Keys to Success: Speech, Language, Hearing, and Improving Partnerships Across Systems and Communities

The U.S. Department of Education's Early Learning Newsletter

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May 2017: In This Issue


From Deputy Assistant Secretary Monique M. Chism, Ph.D., and Acting Assistant Secretary Ruth Ryder

Elementary and Secondary Education | Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Hello Early Learning Leaders!

It is officially Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)! This May we are taking the time to recognize and raise awareness about the importance of hearing, speech, and language development in young learners. The Department works to support initiatives and fund projects that develop resources for promoting effective communication skills for learners of all ages. Strategies that promote these skillsfor example: regular hearing screenings; emphasizing language and literacy through daily activities; and intervening early when communication disorders are identifiedare critical to later academic success. Emerging technologies in this field make up an exciting frontier of possibilities for the individuals our work supports, particularly the youngest among them.

In this month's newsletter, we are pleased to share BHSM resources. We have also shared an interview with Deborah Dixon from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Dixon emphasizes the importance of family involvement and collaborative partnerships in successfully promoting communication skills and delivering services to children with communication disorders.

In closing, we'd like to stress Deborah Dixon's nod to the importance of partnerships across systems and among practitioners and families. This collaborative and community-focused perspective for developing services is key to improving the lives of individuals of all ages and abilities.

Thank you for reading!


Grantee Spotlight: Louisiana Provides High-Quality Early Learning With Transparent Rating System

Quality Start Louisiana logo

Through its Preschool Development and Expansion Grant (PDG) Louisiana has been able to leverage previous efforts within the state to deliver high-quality early learning to more of the state's young learners. One piece of this work has been to develop an early childhood quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). Louisiana's QRIS, Quality Start, has established performance profiles for its publicly funded early learning programs. These profiles are intended to support and provide critical information to families when selecting the most appropriate early learning settings for their children. The performance profiles measure important quality inputs, including (1) the use of ongoing assessment and a high-quality curriculum, (2) the education and certifications of teachers, and (3) program investment in high levels of individual attention for children.

Additionally, in an effort to address fragmented early care and education programs, the Louisiana Department of Education has piloted local early childhood networks that connect child care, Head Start, publicly funded private preschool, and public school pre-K programs. These networks are unified by (1) early learning and development standards, (2) established expectations for adult-child interactions, and (3) enrollment that is easily accessible for families. Building off of the QRIS performance profiles, and using the community networks established by the pilot as a model for expansion, Louisiana is now leveraging PDG funds to increase high-quality early learning opportunities across the state, particularly in high-needs communities.  

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Early Learning Updates From ED

May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Better Hearing and Speech Month 2017 logo

The Department has partnered with several organizations to bring you exciting BHSM learning opportunities throughout the month. Our partners include:  

Check out the archived Coffee Break webinar series on ECHO's website. The series addresses (1) the use of assistive technology to support children and students with disabilities, (2) Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and (3) identifying and supporting children with hearing loss.

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Funding Opportunities

Check out these notices inviting applications that support high-quality early learning!

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number 84.327S.

Applications became available on April 21, 2017. The deadline for transmittal of applications is June 5, 2017.

CFDA number 84.326P.

Applications became available on April 19, 2017. The deadline for transmittal of applications is June 5, 2017.

CFDA Number 84.325B.

Applications became available on April 19, 2017. The deadline for transmittal of applications is June 5, 2017.


Resources for You: ESSA Implementation and Managing Funding Streams to Support Early Learning Programs

Some of this month's most recommended resources!

CEELO center logo

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes and New America have partnered to present a new blog series, Early Ed in ESSA: Helping Every Child Succeed. The series will highlight early learning opportunities and challenges under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The blogs will be authored by early childhood education scholars and researchers exploring key issues raised by ESSA and its implementation. The following posts have been released as part of the series:


PDG TA logo

PDG Technical Assistance (PDG TA) Program Report on Funding Streams

PDG TA, a program that is jointly funded by ED and HHS, has published Braiding, Blending, and Layering Funding Sources to Increase Access to Quality Preschool.

This report examines the strategies of combining in different ways varying funding streams to provide more comprehensive, inclusive early learning programs for young children and their families. The report also includes interviews with administrators of PDG-supported school districts, and Head Start and child care programs, which provide a window onto how administrators are making the presented strategies work in their local programs.

ECTA center logo

Webinar of the Month!

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center and the National Center on Early Development, Teaching, and Learning are partnering to host "Partnerships for Inclusion: Supports that Ensure High Quality Inclusion" on May 30, 2017, 3–4 p.m. ET. This webinar will be the third in a series focusing on questions that frequently arise when local early childhood programs collaborate to increase opportunities for high-quality inclusion.


Recommended Research: Young Children After Homelessness

HHS' Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE) has published Well-being of Young Children after Experiencing Homelessness, a brief that examines the well-being of young children 20 months after staying in emergency homeless shelters with their families.

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation logo

Using data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Options Study, the brief explores how homelessness affects young children in the areas of (1) pre-reading skills, (2) pre-math skills, (3) developmental delays, and (4) behavior challenges.

It draws comparisons between children who experienced homelessness and national norms for children of the same age. Finally, the brief examines housing instability, child care instability, enrollment in center-based care and Head Start, and associations between housing and child-care stability, and child well-being.

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Voices From the Field: Deborah Dixon, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Deborah Dixon photo

In support of BHSM 2017, we are pleased to feature an interview with Deborah Dixon, now available on the OSERS Blog. Dixon leads ASHA’s school services team to provide resources, TA, and contemporary information to school-based speech-language pathologists (SLP). In her interview, Dixon emphasizes the importance of parent and family involvement in delivering services to young children with communication disorders. She also stresses that services are stronger when SLPs, teachers, and other providers work together to support children.

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