Spring 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 are focusing specifically on the theme, Leading for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Exciting News: Applications for the Year 2 Cohort of the CEELO Leadership Academy will be open soon; scroll down to read more about this in Upcoming Events. In this issue of our newsletter you’ll find information about our Technical Assistance work; an interview with Vincent Costanza, Director of the Early Learning Challenge Grant work in New Jersey; and links to new resources on a range of topics. 

Technical Assistance Highlights

Best Practices for Supporting Teachers and Administrators to Improve Outcomes for Dual Language Learners in PK-Grade 3
Lori Connors-Tadros and Alexandra Figueras-Daniel
presented on February 25, 2015 at the Winter Meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officer's, English Language Learners State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS). The presentation highlights best practice for teachers and administrators to support development of English and children's home languages; shares a tool for coaching and professional development of teachers; and discusses policy trends and recommendations for improving outcomes of dual language learner children.

Kindergarten as a Critical Link
Presenting at a national meeting for districts, Melissa Dahlin and Shannon Riley-Ayers were joined by Vincent Costanza (New Jersey Department of Education), Anne Arnold (Highline Public Schools, WA), and Rick Falkenstein (Kingwood Township School District, NJ), focusing on ways school districts can develop kindergarten policies to both support alignment across the early grades and ensure effective transitions for children and families into elementary school. The session highlights 10 policies that support, promote, and enhance the learning and joy of learning for all kindergarten children, leading to positive child outcomes for all. Panelists share how districts and school are enacting and implementing these policies, with a discussion of strategies, approaches, and outcomes.

Supporting Principal Leadership for PK-Grade 3 Learning Communities
More than 600 principals, superintendents, and other educational leaders from across the country registered for “Supporting Principal Leadership for PK–Grade 3 Learning Communities,” a 
webinar sponsored by CEELO, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education. Participants learned about revised principal competencies highlighted in NAESP’s Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice and heard from principals and state leaders about the value of taking such an approach to bridge PK-5 and K-12 systems.

Early Learning as a School Improvement Intervention
At the 2015 National Title I Conference, Jana Martella of CEELO, joined Libby Doggett, Lenay Dunn, and Carlas McCauley in
presenting Early Learning as a School Improvement Intervention, an “overview as to how early learning strategies can improve achievement as a school improvement intervention. Also, key research on the impact of high quality early learning programs [was] presented.” The Policy Report on Integrating Early Learning Strategies in the SIG program, a related resource, is available here

Working with Georgia to Expand Early Education Options
Georgia’s Gov. Nathan Deal announced the formation of an Education Reform Commission during his State of the State address, to develop recommendations for improving the educational system. Five subcommittees were formed to examine various aspects of education, including one devoted to early childhood education. Coordinated by the Department of Early Care and Learning (
DECAL), the ECE subcommittee comprises diverse stakeholders charged with making recommendations for expanding early educational options, including expanding pre-K throughout the state and increasing access to quality-rated programs for children from birth to five. CEELO’s Jim Squires is coordinating efforts with DECAL, using the expertise of NIEER, CEELO, and other national experts to assist the subcommittee in better understanding the issues from a national and research-based perspective, addressing financing, access, and quality. 

Improving Early Education Access and Quality in Indiana
Lori Connors-Tadros is working with Early Learning Indiana, a partnership of state agency early education administrators and early education program leaders in Indiana, to support a five-year initiative, Partnerships for Early Learners, funded by the Lilly Endowment. The goals of the initiative are to improve the accessibility and quality of early childhood programs across the state, for children birth through five, that best serve the needs of children and families, and leverage public and private funding. Connors-Tadros attended meetings of key partners in Indiana on February 16 and March 10 to provide research and best practices to inform the work of the Partnership, and help align state and local efforts to build a robust system of high quality early childhood services.

