Kindergarten: Building the Sturdy Bridge Between the Early Years and Early Grades
Come learn about the Department’s kindergarten-centered Pre-K-3 agenda and the work 15 states are doing through the Kindergarten Collaborative.
Swati Adarkar most recently served as the National Policy Director for Start Early. Prior to this, Swati was the Co-Founder and President & CEO of the Children’s Institute in Oregon for 15 years, an early childhood policy and advocacy organization. Swati served on statewide advisory committees on early childhood for three Oregon governors. She provided the vision and leadership to launch and sustain the Early Works initiative which aligns birth to five services and supports with elementary school. For more than thirty years she has been a strong advocate for meeting the comprehensive needs of low-income children and families in Oregon and California and has a passion for ensuring the health and early school success of young children. Swati has served on the Advisory Boards of Attendance Works and the National P-3 Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.
Natalie Walrond, MBA, serves as the Director of the Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities content area at WestEd. In this role, she oversees the growth and dissemination of the agency’s body of work related to creating safe, supportive, responsive, and equitable conditions in which every child, youth, and adult can learn, grow, and thrive. She also serves as director of the National Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety, housed at WestEd. In this role, she leads the vision, strategic direction, and external engagement of the center. She leads a team of people who work nationally to build state and local capacity to integrate evidence-based approaches to social and emotional development and school safety with academic teaching and learning, school climate and culture, and all of the ways that children and youth experience school. She speaks and writes for the Center on social and emotional well-being, excellence, alignment and coherence, and equity.