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B. Establishing a Vision

Establishing a vision for pre-k in your district is an essential first step for ensuring a successful effort. The vision sets the overall framework for what the board hopes to achieve and guides the district in this direction. A clear and compelling vision will help to define future efforts and unite all leaders in a common purpose. It also sets the tone for communicating with the public about the board’s ideas and for pursuing potential collaborations with outside groups.

In developing your vision, your board should consider how early education fits into the larger education plan for your district and the values and priorities of your members. As a result, it is important to include the district Superintendent in these conversations, since he or she will have responsibility for implementing this vision.

A vision should incorporate both short- and long-term goals. For example, are you looking to establish pre-k experiences for four-year-olds that will help to improve their school readiness? Are you looking to amass district resources to build capacity and/or facilities for a new program? Do you have goals to expand the initiative to ultimately serve all children in your community? A strong vision includes elements that focus on the near-term as well as the future.

It should be noted that “pre-k” can mean different things to different people depending on their background and experiences. Therefore, it is important to have a thorough discussion about the goals and parameters of your board’s vision. To assist in this process, it may be helpful for your board to adopt a policy or resolution that articulates the overall ideological framework that the board will be using.

We gratefully acknowledge The Pew Charitable Trusts for its support of our work related to pre-kindergarten. The views expressed are those of the Center for Public Education and not necessarily those of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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