Summer 2015 Updates

CEELO is committed to building the capacity of state early education administrators to advance the state’s goals for children. This year we focused on the theme, Leading for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Resources from our recent Roundtable: Leading for Excellence, #Lead4ECE, are available here. They include presentations, padlet pages packed with links to relevant resources, a Storify highlighting Tweets about the meeting, and more. Scroll down in this newsletter for more information about recent TA work--and how we can help you; useful resources; and an interview with Jenna Conway of Louisiana's Department of Education.

Technical Assistance Highlights

Technical Assistance
Our mission is to build the capacity of SEAs and their partners. Do you have a TA question? Check out our web page for your liaison, and see examples of questions we’ve answered for different states here.

What components are important for a quality school-based early childhood program?
CEELO Staff presented at the Indistar Summit earlier this year, answering this question. New indicators for early education include Access (4 indicators), Quality (5 indicators), Transitions and Supports for Children (4 indicators), Program/School Leadership and Decision Making (1 indicator), Curriculum, Assessment, and Instructional Planning (5 indicators), Engaging teachers in aligning instruction with standards and benchmarks (3 indicators), Assessing student learning frequently with standards-based assessments (2 indicators); and Classroom Instruction (2 indicators).
Slides from the presentation are now available.
What do we need to know about financing early childhood programs? What can we learn from what other states have done?
Discussion Guide: State Financing Strategies for Early Care and Education Systems, by Lori Connors-Tadros, is intended to help state policymakers make decisions about which financing strategies are needed to support early care and education (ECE) programs in their state. State and local investments are increasing in many states for early care and education programs, but in others, states are not investing sufficient dollars to ensure all children have access to high quality programs. Lori Connors-Tadros presented this information at the Sustainability Peer Learning Exchange hosted by the Early Learning Challenge TA Center in Atlanta in May. Financing Early Care and Education Annotated Bibliography of Resources, by Michelle Horowitz and Lori Connors-Tadros identifies selected resources on financing early care and education.
Resources Developed by States and Selected Cities to Support Financing Preschool Programs
, by Michelle Horowitz, Kirsty Clarke Brown, and Lori Connors-Tadros, identifies the tools, reports, and guidance developed by 32 states and 4 cities (Denver, San Antonio, Seattle, and New York City) to support financing of high quality preschool programs in local communities and districts.
How are states developing policy to determine eligibility for state pre-K programs based on income and other risk factors?
Some preschool expansion grantees asked CEELO about this, and the FastFact
Examples of State Guidance to Determine and Verify Income Eligibility for Prekindergarten Programs, provides examples and descriptions of how the policy works in different states. The report Approaches to State Pre-K Eligibility Policy: Considerations for Policy Makers in Revising Policy to Increase Access for High Needs Children by Megan Carolan and Lori Connors-Tadros, provides policy makers with information on state-funded pre-K programs’ eligibility policies and the common risk factors used to prioritize enrollment. Risk factors with the strongest impact on children’s school readiness are summarized. The report concludes with considerations for policy makers as they review or revise eligibility to serve more children, effectively and efficiently, in high quality early education programs.
How can we provide legislators with research about high quality early childhood education?
Lori Connors-Tadros worked with Virginia, as state lawmakers recently decided to examine and reform the Virginia Preschool Initiative, to ensure more low-income children have access. One TA option CEELO can assist with is providing slides or presentations for legislators and other stakeholders. See more information about that TA 

What factors should be considered in a comprehensive early childhood program?
Jim Squires from CEELO and leaders from the Southeast Regional Comprehensive Center have been working with the Mississippi Department of Education on forming a Stakeholder Group to advise on early education matters. The committee will focus on developing a state definition of school readiness, creating a statewide plan for family engagement, establishing a comprehensive system of early learning assessment, and coordinating services for at-risk children and families.

Georgia is engaged in a review of their pre-K program, and asking questions like: How can the state improve quality of the programs? Improve access to serve more children?
Jim Squires of CEELO has been working with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) as it supports the Early Childhood Subcommittee of Gov. Deal's Education Reform Commission. The committee first addressed issues of finance, in response to the Governor's charge to expand access to high quality early education. Issues of quality and incentives will be addressed during upcoming meetings, with recommendations due in August for the Governor's consideration.
How can states include the early learning model in state improvement plans under the new rule for the State Improvement Grants?
On April 23, 2015, CEELO and the Center on School Turnaround (CST) hosted an online session designed for state early learning and school improvement administrators gearing up to include the early learning model in their school improvement plans. Presenters reviewed the eight components* of the new model and discussed key requirements, including school leadership and expanding high quality prekindergarten and full-day kindergarten. 

Participants heard about opportunities provided by the early learning model and received key resources and information for state leaders. Charlie Geier, Director of Early Learning and Intervention in the Office of Early Learning and Intervention, Indiana Department of Education, shared what the new early learning model means for the state of Indiana and examples of how Indiana is working to support the key components of the SIG. Slides and other resources are available

Spotlight on the States

P-3 Alignment: Collaboration and Communication in Louisiana
As part of an ongoing series of interviews with leaders in early childhood education, CEELO spoke with Jenna ConwayExecutive Director, Early Childhood Education, Louisiana Department of Education, about their process of implementing major changes in Louisiana's early childhood program. We focused on how they are enhancing leadership at every level in Louisiana.

Can you talk a little bit about the scope and type of changes that are occurring in early childhood in your state right now and the leadership challenges associated with those changes?

We are part of a multi-year effort to unify early childhood programs in Louisiana–Head Start, pre K, child care, public and nonpublic schools–from how do we keep kids safe, all the way to: How do we identify what instruction we want to see happening in every early childhood classroom in Louisiana? How do we work together to achieve that?

This effort is unprecedented in the level and speed of change in Louisiana. It comes with a host of leadership challenges. The first is the need for all the leaders to come to the table and work collaboratively to achieve shared goals. And we’ve gotten every community in Louisiana to step up and to do this; leaders who didn’t interact, who may even have perceived each other as competitors, are now working together to consider how to focus on kids; look at standards, professional development, enrollment, what the data tells us about kids being kindergarten-ready. The most dynamic leadership teams are taking it back to teachers and parents to make sure they’re part of the change movement.

Read more here.

New Resources

Annotated Bibliography on Dual Language Learners
annotated bibliography on resources for supporting teachers and administrators to improve outcomes for dual language learners in pre-K through third grade, identifies selected resources on best practices and policy to support effective teaching and learning for dual language learners (DLL) in early childhood programs and early elementary school.
Linking Head Start and early childhood system data
Linking Head Start Data with State Early Childhood Systems provides an overview of the Early Childhood Data Collaborative issue brief and offers perspectives from two states (GA, PA) on their data linkage efforts. CEELO Senior Scientist Tom Schultz gave this presentation at the National Head Start Association Annual Conference in April.
Retention in  the early years
Jim Squires supported the Southeast Regional Comprehensive Center’s online Community of Practice for SEA early education leaders during this interactive session:
Is Retention in the Early Years an Effective Research-Based Approach for Improving Student Outcomes?


Request TA from CEELO

Every state has a CEELO TA liaison who is ready to work with you to provide research, consultation, or meeting facilitation, or to connect you with additional expertise. See our website for contact information for your liaison.