New Early Education Indistar®  Indicators
Early Education Indicators and School Improvement Grant Implications introduces new Indistar® Early Childhood Indicators, which provide an opportunity for stakeholders to use indicators and the associated research to align early childhood education with school improvement efforts. The presentation includes information on how the indicators were selected and how they can be used. Diane Schilder and Melissa Dahlin gave this presentation at the Fifth Annual Indistar® Summit, sponsored by the Center on Innovations in Learning, and hosted by the Arkansas State Department of Education and the South Central Comprehensive Center.

Results-Based Leadership
The CEELO Leadership Academy held their second meeting on February 4-5, 2015, with a day-long interactive session on Results-Based Leadership and a dialogue with state and national leaders on a change leadership framework. You can see the agenda and presentations from the Leadership Academy meetings; and check out what the Cohort 1 Fellows are reading on leadership here. The next application cycle for the Leadership Academy is underway.  To find out who is eligible and how to apply check here


Spotlight on the States

P-3 Alignment: Collaboration and Communication
As part of an ongoing series of interviews with leaders in early childhood education, CEELO spoke with Vincent CostanzaExecutive Director, Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge at the New Jersey Department of Education, about the process of developing guidelines for Preschool-to-Grade 3 program implementation and best practice in New Jersey. They will provide guidance to school districts, private providers, and local Head Start agencies on planning and implementing high-quality programs for children, with alignment through the early elementary grades, and with NJ Teaching and Learning Standards.

Can you briefly discuss the P-3 guidelines and the timeline for developing them in NJ?
Initially the Division of Early Childhood was very focused on the implementation of Abbott preschool—that was the charge of the office. We developed preschool guidelines, and they were fantastic and outlined best practices in the preschool world.

But around 2011 there was some discussion that there was nothing like the preschool guidelines for Kindergarten, so we developed them then. Ironically, the same discussion came up and people said we don’t have them for first to third grade either—and there were not great examples around the country. With the award of the Early Learning Challenge Grant, we leveraged the funds to develop first-to-third-grade guidelines.

Read more

New Resources

Annotated Resources on Dual Language Learners
A new annotated bibliography 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.

Incorporating Early Learning Strategies in the School Improvement Grants (SIG) Program
The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (
CEELO), along with the Center on School Turnaround, released case studies exploring how School Improvement Grant (SIG) winners were incorporating the early grades into their efforts.

Systems Framework for Part C and Section 619

Jana Martella and Lori Connors-Tadros of CEELO participated in the National Advisory Committee for he Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center) developing a framework to assist states in supporting implementation of practices leading to positive outcomes for children with disabilities.
Year 2 Evaluation Report for CEELO
CEELO had a successful second year, meeting all information requests and a range of technical assistance needs. If you're seeking Technical Assistance, visit our information 


Our Website Has Been Updated
Looking for resources on assessment, birth-through-third-grade approaches, child outcomes, data, systems, or workforce? CEELO produces a number of useful and timely publications across these areas and now you can view our publications by 
content area or publication type on the CEELO website. We’ve also expanded the selections available in the dropdown menus for our main pages, and added more material. We invite you to explore our website today.

Directory of State Early Learning Contacts
CEELO’S Directory of State Early Learning Contacts continues to be useful and relevant as a one-stop resource to connect state leaders in the birth-through-third-grade system. Recognizing that the information in the directory isn’t static, CEELO re-verifies and re-publishes the Directory each year to ensure the information is current. In December 2014, the contacts in each state received an e-mail requesting a review of their state information. Updates were compiled and changes were entered to create this latest iteration of the Directory. If you know of changes or corrections, please forward them to


Upcoming Event

CEELO Annual Roundtable
The 2015 Roundtable will take place in New Orleans, LA, June 3-5. Designed for state early childhood specialists and planned in collaboration with the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE) this year's meeting is themed Leading for Excellence: Building Key Competencies to Lead High Performing Early Learning Initiatives. Check the website frequently for updated agendas, speaker bio's, and preliminary resources.


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.