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 this initiative, the Oakland Unified School Dsitrict partnered with the New Teacher Center to provide educators with coaching on best practices to support early childhood development.
In the three years since the start of the coaching, Oakland has seen overall improvements in measures of child development, classroom quality, and teacher quality. However, it was not known how coaching had contributed to these changes. In order to evaluate the effects of the coaching, Engage R+D examined how the coaching in early learning classrooms contributed to improvements in classroom quality, teaching quality and child development. Through a retrospective study, we found that districtwide site-based differential coaching in early learning classrooms had contributed to improved outcomes for children, teachers and the quality of the sites.