This study tested a social context, longitudinal model of the early schooling process on three first-grade outcomes for 1,539 ethnic minority children (1,470 were Black and 69 were Hispanic) Estimation of the model through Linear Structural Relations (LISREL) showed the dynamic nature of schooling. Cognitive readiness of children on entering kindergarten had pervasive indirect effects on all first-grade outcomes. The intervening variables of motivation, peers, parental involvement, and mobility had significant direct or indirect effects on the attainment process Equally important is that these latter variables are directly under the influence of families and schools. The links in the attainment process appear particularly amenable to intervention before or during kindergarten, when school attainment and motivational patterns are still forming. The stability of results needs to be monitored carefully.