P-3 Leaders Fellowship

Decades of research and practice show just how important and interconnected children’s experiences are during their first 8 years of life, from birth through third grade. This period, which we refer to as “P-3” (Preschool to 3rd Grade), is a critical time because of the unparalleled pace of neurological, physiological, and social development in children. The opportunity to set children on a path to academic achievement and to better life outcomes is greatest during this P-3 period. 

All too often, however, the opportunity to align and improve childhood experiences during these critical years is overlooked. The P-3 continuum is served by a mosaic of systems, with different operating styles, needs, and resources. As a result, children’s early experiences are often disconnected, parents often confused, and  educators often unaware of what experiences came before or will come after – all contributing to missed opportunities for students.

To address this, GEEARS has developed a P-3 Leaders Fellowship program specifically for center and school leaders, with a specialized curriculum developed with input from early learning providers, K-12 partners, and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL)Over the course of four intensive sessions from September to March, Atlantaarea leaders from across the P-3 continuum will convene to become leading P-3 voices and strengthen early childhood outcomes. Leaders from both early learning programs and local school systems are uniquely positioned to create meaningful change for this age group, promoting a more aligned and seamless experience across the birth-8 continuum 

Rarely are early learning and school system leaders afforded the chance to work together, develop solutions for themselves, and implement those coordinated practices. The P-3 Leaders Fellowship is an exciting opportunity to do just that. 

GEEARS invites center and school leaders to apply to the P-3 Leaders Fellowship for the 2020 – 2021 academic yearThough GEEARS opens the application now, we recognize that the fall may require special attention from center and school leadersTo accommodate this, the P-3 Leaders Fellowship will closely monitor the changing public health situation and make program and schedule adjustments as needed to conduct the fellowship effectively and ensure maximum participation 

Applications are open now through Friday, August 21st.

Click here to apply.

The What

  • The P-3 Leadership Institute provides competitive applicants from early learning programs and elementary schools an opportunity to come together, develop as P-3 leaders, and better serve children and families. 
  • 4 full-day,intensive training sessions with lunch (or virtual sessions, as needed) and intersession projects designed for elementary and early childhood leaders and addressing the following: 
      • Networking and relationship-building across all P-3 settings
      • Collaborative sessions on identifying quality and opportunities for alignment in instructional practices, curricula, assessments, data sharing, and developmentally appropriate practices 
      • The design of ongoing collaboration plans to enrich experiences for families and students and ensure future collaboration across settings
  • Participants who complete the fellowship receive:
      • Final completion ceremony & celebration outside of working hours
      • Schools and centers with a P-3 Fellowship alumnus/a receive preferential consideration in Office of Early Learning transition grants 
      • CEUs available through the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL)

The When

  • Sessions for the ’20-’21 year are scheduled on a bi-monthly basis, beginning in late September 2020 and ending in March 2021. Specific dates to follow.  
  • GEEARS is sensitive to the changing and pressing needs on leaders’ schedules in the coming year. Collaborating with the P-3 Advisory Group (leaders from the APS, PAACT, providers, and DECAL) GEEARS will work to identify scheduling hurdles and solutions for fellows in this cohort.   

The Why

  • Distinguish your leadership by becoming an experienced voice in the P-3 continuum.
  • Change the culture in your school community by using the fellowship experience to communicate the power in early learning and inspire action
  • Develop relationships with your counterparts in either early learning centers or elementary schools to promote seamless, integrated educational pathway from preschool through 3rd grade

The Who

  • Atlanta area early learning Program Directors (or leaders with Director’s reference) may apply
  • Atlanta Public Schools elementary Principals or Assistant Principals (or other school leaders with Principal’s reference) may apply 
  • Priority is given to applicants that apply jointly with their counterpart(s) from early learning programs or elementary schools in their area/school cluster. Applicants are not meant to apply with those in similar roles; the Fellowship seeks partnerships between center directors and principals. GEEARS can help match applying P-3 leaders.  

The How


    • “It was inspiring to watch leaders from across sectors learn together and from each other over the course of this program. Delving into concepts from equity to developmentally-appropriate practice to accountability, leaders developed a deeper understanding of the birth-8 continuum in their own communities.” – Sydney Ahearn, Director, APS Office of Early Learning
    • “I learned a lot about the different schools, testing, and curriculum. And just a better understanding of what each school needs. I will definitely stay in touch and be more knowledgeable of what is going on to share that information with my parents.” – Early Learning Center Director, ’19-20 Fellow
    • “I really appreciate you giving the opportunity to participate in P-3 Leaders Program. It has been a great experience. It is always nice to collaborate and build stronger communities.” – Early Learning Center Director, ’19-’20 Fellow

    Video Testimonial from Atlanta Principal, Jay Bland