The Center for District Innovation And Leadership in Early Education (DIAL EE) supports school districts to align early education and K-12 systems to ultimately realize the best outcomes for all children, from early childhood through high school graduation.

Education Ecosystem

The California education ecosystem has many groups, such as school districts, charter schools, professional organizations, early education stakeholders, advocacy groups, research centers, funders, and more, that make up the early education and K-12 systems. School districts with early learning programs must navigate and operate within these two complex systems and set of regulations mandated by the Federal and State governments. Some districts identify innovative ways to work within both systems and governance frameworks to develop effective early education programs. However, leaders in these districts primarily operate in relative isolation limiting the diffusion of innovation and lessons. The Center for District Innovation and Leadership in Early Education acts as a convener and facilitator between school districts and various groups to align and integrate early education and K-12 systems.


Since district early learning programs are unique in that they serve primarily low-income families there is the opportunity to design around a system focused on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable and ensures that children from communities with less social, political and monetary capital build a strong educational system. DIAL EE’s work is informed by a group of early education leaders to ground it in the realities, interests, and priorities of those responsible for early education within their districts. DIAL EE’s frameworks are focused on:

Whole child
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Measurable impacts
Early education strategy within local education authority setting


DIAL EE is currently partnered with a diverse set of California school districts to explore effective practices and policy in governance and leadership, budgeting, workforce development and continuous improvement for Preschool to 3rd grade. Embedded in this work is a focus on equity–for children, families, and the workforce. DIAL EE has two sets of strategies to achieve its goals:

Visible Governance

Understand local education authority context and current state e.g. governance model, leadership formal training

Implementation tools


K-12 professional administrative organizations

Governor’s Budget



Synthesize incoming information from Governor, Legislature, State Departments such as DSS, CDE and department initiatives

Implementation of “Mini Grants”
Create an Early Education Strategic Plan that leverages current work
Review early education visibility
Identify current and future partnerships
Incorporate new budget and legislative changes

Learn more

Governance, Leadership and Implementation

Latest News

District Planning for Universal Prekindergarten Expansion

DIAL EE is creating a 4 part series of tools to help districts in California to plan for the universal Prekindergarten expansion.  The tools are publicly available for use and can be customized to fit a district's context.Part 1: What's Happening & Where to Start...

Scholarship opportunity to the 2021 California STEAM Symposium

The Center for District Innovation and Leadership in Early Education (DIAL EE) is pleased to announce that we will be supporting 100 educators and administrators in early education to attend the 2021 California STEAM Symposium. We will provide scholarships to the...

Summer 2021 Newsletter

Policy Update: Universal TK Is Here With the passage of the 2021-2022 California budget, transitional kindergarten (TK) will be expanded, with full implementation of universal TK slated for the 2025-26 school year. This expansion is an enormous shift to the early...

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