Master's Programs

Certificate, P-3 Leadership

School of Education & Human Development


Degree: Credit available Non-credit

Classroom Type: Fully Online

Provides elementary and early learning leaders with skills and knowledge to lead cross-system improvements and to implement instructional reforms that benefit our youngest learners, preschool through 3rd grade.

Application​ deadlines

May 1, 2024

Time Commitment

The program consists of approximately 135 hours of learning. There are 9 modules, with 10 to 12 hours of asynchronous learning and three hours of synchronous learning per module.

Credit Available

Program may be converted to 6 CU Denver graduate credits or 9 CEUs.

Mode and Time to Completion

Fully online with synchronous and asynchronous learning completed in 10 months with a month-long break in September.

Program Details

Campus: CU Denver Online

p-3 center logo

This 10-month, fully online, executive-style program is for working administrators who want to engage in intentional and collaborative learning to deepen their understanding of child development, school leadership, and learning opportunities that dismantle historic inequities.

Our approach at the University of Colorado Denver is to support working professionals in an engaging, blended format of monthly modules completed primarily through asynchronous work. The program also provides bi-monthly synchronous sessions with leading researchers and practitioner-experts engaged in innovative P-3 work.


  • Develop strong leadership skills and knowledge to ensure a high-quality continuum of learning for students across early learning and the early grades
  • Learn effective strategies to link and align elementary schools with community-based early care and education (ECE) programs
  • Grow abilities to effectively implement current reforms (e.g., school improvement plans, pre-K expansion, teacher evaluations, transitions to kindergarten) in ways that benefit young children and education professionals
  • Advance effective strategies to involve families, teachers, and communities in closing achievement gaps early

Why Enroll

While school readiness and ready schools were priorities before the pandemic, they have become even more important as school districts, early care and education (ECE) programs, state agencies, and other stakeholders grapple with the inequitable opportunities provided to our youngest learners. Now is an opportune time for school leaders to re-imagine and invest deeply in their skills and knowledge to design school cultures and collaborative teamwork, informed by research, that will close early achievement gaps and support young learners.

Who Should Participate

  • Elementary school principals
  • School district administrators
  • School board members
  • Administrative leaders in early care and education (ECE)
  • Teams that include leaders from both ECE and PreK-12 are strongly encouraged to enroll together


The National P-3 Leadership Certificate program launches June 1, 2024 and concludes March 31, 2025. This 10-month, nine-module, non-degree, continuing professional education certificate paces participants to engage in one module per month. A month-long break is scheduled for September 2024.  For each of the modules, the learning format is primarily asynchronous content with two 90-minute synchronous sessions.


Module Topics

June 2024

Module 1: Foundations for P-3

July 2024

Module 2: Child Development with an Equity Lens

August 2024

Module 3: Engaging Families and Communities

September 2024


October 2024

Module 4: Learning Environments and School Culture

November 2024

Module 5: Supporting Effective Teaching

December 2024

Module 6: Aligned Curricula and Instructional Practices

January 2025

Module 7: Continuous Improvement

February 2025

Module 8: P-3 Policy and Advocacy

March 2025

Module 9: Building for P-3 Sustainability


Program Cost


Teams of participants can be supported by state or district Title II-A and other sources. We have a limited number of partial, needs-based scholarships available for self-pay participants. Please contact us if you would like to discuss either of these possibilities.

*Costs of materials (~$100) not included

Recommended Completion Time:10 months

Admission Requirements

  • Resume
  • Write a 500-word statement of interest answering the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in participating in the P-3 Leadership Certificate program?
    • What outcomes do you hope will occur as a result of completing this professional learning opportunity?
    • How do you imagine you will use the learning to support your school/program and community?
For more information, please email us at

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