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 a more coherent and aligned education system at all levels will be further developed. To meet this goal, the Michigan Department of Education is working to shift from a compliance driven agency to a support-focused agency and to shift from each office working in isolation to cross-office interdependency.

Leadership at MDE have identified Three Priorities (Literacy, Whole Child, and P-8) 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.

  • The Michigan Action Plan for Literacy Excellence (MAPLE) includes three goals to support every Michigan child in being on track for literacy success.
  • Goal One of the MAPLE is for MDE to align the policy, funding, and resources to support literacy success.
  • MDE provides guidance to local education agencies to implement literacy legislation, such as the Read by Grade Three law, utilize state and Federal literacy funding opportunities, and access research-informed instructional practices to support literacy success.
  • Goal Two of the MAPLE is to support research-informed literacy instructional practices.
  • Research-informed literacy instructional practices are defined for all ages in the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA) General Education Leadership Network (GELN) Essential Instructional Practices in Early, Elementary, and Disciplinary Literacy documents.
  • Goal Three of the MAPLE is for MDE to support literacy leaders through a network.
  • The MDE convenes a Read by Grade 3 Communication Committee of partners committed to supporting local understanding and implementation of the Read by Grade law.
  • 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.
  • The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is using a national model of connected efforts that includes: Whole School, Whole Community, and Whole Child (WSCC). This model provides a broad framework for addressing both the academic and life-long health needs of students in an integrated approach involving students, families, school staff, and communities.
  • MDE is working with strategic partners to recognize and support the needs of every child so that they enter the classroom healthy and ready to learn.
  • More information can be found on the Whole Child page of the MDE website.

P-8 (Prenatal through Age 8)

  • Children deserve to be healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from prenatal through age 8 (P-8).
  • This period of life provides the foundation for durable and long-lasting family, community, and school partnerships.
  • The P-8 Priority Initiative will identify and build upon connections among early childhood care and education, K-12 and CTE, and other efforts across agencies to ensure that our work is aligned.
  • There will be a deliberate focus on the importance of supporting the transitions that occur throughout these critical years of children’s lives to better ensure children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at the time of school entry.
  • The P-8 Priority Initiative will attend to intentional integration with MDE’s other priorities of Whole Child and Early Literacy to achieve the strongest start for success in education and life.
  • More information can be found on the Prenatal Through Age 8 (P-8) Priority Initiative Page of the MDE Website.