In 2014, the Peabody Research Institute (PRI) began an exciting collaboration with the Metropolitan Nashville School System (MNPS) designed to improve the quality of Nashville’s public pre‐kindergarten programs.
MNPS created three Early Learning Centers (ELCs), in the 2014‐15 school year. These centers are unique in that they are public schools that serve only Pre-K children. The ELCs began with the dual purpose of both increasing the number of children served by Pre-K programs in Nashville, and also improving and enhancing the educational experiences of children in Pre-K. With PRI as their partner, the ELCs worked toward a data‐driven process by which potential markers of classroom quality related to improved child outcomes were identified and then incorporated into a model program.
MNPS hoped the data collected through the partnership would lead to a model that could be disseminated and implemented by all Pre-K teachers district‐wide to improve Pre-K across the district. PRI’s role in this endeavor was to provide detailed and timely feedback to district and school leaders, as well as to teachers themselves, as they worked toward building model Pre-K programs. During the academic year, school staff received detailed data reports that summarized 1) children’s academic achievement and 2) detailed observations of classroom practices. PRI staff also worked with district and school-based Pre-K staff and teachers to make decisions and set program goals that were informed by these data. This process was both ongoing and iterative, involving stages of planning, implementation, testing, evaluation, and deployment.