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Partnership for Pre-K Improvement header

Building and Sustaining High-Quality, Equitable Pre-K

Partnership for Pre-K Improvement header

Building and Sustaining High-Quality, Equitable Pre-K

Introducing the Partnership for Pre-K Improvement (PPI) Toolkit

Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington has an exciting new toolkit designed to improve equitable access to high-quality pre-K. The Partnership for Pre-K Improvement (PPI) Toolkit was developed over the course of a five-year collaborative learning strategy between states, research organizations, and advocacy groups, supported by Cultivate Learning, Alliance for Early Success, and Start Early (formerly The Ounce of Prevention Fund), and generously funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The PPI Toolkit guides state early learning agency leaders, researchers, and advocates from the initial stages of building partnerships and creating a shared vision for high-quality equitable pre-K through securing the resources and policies needed to design and implement specific, effective, and measurable continuous quality improvement efforts. Visit to learn more about the PPI project and access the toolkit.

Webinars and Events

Unpacking PPI toolkit Phase 3: Improve, Implement, and Advocate Webinar

April 18, 2022 10:00 - 11:00 am PT; 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET

Join the PPI Partners, Alliance for Early Success, Cultivate Learning, and Start Early for the third part of a three-part webinar series to unpack the tools and resources around Implementing, Improving, and Advocating. The tools in this phase can assist leaders engage in continuous-quality improvement by periodically evaluating policy and practice implementations to make informed decisions for scaling policies and practices that work for all children. Tools in this phase include: Equity-Driven Action Planning; Advancing High-Quality Policy: Policy Development Process Guide; Promote Job-embedded Professional Learning: Policy and Data Tools; Analyze Data: State Level Data Use Tools for CQI; Estimating the Cost of ECE Quality: A Resource Guide; and more.

Past Webinars and Events

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Systems Improvement

Cultivate Learning is committed to improving the quality and equity of early learning, through community engaged research, and best practices that transform classroom practices, workforce development, and state level systems. 

The Implementation Development Map (IDM) is a process-oriented tool designed to help state-level leaders measure their state’s policies and infrastructure to improve the quality of prekindergarten (pre-K) systems. The IDM includes seven Elements essential to high quality pre-K: professional development, research-based curriculum, child assessment, high-quality teaching, continuous quality improvement, instructional leadership, and political leadership.

Understanding developmental phases of infrastructure and capacity building is critical to improving quality in equitable pre-K programs. The IDM describes the phases of implementation that help states identify where they are along the continuum of developing statewide capacity for sustaining essential Elements of high-quality pre-K. Statewide successes have the potential to generate sustained improvement across the country, setting the national standard for pre-K.

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Supporting a National Strategy for Early Learning

In 2017, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded Cultivate Learning to be a partner in a national early learning strategy to improve and expand state pre-K.  In collaboration with anchor partners - Start Early (formerly the Ounce of Prevention Fund), and the Alliance for Early Success, Cultivate Learning implemented the Partnership for Pre-K Improvement (PPI). PPI was a multi-year, cross-sectoral partnership between state agency, advocacy, and research in three states (Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington) to learn together ways to  improve the quality, equity, and sustainability of state-funded pre-K programs. As part of this collaborative effort, Cultivate Learning engaged in three main activities:

  1. Supported Research-Practice Partnerships (RPPs) in all three states to engage in rapid cycle, continuous quality improvement based on learning agenda jointly crafted by state agency and research institutions.
  2. Conducted qualitative Case Studies to examine how RPPs develop, evolve, and sustain over time.
  3. Developed the Implementation Development Map (IDM), a process oriented tool designed to help states evaluate their policies and infrastructure to improve the quality and equity of pre-k systems. To learn more about the IDM and additional tools and resources developed by PPI anchor partners, visit the PPI toolkit website at To receive support in using the IDM for pre-k system evaluation and improvement planning, contact
  4. Served as Washington State’s Research-Practice Partner in collaboration with researchers from Education Northwest. Read the learning agenda jointly crafted between Cultivate Learning, Education Northwest, and Washington state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) responsible for the state-funded pre-k program, the Early Care Education Assistance Program (ECEAP).

Our Team

Gail Joseph, Principal Investigator (PI) and Director, UW Cultivate Learning, Professor in Early Childhood and Family Studies, UW College of Education
Beza Semu Bulega, Director of Systems Improvement, UW Cultivate Learning
Lauren Kronenberg, Research and Data Coordinator

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