ED's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) awarded a grant to a national center to focus on improving literacy skills of students at risk of not attaining full literacy skills due to a disability, including dyslexia (University of Oregon, $1.5 million grant). The center will assist states, local education agencies, schools, and instructional personnel in identifying students and using evidence-based interventions and assessments to improve students' literacy skills. The center will focus on children in early childhood education programs through high school will also provide information to families and collaborate with parent training and information and community parent resource centers funded by the Department.
CELEBRATE Happy Birthday PL 99-457!
October 3–7, OSEP celebrated 30 years of early intervention services and preschool special education under IDEA. Visit the 30th Anniversary Webpage to review a week of activities highlighting the impact of early childhood provisions in IDEA. We shared our own stories, and those of parents, practitioners, researchers, and even individuals who received early intervention and preschool special education services as a result of this law. Don't forget to connect with us on social media using the hashtag #babyIDEAis30!
ED & HHS Release Joint Policy Statement on State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care
The Departments of Education and of Health and Human Services have jointly released a policy statement providing guidance on how to sustain the critical work of the State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care (SACs). The (SACs) have been a major focus of President Obama's early learning agenda. First authorized in the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, the governor of the state was required to establish a SAC to ensure broad statewide coordination and collaboration among the wide range of early childhood programs and services in the state, including child care, Head Start, early intervention programs, and state preschool.
The Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) has created a new Web site dedicated to early STEM education that summarizes its activities and provides convenient access to the tip sheets, archived webinars, lists of STEM commitments, and many other materials.
WATCH Webinar: Preparing a High-Quality Workforce to Support Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs—Sept. 7, 2016 | 2:00–3:00 ET
The early childhood workforce plays a critical role in successfully including children with disabilities in early childhood programs. However, as noted in the Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs released by the Departments of Education and of Health and Human Services, there is large variability in the training, education, and expertise of the early childhood workforce to effectively support inclusion. Presenters will discuss current issues related to workforce development and highlight training programs at University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
- Mary Beth Bruder
Professor of Pediatrics and Director, A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Research, Education, and Service at the University of Connecticut
- Jennifer Johnson
Deputy Director, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD)
- Linda Labas
Early Childhood Coordinator, Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine
- Sandra Morris
Director, Child Care plus+: The Center on Inclusion in Early Childhood at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, University of Montana
This year, I sent my youngest child to preschool. Over the summer, we had the luxury of hours of cuddle time, reading books together, jumping on the trampoline and building endless Lego and wood block structures. But now, it's time for him to start his preschool journey—and I'm feeling a little hesitant about a few things. —Thea Fabian
Read her ED Homeroom Blog post.
The U.S. Department of Education announced the availability of $2.8 million for a Preschool Pay for Success (PFS) Feasibility Pilot grant competition for state, local and tribal governments interested in exploring the feasibility of PFS to expand and improve preschool. The feasibility studies will determine if PFS is a viable and appropriate strategy to implement preschool programs that are high-quality and yield meaningful results, identify a broad range of potential outcome measures, and establish safeguards to protect the rights of children with disabilities. For more information, read a Fact Sheet, visit the Preschool Pay For Success (PFS) Feasibility Pilot Web page, and read an ED Blog post.
There are be two technical assistance webinars for potential applicants:
Preschool Pay For Success Feasibility Pilot Technical Assistance for Eligible Applicants:
- Audio Call-in:
Participant code: 2775657
- Audio Call-in:
Participant code: 2775657
Pyramid Equity Project: Addressing Suspension and Expulsion in Early Learning Settings
Using Preschool Development National Activities funds, the U.S. Departments of Education and of Health and Human Services are investing $1 million in the Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to implement the Pyramid Equity Project in collaboration with the University of South Florida and the University of Colorado Denver. They will partner with Preschool Development Grantees, Clifton Early Learner Academy in Clifton, N.J., and Cambridge Early Learning Center in Antioch, Tenn., to establish national models for addressing issues of implicit bias, and uneven implementation of discipline, including expulsions and suspensions, in early learning programs. The project builds on the Pyramid Model for Promoting the Social Emotional Competence of Infants and Young Children, which is a framework of evidence-based early childhood teaching practices to promote social-emotional development, prevent challenging behavior, and provide all children with individualized supports. Visit OSERS blog for a view from the field on Preschool Suspension.
