so that more children would have a high quality preschool experience. 

In other communities, ASR has used the assessment data…

  • To guide how teachers work with their new kindergarten students.
  • To support parents in helping their children develop the skills they need to be ready for school.
  • To help school districts and preschool programs to strengthen their programming.

The Pre K to 3 Initiative is funded by the Marin Community Foundation and the Haas Fund. For more information, please contact Jen Van Stelle at 408-247-8319.


[1] Rolnick, A., & Grunewald, R.  (2003). Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return. Big Ideas for Children. First Focus, Washington, DC.

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