The Challenge

Because of the diverse needs of the community, Long Branch Public Schools recognized the need for a curriculum that is not only academically rigorous but also meets the social and emotional needs of their students, and the professional development needs of their teachers. Their teachers chose the Tools of the Mind curriculum after an exhaustive committee search and visits to see various curricula in action in neighboring school districts.


“My bilingual students, students with special needs and general education students all showed significant growth. By the last quarter of the school year 10 of my 15 students were encoding their Play Plans and writing most of the letters in their words without assistance.”

—Meghan Cavanagh

PreK Teacher, Long Branch, NJ

The Process


Committee search to choose the right curriculum.


Selection of Tools of the Mind PreK training program.


Tools training and implementation for all PreK staff.


Teaching and learning review and outcomes.

Our Results

After one year of implementation, our assessment revealed that 80-90% of our 3- and 4-year-old children were meeting or exceeding standards related to Scaffolded Writing, counting, and engaging in positive interactions.

LB-restaurant-role-play_Adriel-and-AriannaMany 4-year-old children were using initial sounds in writing their Play Plans; 3-year-olds were developing messages and drawing a line for each word. Children’s positive interactions were apparent during make-believe play as well as other Tools of the Mind daily activities. The self-regulatory activities threaded throughout the program influenced children’s social and emotional behaviors.

Teachers felt that the targeted professional development throughout the year was a strength that helped them provide the children in their classrooms with the individualized supports each one needed to make continuous progress. Teachers provided instructional support based on children’s developmental needs and the process became more seamless as the teachers’ confidence increased as the year progressed with regular training sessions. The teachers who worked with children with special needs benefited from the targeted professional development on accommodations and modifications in the Tools of the Mind program.

Our teachers are looking forward to continuously addressing the Tools of the Mind approach to teaching and learning in Professional Learning Communities where they will exchange ideas about teaching practices, plan, and discuss specific areas of the program. The Early Learning Centers are planning to have a Tools of the Mind event for parents, increasing families’ understanding of the program, strengthening the family and school connection.

Case Study

Christina Seix Academy

As a new independent school that serves the needs of underserved children in the greater Trenton community, Christina Seix Academy sought an evidence-based curriculum that could provide engaging experiences for their children and a robust professional development program for their faculty.

Learn More