About AppleTree

Our mission is to close the achievement gap before students get to kindergarten by providing three- and four-year-olds with the social, emotional, and cognitive foundations that enable them to thrive in school.

Founded in 1996, AppleTree is a non-profit organization consisting of a research and development institute and a public charter preschool with campuses across Washington, DC.

Together, they produce and use an award-winning instructional model that is implemented at all AppleTree public charter preschools, and at 22 other schools and community based organizations across Washington, DC and in New York City. In 2018, we reach over 3,400 three- and four-year-olds or one-third of preschool and prekindergarten charter school students in the District of Columbia.

Through our signature early learning program Every Child Ready, we help students build the foundational skills that are necessary to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. In fact, children who enter AppleTree programs below grade level typically graduate at or above it.

Our work is grounded in five core values that guide how we work together to achieve our mission: 
  • Mission First: We believe that AppleTree can be instrumental in closing the achievement gap before children enter kindergarten. Doing so will transform the lives of the children we teach, and transform our country, as we support more communities by sharing what we’ve learned.
  • Continuous Improvement: We believe in the ongoing effort to improve the quality of everything we do. As an organization, we commit to collecting and using data and feedback to grow our collective impact over time. As a team and as individuals, we seek and provide the professional development needed to achieve excellence in our work, and build a foundation for our careers.
  • Research to Practice: We commit to acting and building upon what we’ve already learned, and to staying appraised of and contributing to evolving research in the field. Given the high stakes for the children we teach, we use an evidence-based instructional program and we innovate deliberately, holding a high standard for proof before shifting our approach.
  • Trust: We believe that to teach children effectively, all the adults involved must work together and, therefore, must trust one another. As a staff we begin with the assumption that each of us is committed to the mission and intends to live these core values. We build trust by keeping our word, telling the truth (even when it’s hard), being transparent about tough decisions, and acknowledging our mistakes.
  • Solution Focused: We recognize the enormous challenges before us. This work is never easy. And, yet, we dwell in the solutions, not the challenges. We search for proven strategies wherever they exist, work collaboratively and in partnership with families, communities, and each other whenever possible, and relentlessly pursue greater impact for our students.
Learn more about our history.