REPORT Case Studies of the Early Implementation of Kindergarten Entry Assessments
States increasingly are incorporating Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEAs) into their comprehensive assessment systems with the goal of helping educators identify gaps in children's competencies, target instruction to children's individual needs, engage parents to better support their child's learning, and identify needs for expanding and improving early learning opportunities. This report presents findings from a descriptive study that examined the development and early implementation of KEAs in 12 districts across four Race To the Top-Early Learning Challenge grantee states (Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington) in the 2014–15 school year.
Early Learning Challenge Tour
On August 1, 2016, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. began a two-day tour in Colorado and Delaware to highlight the work both states are doing to improve access to high-quality early learning. Learn more about the Early Learning Tour online at #TeachTheBabies.
New Early Learning Resources:
2015 Progress Update and 20 State Annual Performance Reports Show States Rapidly Improving Early Learning Program Quality
The U.S. Departments of Education and of Health and Human Services released the 2015 Progress Update and 20 State Annual Performance Reports that shows Early Learning Challenge states are rapidly improving the quality of early learning programs while enrolling more children, especially from low- and moderate income families, in the highest-quality programs.
New Literature Review—Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction—to Help Children Maintain the Benefits of Preschool Attendance
The U.S. Departments of Education and of Health and Human Services released a new literature review, Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction that presents the results of a literature review on two strategies (preschool through third grade [P–3] alignment and differentiated instruction) that have the potential to help children maintain the benefits of preschool attendance.
Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction (PDF, 1.5MB)
Results In Brief: Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction: A Literature Review (PDF, 410KB)
ED/HHS Release Joint Letter Supporting Family Engagement in Early Learning
Education Secretary John B. King and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell released a joint letter supporting the Departments' joint Policy Statement on Family Engagement. Through the policy statement, the Departments' aim to support and encourage states, districts, schools, and public and private early childhood programs, including child care and Head Start, to take action to develop and implement effective family engagement policies and practices.
ED/HHS Joint Letter (PDF, 203KB)
REPORT Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0–8
Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8 reviews research on parenting practices and identifies effective practices. The report also recommends ways agencies and others can support interventions that help more parents learn about effective parenting practices. The report is sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Education, and Health and Human Services, and also a consortia of philanthropy organizations.
WATCH "What It Takes to Be a Preschool Teacher"
To the untrained eye, the job of a preschool teacher might look a lot like playing with kids. But there's so much more to it. See for yourself on this new video.
Kindergarten teacher Cody Summerville relates on ED's Homepage Blog why he is passionate that access to high-quality pre-K should not be a luxury afforded to some, but an invaluable resource offered to all.
White House Announces New Joint ED-HHS Report on Importance of Supporting Early Learning Workforce
The White House, as part of the United States of Women event, announced a new joint report from the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), and Health and Human Services (HHS) highlighting the importance of supporting the early learning workforce—nearly a totality of whom are women—not only to improve the quality of early learning programs, but also to ensure fair pay so that they can support their own families. The report, High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce—Low Compensation Undermines Quality, summarizes the research base and includes recommendations for reaching pay parity across all early learning settings.
ED-HHS Release Joint Statement on Dual Language Learners in Early Childhood Programs
The White House announced a new joint policy statement supporting early childhood programs and states by providing recommendations promoting the development and learning of young children, birth to age five, who are dual language learners (DLLs). This statement also supports tribal communities' language revitalization efforts within tribal early childhood programs. Also, read ED's Fact Sheet: Supporting Dual Language Learners in Early Learning Settings.
WATCH Webinar Series: Assistive Technology to Support Infants, Toddlers, and Young Children with Disabilities and their Families
Watch our Coffee Break Webinar series that give providers and families tips on effective hearing screening and common examples of assistive technology that help young children with important skills so that they can meaningfully participate in everyday activities. This series was a collaboration between ED's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the HHS Offices of Head Start (OHS) and Child Care in partnership with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in celebration of the 2016 May is Better Hearing and Speech Month.
