MDE Literacy, Whole Child, and Prenatal Through Age 8 Priorities

Top 10 Education State in 10 Years

Michigan’s Top 10 in 10 Strategic Plan states that we will further develop a more coherent and aligned education system at all levels.

Using the work of Fullan, Kirtman, and others, leadership at MDE has identified three priorities (P-8, Whole Child, and Literacy) to provide a focused direction and to guide the work at the department during the next few years. These three priorities are designed to sharpen our focus in the department; to increase cross-agency work within the department, and to explicitly link that work to Michigan’s Top 10 in 10 strategic plan.


  • Literacy is an essential skill for everyone. It begins early in a child’s development and continues throughout life.

  • In Michigan, our current focus is on early literacy to ensure that every child is on track for literacy success.

  • Instrumental to this work are essential literacy practices to guide instruction for every child, in every classroom, every day.

  • Training modules to support educators with the implementation of the essential literacy practices are available. These modules depict Michigan teachers expertly using these literacy practices with the students in their classes.

  • The Michigan Department of Education is working with ISDs, local districts, and education partners to support the implementation of the essential practices. In addition, each office in the MDE is committing to activities that align to the three goals of Michigan’s Action Plan for Literacy Excellence.

  • More information can be found on the Early Literacy Page of the MDE Website.

Whole Child

  • Each child, in each school, in each community, deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged for long-term success in college, career, and life.

  • We know that factors outside of school can dramatically affect a child’s learning and well-being. If children are hungry or they feel unsafe they find it difficult to engage in the learning environment, just as adults cannot focus on work when they do not feel well.

  • MDE has crafted a definition of the Whole Child and is using a model of connected efforts that include: Whole Community, Whole School, and Whole Child. This model provides a broad framework for addressing both the academic and non-academic needs of students in an integrated approach.

  • MDE is working with strategic partners to recognize and support the needs of every child so that they enter the classroom ready and eager to learn.

  • More information can be found on the Whole Child Page on the MDE Website

Prenatal through Age 8 (P-8)

  • Children need to have a strong start in life from prenatal through age 8 (P-8).
  • Our effort to make P-8 a priority will provide connections among our early childhood care and education, K-12, and other efforts to ensure that our work is aligned.
  • The P-20 System and Student Transitions team is taking the lead to launch, develop, and manage this P-8 initiative of the department and will work with a technical assistance partner to support this work.
  • More information can be found on the Prenatal Through Age 8 (P-8) Priority Initiative Page of the MDE Website.