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Blog | | Early Edge California

Early Edge California’s Local Educational Agency Professional Learning Community Visits Washington Unified School District’s Early Learning and Care Programs

This spring, Early Edge’s Local Educational Agency (LEA) Professional Learning Community (PLC) attended a site visit hosted by LEA PLC member Washington Unified School District (WUSD). Early Edge’s LEA PLC is comprised of Early Learning leaders from public school districts across the state who convene to discuss issues in their work, collaborate, and learn together amongst peers. This site visit provided PLC members the opportunity to look at Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and expanded learning program implementation at WUSD and some best practices deployed to support students, their families, and the community.

WUSD is located adjacent to the state’s capital, serving a diverse student population of over 8,000 students annually. The district’s enrollment had been declining steadily prior to TK expansion, which has bolstered enrollment modestly since 2021. The district has a long history of working with its community partners to deliver whole-child services to support their families, and continues this rich tradition as it expands TK and implements its Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELOP).

Joined by PLC members from Fresno Unified and Oakland Unified, as well as the Early Edge team, WUSD hosted a discussion at the district office on Early Learning and Care topics before visiting Southport Elementary School to take a first-hand look at how the district meets the needs of their TK students.

WUSD offers part-day TK in order to be able to accommodate its current population. The program is augmented by its ELOP to provide TK students with enrichment opportunities as well as address the needs of their working families. During the site visit to Southport Elementary, PLC members accompanied the morning TK students to a “collaborative” classroom. This collaborative classroom is specially designed to meet the needs of both TK students and those enrolled in Early Learning ELOP, which is facilitated through a partnership with their local YMCA. The program is designed to ease the transition of young learners. This is accomplished by having their TK teacher escort the children through newly-remodeled ELOP classrooms to end their school day with YMCA staff ready to begin enrichment activities. The district has successfully leveraged and blended resources from their ELOP to support their TK children. PLC members were fortunate to observe high-quality instruction and learning within these collaborative classrooms.

After regrouping and debriefing the classroom visit at WUSD’s Early Learning and Care division, PLC members engaged in discussion on a variety of topics, such as Dual Language Learners, the English Language Proficiency Assessment of California, the Desired Results Developmental Profile, successes with ELOP, staffing challenges, and parent engagement. PLC members also shared ongoing and growing efforts in their respective regions, such as local ballot measures to dedicate funding for early care and education, establishing technical assistance for ECE educators, and supporting license-exempt caregivers. 

Visiting WUSD’s collaborative classrooms and engaging in an open discussion provided an excellent opportunity for PLC members to share and learn from each other and discuss opportunities and challenges in overseeing robust Early Learning and Care programs.

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