The Office of Early Learning has come about as a result of a series of events.

  • In March 2006, the Department of Public Instruction convened a Ready Schools Task Force to study recommendations made to the Department by the Ready For School Goal Team and make recommendations about action needed to move forward. The task force was a joint initiative of the Department of Public Instruction and the NC Partnership for Children, and was funded through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation. Final recommendations were endorsed by the State Board of Education in June 2007 and included the following:
    • adoption of a definition of and pathways to Ready Schools
    • endorsement of the NC Position Paper on Kindergartens of the 21st Century
    • inclusion of a Ready Schools Assessment as part of an elementary school's School Improvement Planning process
  • In December 2008, the Elementary Council, which had been charged with determining in what ways DPI could support the work of Ready Schools, recommended that the Department create an Office of Early Learning to promote alignment of standards, curriculum, instructional practices, and assessment across the PreK-Grade 3 continuum and build capacity of statewide implementation of Ready Schools.
  • In February 2010, Superintendent Atkinson reported to the State Board of Education the formation of the Office of Early Learning to strategically focus on the early years and reform education for all NC children, preschool through Grade 3.