ED-HHS Release Joint Policy Statement on Family Engagement: From the Early Years to the Early Grades
The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) highlight the importance of family engagement by releasing a joint policy statement on the implementation of effective family engagement practices from the early years to the early grades.
Support for Early Learning in the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget
The President's budget request expands access to high-quality early learning while investing in innovation and evaluation to promote the implementation of evidence-based practices for our youngest learners and improve educational outcomes in the early grades. The budget:
Supports voluntary, universal preschool.
The mandatory Preschool for All initiative would invest $75 billion over 10 years in a federal-state partnership aimed at providing all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families with access to high-quality preschool, while encouraging states to expand those programs to reach additional children from middle-class families and establish full-day kindergarten policies.
Builds on the success of the Preschool Development Grants program to help jumpstart Preschool for All.
Consistent with the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the budget provides $350 million for Preschool Development Grants in the Department of Health and Human Services request to support the fourth and final year of funding for the 18 current grantees as well as new activities intended to better coordinate and expand early learning services for children and families.
Supports special education services to children ages 3 through 5.
The request provides an increase of $35 million over the fiscal year 2016 level for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, Section 619 Preschool Grants, as well as additional flexibility for schools and districts to provide coordinated early intervention services for preschool-age children.
Provides additional funds for early intervention services for infants and toddlers.
The request for IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families is an increase of $45 million over the 2016 level and would allow the Department to reserve $15 million to make new competitive grants to public-private partnerships to support community-based model demonstration projects that increase screening and delivery of evidence-based services.
HHS Launches New Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)'s Administration on Children and Families (ACF) has funded a new cross-sector Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) System.
The Department of Education's Office of Early Learning hosted a webinar: "Early Childhood Inclusion: Implementation of the State Recommendations." The webinar included representatives from Maryland, Vermont and Massachusetts who discused the implementation of high-quality inclusion programs in their states and how they are supporting local programs.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM).
ED's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and HHS's Office of Head Start (OHS) are partnering to join the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in celebrating this year's theme: "Communication Takes are." Join us for the BHSM Coffee Break Webinar series May 16-20, 2016 to learn more about the use of assistive technology to support young children with disabilities and their families.
Early engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is critical for our youngest learners because opportunity gaps in STEM can begin prior to preschool—and they can continue grow as students progress through school. ED would like to initiate a discussion with the early learning and STEM communities on how best to engage and support parents, caregivers, educators, researchers and developers on how to eliminate opportunity gaps in early childhood STEM education, especially by leveraging education technologies. This conversation will inform federal policy decisions in the coming months.
Watch the Feb. 18th National Inclusion Webinar
Preschool Inclusion: What's the Evidence, What Gets in the Way, and What do High-Quality Programs Look Like?
Phil Strain from the University of Colorado, Denver, shared an overview of the research supporting early childhood inclusion.
IES Launches Research Network to Improve Early Childhood Education
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is launching a new research network that will develop reliable information and useful tools to improve early childhood education across the country. Nearly $26 million in grants have been awarded for the creation of the Early Learning Network, which will conduct its work over the next five years. The main focus of the network is to identify malleable factors associated with children's school readiness and achievement as they move from preschool to the early elementary school grades.
"How do we make sure that kids with disabilities get the same kinds of opportunities that kids without disabilities get? The opportunity to learn and develop and thrive alongside their peers in the general curriculum gives them the best foot forward in life."
Read an article about OSERS Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin's visit to the Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School in Houston, Tex., where he met with teachers, administrators and, of course, students to discuss the importance of early learning, particularly those with high needs.
Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs—Watch the Webinar Series Kickoff
The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services hosted a February 11th Google Hangout for a discussion about inclusion in early childhood programs and why it matters to states, early childhood programs, families, and young children with and without disabilities. Speakers included leadership from federal early childhood programs, a local program director, and the parent of a child with a disability.