A Guide for Planning Transitions to Elementary (PreK-5) School

Capacity Building

This section explains capacity building, shares an inspiring capacity building story (bright spot) and offers selected resources to support your efforts.

What Is Capacity Building? It means providing professional development to district and school staff and community partners so they have the skills and knowledge they need to take a data-driven, positive, problem-solving and multi-tiered approach to supporting student attendance, participation and engagement. ent.

During the 2020-2021 school year, capacity building requires a leadership team to develop the skills necessary to manage hybrid learning environments and multiple transitions, promote digital literacy, and ensure that professional development is ongoing and responsive to the social-emotional and physical needs of the entire school community.

For grades PreK-5, capacity building must also help staff address the needs of families with children entering school for the first time, as well as collaborate with preschool providers.

Attention to Equity

A commitment to equity within your capacity building efforts requires strengthening your staff’s ability to identify and address inequities, appreciate the realities of the diverse families in your school community, and involve people who reflect the demographics of your school community.

Bright Spot
  • Turnaround for Children. Founded in the wake of 9/11, Turnaround demonstrates how better outcomes can be achieved by equipping schools to support healthy development in the face of adversity. Based upon its successful efforts with 100 schools, the organization offers free resources to mitigate trauma that emphasize relationships, routines, and resilience.

  • Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE) at Tufts Medical School provides a public health approach and hands-on materials showing the influence of positive environments on the social-emotional development of young students and their families.

  • Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools released the first chapter of its Playbook for School Reopening. This chapter, Planning for the Next Normal at School: Keeping students, staff, teachers, and families safe and healthy, offers school and district leaders with five practical strategies and actionable steps for improving mental health and well-being, in both physical and virtual school environments.

  • The African American Museum of History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution offers a series of materials to support dialogue and professional development on attitudes about race, racism and implicit bias. These materials are recommended by the Office of Head Start.

  • Panorama has developed surveys of families and staff aimed at helping schools to understand and address community needs for the return to school.