Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

New York City Pre-K Leadership Study

Authors: Sheila Smith, Veronica Benavides and Faith Lamb-Parker
Publication Date: December 2019

A key challenge for the Early Care and Education (ECE) field is identifying key features of program quality that matter for children’s learning and social-emotional outcomes. In recent years, the role of leaders in ECE programs has been recognized as critical to achieving and maintaining effective teaching and other aspects of quality. These leaders are often called education directors in community-based ECE programs; in public schools, principals or assistant principals may serve as PreK leaders. In either type of setting, Pre-K leaders can provide a variety of supports to teachers, including guidance about their use of effective practices, coaching, and the facilitation of peer to peer learning and professional development outside of the program. This brief presents key findings from a study of Pre-K leaders in NYC preschool programs. The following questions were addressed:

  • How do leaders at diverse sites support teachers’ practices to strengthen program quality?
  • What factors help or hinder leaders’ efforts to positively influence learning for all children through teacher support?
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