Start Early. Start well.

This approach identifies schools as a possible hub in a larger interconnected system. Together, educators and communities work to attain new levels of excellence in children’s early learning experiences. Their shared goal becomes the reduction of income- and race-based disparities in opportunity and achievement.

As educators, school leaders, communities, and educational systems shift to the School as a Hub approach, schools will:

School as a Hub Reach Placeholder

reach out

beginning at birth to support the learning and development of children and their families

School as a Hub Reach Placeholder

reach within

to strengthen connections among educators to improve early and elementary learning experiences

School as a Hub Reach Placeholder

reach beyond

traditional boundaries to build mutually supportive connections with families and communities

the benefits

School as a Hub for Birth through Grade 3 amounts to systems-level change. The results benefit participants within and throughout the systems.


A more relaxed and engaged learning and developmental experience due to increased continuity along educational pathway and between school, home, and community environments

Elevated learning outcomes delivered via developmentally-appropriate,culturally relevant, and rigorous educational experiences 

Equitable opportunities to develop their talents as they are prepared to be self-directed, life-long learners



Readily accessible opportunities, resources, and support for themselves and their children 

Greater knowledge and confidence to participate in and promote their child’s development and education beginning at birth

Recognition and respect as contributors within the school and their community


Increased effectiveness through greater learning and work collaboration 

Enriched relationships with children and families through extended connections that also provide seamless building upon prior learning 

Elevated voice and opportunities to innovate and lead transformation of birth through grade 3 policies and practices


Increased partnership through mutually beneficial connections with early care programs

Meaningful opportunities to build ties, add relevance, and increase equity in Birth-Grade 3 learning experiences 

Elevated voice and recognition in the development of high-quality early learning experiences that prepare children to contribute more fully in the future

the foundational commitments

The School as a Hub approach is a new way to consider the birth through Grade 3 pathway in children’s development and learning, along with educators’ roles inside school systems. As with any paradigm change, people and institutions must shift mindsets to make progress. Knowledge and practices must advance to meet what we now know based on established research.

At the core of this shift in mindset is a commitment to:

A multi-year perspective and continuity at each step along the full birth through grade three developmental progression 

Building high-quality learning and family engagement experiences 

Advancing an explicit focus on equity with the goal of preventing and eliminating income-and race-based disparities in opportunity and achievement 

Embracing a commitment to continuity, quality, and equity in the care and education of children starting at birth is the foundation and heartbeat of the School as a Hub for Birth through Grade 3 approach.

You can read more about each commitment here <LINK to 1.1 Where We Are Today>.

progress at a glance



School:           Edward “Babe” Gomez Heritage Elementary

Location:        Omaha, Nebraska

Size:               # of students, grades K-5

Gomez Heritage Elementary began shifting to the School as a Hub approach in 2017. The elementary school supports a high population of bilingual students, and it is of particular value to the school, families, and surrounding community to guide language development from Birth-Grade 3 in a high-quality, equitable, and consistent manner.

Early initiatives and practices included:

  • Home visits where a trained specialist regularly visits the school neighborhood’s babies.
  • Educational support for parents
  • Family nights and social clubs for parents and toddlers where toddlers are learning and parents receive information about the development of young brains.
  • Classroom instruction begins at age 3
  • Preschool, Kindergarten and elementary educators understand what the others are teaching so they can prepare children for future lessons and build upon prior learning

Charting Progress

Between 2016 and 2018 research revealed that children participating in School as a Hub whose home language is Spanish showed increases in language development. Evidence shows a higher volume of home visits is associated with higher language development.

[TBD: link to Superintendents Report 2017-18 OR include footnote reference]

One Child

Angel Perez is a young student benefiting from the shift to a School as a Hub approach. At age 3 he is comfortable and familiar with the Gomez Heritage Elementary building and staff, eagerly chatting with adults in authority positions such as the principal and the security guard.

Angel is the youngest in his family who speaks Spanish at home. His mother has experienced a traditional school approach and the School as a Hub approach so she is able to compare and contrast the experience. She reports Angel has learned his colors faster and converses in English and Spanish better than his older siblings did at the same age. She is excited he is being prepared to do whatever he chooses and receiving an excellent education.

“Quote from principal here” - John Campin, Principal, Gomez Heritage Elementary

making the shift from a traditional approach to a school as a hub for birth through grade 3 approach

Worlds of Learning and Development



Early childhood education (Birth-Age 5, PreK) and elementary education function as separate professional worlds


Elementary schools collaborate with early learning systems to bridge early childhood and elementary education

theory of change

To make changes at all levels of educational systems—including classrooms, elementary schools, districts and communities—the process must be iterative, more like a spiral than a line with starting and ending points. An ongoing process allows room for learning and intentional points of reflection.

[optional: insert Theory of Change graphic]

Central to the School as a Hub theory of change are commitments to continuity, equity, and quality which ensure we reduce or eliminate income- and race-based disparities in opportunity and achievement at all levels. These commitments provide the lens through which practices and policies are shaped and evaluated.

For changes to complex systems to endure, we must shift context and conditions, as well as practices. To that end, in making progress toward the School as a Hub approach, strategic and interdependent changes are promoted to strengthen organizational environments and build professional capacity, all while implementing a continuum of practices.

A series of critical elements — called Change Strategies — have been designed to operationalize continuity, equity, and quality across the birth-Grade 3 educational and developmental experience.

Learn more about the School as a Hub Change Strategies here. <Link to 1.3 CHANGE STRATEGIES>

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