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Enhancing the quality of UPK programs: Differences by setting and auspice

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Launched in the 2014-15 school year, the PKA initiative inherited New York City's mixed-delivery system in which UPK program oversight is distributed between the city's Department of Education (DOE) and Administration for Children's Services (ACS), agencies that historically have been characterized by programs with divergent missions, histories, and capacities. In this context, the city sought to align program quality across settings by creating cross-agency policy documents, offering funding to CBOs that could be used to increase teacher salaries, and joint providing professional development (PD) workshops and instructional coaching. The purpose of the NCCF study was to identify variation in PKA implementation by setting (schools vs. CBOs) and auspice (CBOs with only UPK funding; CBOs with UPK and Child Care funding; and CBOs with UPK and Head Start funding) during the 2016-17 school year. 2 Designed to discern lessons regarding quality, we used a mixed-methods approach with data collected from 57 UPK sites and 66 lead teachers: 1) UPK administrator surveys; 2) UPK lead teacher surveys; 3) Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) observations; 4) DOE site-level child demographics. After determining the statistical significance of comparisons by setting and auspice, we identified differences in the implementation of policy efforts to enhance quality. (author abstract)

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