Elementary school teacher and kids Photo by Kathy Sloane

The Power of a Good Idea

How SFUSD is building a PreK-3rd grade bridge

This case study traces the San Francisco Unified School District’s journey into connecting PreK and elementary school education.

During the darkest period in California’s great recession, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) made a forward-looking decision to strengthen its very foundation. The district heeded decades of solid research on the benefits of preschool education and built a bridge between the formerly separate worlds of Pre-K and the primary grades of elementary school.

Its goal: to shrink a stubborn achievement gap by aligning and articulating teaching across the PreK-3rd grade span. In so doing, the school district is giving more children, especially in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, a better chance to succeed in school and in life.

This six-year transformation—with all its challenges, successes, and lessons learned—is chronicled in a new case study by New America, The Power of a Good Idea: How the San Francisco School District is Building a PreK-3rd Grade Bridge.

The Haas, Jr. Fund salutes SFUSD teachers and leaders for tackling this important work with its youngest students and its early successes.