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James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – June 15, 2020 – As the nation’s school districts are grappling with how to reopen their school buildings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is teaming up with Standard For Success (SFS) to help district leaders align their organizational structures to sustain high-quality early learning program implementation.

AASA and SFS are releasing the Early Learning Program Assessment Tool (ELPAT©), a learning initiative comprised of standards that cover four distinct age groups from birth through third grade. Developed in collaboration with AASA by Edward Manuszak, superintendent of Dundee Community Schools in Dundee, Mich., and co-chair of AASA’s Early Learning Cohort, the tool includes:

  • Instructional practice (engaged play, literacy & language, language development, math & science, and social studies)
  • Family and community engagement/outreach
  • Professional development
  • Social and emotional development
  • Curriculum and resources
  • Learning environment
  • Developmental assessments
  • Health and wellness development

“AASA and SFS are collaborating to leverage the expertise, networks and resources from both organizations to advance early learning and bolster safe, inclusive and research-based early learning environments for all students,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “Instituting best practices and bridging the gap for the time lost during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical for our early learners.”

“This tool is a comprehensive and universal way for school leaders to get a quick snapshot of how effective their early learning programs are for students and families,” said Todd Whitlock, co-founder and CEO, SFS. “Together with AASA, we are reaching the top leaders in districts who are critical to supporting and sustaining ELPs in schools. We are thrilled to partner with AASA—the nation’s top source for public school district leadership.”

“Having the ELPAT© online and housed on a national platform with the partnership of Standard For Success allows districts to create a coherent conversation in affirmation and, where applicable, improvement toward mastery in early learning programs district-wide,” said Manuszak.

Today’s announcement complements the AASA Early Learning Cohort, which is working to review emerging research, and discover early learning best practices and plans to facilitate change. Research shows the high returns on investment and importance of high-quality early learning programs—especially for disadvantaged students in rural and urban settings.


About AASA  
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit

About SFS
Standard for Success is on a mission to help make better teachers, better students and a better world. An award-winning global education firm that serves over 400 districts across 20 states and provinces in the United States and Canada, Standard For Success provides turn-key solutions for educators and administrators from PK-20, and at colleges and universities. For more information, visit

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