Established in 2018 as a research-practice partnership, the Wisconsin Readiness Equity Network (WREN) is a collaboration of the four largest urban school districts in Wisconsin as a response to Wisconsin’s enduring racial disparities in educational opportunities and academic success. WREN brings together administrators and educators focused on early childhood education in the Kenosha Unified School District, Madison Metropolitan School District, Milwaukee Public Schools, and Racine Unified School District. Our partner districts educate almost one in five public school students in Wisconsin, nearly 19,000 prekindergarten and kindergarten children, and almost two-thirds of African-American students in the state. WREN convenes expertise from UW-Madison, the Department of Public Instruction, and the four-member districts to develop innovative pathways for action.When invited to identify common problems of practice, WREN partners chose play as the inaugural topic for a joint research project. In 2019, we traveled to WREN districts, recording videos of play-based teaching in 4K and 5K as a foundation for professional development, now curated as the Play Video Library.
WREN received support from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences (R372A150031), the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, CRECE, the Sorenson Chair Endowment.
We would like to acknowledge Erica Ramberg for her work as WREN’s first project assistant. Her work was critical to forming the partnership.