Generating Successful Outcomes

The Ounce of Prevention Fund and the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute believe their aligned approach to public education can close—or even prevent—the achievement gap for our most vulnerable children and provide high-quality, equitable educational experiences for all if schools continually strive to provide children with consistently effective teaching and family support that span the birth-to-college learning continuum.

Birth-to-college alignment refers to the coherent set of educational experiences and supports for students, families and the professionals and organizations that serve them that begins at birth and continues to  college completion. Through joint learning, discussion and planning by school leaders and staff across grades, these goals can be realized through the creation of a model of public education that:

  • Begins at birth and extends to college graduation
  • Is characterized by evidence-based, high-quality experiences and supports for students and their families
  • Is grounded in trusting relationships and communication among all adults who share responsibility for students’ learning and development
  • Is aligned so that each experience has a cumulative effect—ideally, each coherently contributes to the next by sustaining and building on the growth and learning that comes before

To be successful, alignment work should address:

  • Exploration of standards, curriculum and learning objectives
  • Intentional interactions and instructional practices
  • Effective leadership
  • Family support and engagement practices
  • Use of assessment and being data driven
  • Collaborative, embedded professional development
  • Continuity and pathways

For deep and lasting alignment, these components, often overlooked, are just as important:

  • Development of cross- and within-organization relationship trust
  • Exploration of and reflection on organizational mindsets and beliefs
  • Organizational culture or climate
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophies
  • Expectations for children, families and staff