S2E3, Part 1: Big Lifts and Launches: Resource Equity and Other Key Considerations for Implementing Major New Initiatives Like UPK and UTK—A Statewide Perspective
Download this episode’s companion brief: Launching Major New Initiatives: Universal Transitional Kindergarten: State And Local Perspectives
Two years ago, California’s state budget agreement included an ambitious new initiative to fund and implement Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) so that all 4-year-olds in the state have access by 2025/26. The initiative is part of a larger long-term goal of the state and school districts to expand early education and provide access to Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) for all students.
In this first of a two-part episode, host Jason Willis talks to Sarah Neville-Morgan, Deputy Superintendent at the California Department of Education (CDE) and longtime early education policy leader.
Neville-Morgan describes this historic moment for early education and fulfillment of the promise of public education. She discusses the why and how of UPK and UTK implementation, including work the state has been doing to support local efforts; resources; challenges; and implications and strategies for advancing equity. The goal, she says, is for all children to enter kindergarten and 1st through 3rd grade not just ready to learn but ready to soar.
Neville-Morgan and Willis also explore more generally how systems can approach planning for and implementing major new initiatives.
Resources & Research:
- “How Are California School Districts Planning for Universal Prekindergarten? Results From a 2022 Survey” – April 2023 report by the Learning Policy Institute
- Universal PreKindergarten FAQs from the CDE
- Transitional Kindergarten FAQs from the CDE
- CDE Early Education Resources page
- 21CSLA Learning Brief, Preparing California School Leaders for Young Learners in the UTK Initiatives
About Our Guest
Sarah Neville-Morgan has served in many key state-level leadership and policy positions. She was previously the Director of the CDE Early Learning and Care Division, Deputy Director of Program Management at First 5 California, and Deputy Executive Director of the Governor’s Early Learning Advisory Council. She currently serves as a Deputy Superintendent at the CDE, overseeing the Opportunities for All branch. Additionally, she previously served as an Academic Child Development Specialist at the University of California, Davis Center for Child and Family Studies.
Learn more about the local district context of UPK and UTK implementation in the second part of this episode.
Publisher: WestEd and the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO)
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Host Jason Willis sits with school business official, administrator, and statewide leader, Nina Boyd, who draws on her nearly 40 years in public education to discuss the state of educational equity today.
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Host Jason Willis chats with Grant Schimelpfening & Cheri Doria of Lindsey USD about building equity through systems, culture, & personalized learning plans.
Budgeting for Educational Equity Podcast S2E3, Part 2: Big Lifts and Launches: Resource Equity and Other Key Considerations for Implementing Major New Initiatives Like UPK and UTK—A Local District Perspective
Maria Ceballos, Executive Director of the Early Learning Department at Fresno Unified School District, offers hands-on, practical advice from a local school district perspective about expanding early learning access to all children and families.