It takes years to fully implement and systematize any strategy. Therefore, a Superintendent’s tenure directly impacts the success of any district’s mission. This is even more apparent for an ECE initiative that could involve multiple agencies, grades, or departments. These Superintendents elevate an Early Education Strategy during their tenure, and some or most of the work is sustained after their departure. The Fellows labeled these Superintendents “Unicorns” and the residuals of their work “Unicorn Dust.”
A Unicorn is a Superintendent or administrator who visibly supports an early education strategy in a district setting. The visibility is seen and understood by all district staff, early education community leaders, and parents. The strengths of the effectiveness of their strategies are measured in the long-term impact on districts. The superintendent or administrator’s efforts survive their future departure. The Fellows call these efforts Unicorn Dust.
Actions of the Unicorn include but are not limited to the following:
- A written early education strategy
- Early education embedded in district-wide written plans and processes, e.g., mission, LCFF, CEIS
- Early education embedded in district fiscal models
- A district early education administrator
- The Early Education administrator is on the Superintendent’s leadership team
- The district’s Early Education leader is grounded in ECE pedagogy and practices
- The Early Education strategy is embedded in the district’s curriculum, instruction, and assessment departments and systems
DIAL EE seeks to elevate the Unicorns’ actions scattered throughout the state of California’s 1000 plus districts by highlighting a superintendent or administrator during a bi-monthly podcast.