New Resources on Linking Data, Building Capacity, and Improving Quality in Early Learning

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

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June 2017: In This Issue


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

Office of Elementary and Secondary Education | Office of Special Education Programs

Hello Early Learning Leaders!

We have a lot going on here at the Department, including the appointments of a new acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, and a new acting assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services. Welcome to Jason Botel and Kimberly Richey, respectively! We look forward to continuing our great work for the nation's youngest learners under their leadership.

Another exciting event we'd like to bring to your attention is the launch of the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website, which OSEP shared with the public on June 1. The new design, improved features, and expanded content were shaped by the extensive feedback we received from the field. Please explore the site and share your comments on our blog so that we may continue to improve user experience. Your perspective as a member of the early learning community is critical in helping us to best identify and serve young children with disabilities. More information on the site is available below.

Finally, please be sure to take note of the information shared in this newsletter's "Recommended Research" section regarding the National Institute for Early Education Research's (NIEER) 2016 preschool yearbook. This report revealed that in the 201516 school year, state-funded preschool enrollment nationwide reached an all-time high, serving nearly 1.5 million children! We've highlighted some additional takeaways from the publication below.


Grantee Spotlight: Oregon QRIS Validation Study

Oregon QRIS logo 2

As part of its Early Learning Challenge grant program, the state of Oregon partnered with researchers from Oregon State University and Portland State University to conduct the first validation study of Oregon’s Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS). The study sought to (1) examine how well the rating system differentiates outcomes and (2) identify revisions to the system that could enhance the validity of its ratings. Findings from the study include the following:

  • Overall, QRIS ratings are modestly to moderately linked with the observed quality of adult-child interactions.
  • On average, small home-based programs provided similar quality adult-child interactions as other types of programs, yet their QRIS ratings were lower.
  • The observed quality across classrooms and groups within programs varied a great deal.
  • Personnel qualifications and training are associated with both Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) scores and QRIS final star ratings.

Oregon is currently in the process of revising its QRIS system. The state is also conducting a second QRIS study focused on child and family engagement. The study is expected to be completed in December 2017. 


Early Learning Updates From ED: New IDEA Website Is Live!

IDEA website image_children with disabilities

We're excited to announce that OSEP has released the brand new IDEA website! New and improved features include

  • a clean, modern, and intuitive design;
  • search capabilities improved from previous iterations of the site, including the ability to search among OSEP policy documents, letters, and memos in addition to the IDEA statute and regulations;
  • expanded content targeted toward our key stakeholder groups; and 
  • enhanced accessibility features, including language assistance supports.

Information on the IDEA early childhood programs and resources is now much easier to search for and locate when using the new site. Be sure to view the announcement of the site's release, explore the site's new resources and visit the OSERS Blog to provide input. Stay tuned for upcoming learning opportunities on the content and functionality of the site! 

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Funding Opportunities: For Research and Technical Assistance

Check out these opportunities, published in the Federal Register, that support high-quality early learning.

  • Request for Applications (RFA) for research projects that address the National Center for Education Research’s Early Learning Programs and Policies topic. Applications are due August 17, 2017.


Resources for You: Building Capacity and Using Data

Some of this month's most recommended resources!

CEELO center logo

Earlier this month the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) partnered with the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE) to host its 2017 roundtable, Leading for Change in Early Childhood Education, in San Francisco, California.  

The meeting was designed to build the capacity of state agency leaders and early childhood specialists to support effective, high-performing statewide systems for children from birth through third grade. Meeting activities focused on enhancing

  • effectiveness in engaging diverse partners and perspectives to drive system change;
  • utilization of results-focused leadership and planning to achieve policy goals;
  • integration of implementation science to support program expansion and policy goals; and
  • knowledge of barriers, tools, and strategies to address racial, economic, and cultural diversity and equity.
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 DaSy Center Presents: Linking Early Childhood Data 

The OSEP-funded Center for Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) released the "Linking Data Between Part C and Part B 619" special collection of resources related to linking data across IDEA programs. More specifically, the collection was developed for those interested in linking data between IDEA Part C early intervention and IDEA Part B 619 preschool programs. However, other early childhood programs may find the resources helpful. The collection includes resources from DaSy, the Center for the Integration of IDEA Data (CIID), Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), the Privacy Technical Assistance Center, and various U.S. Department of Education initiatives. Webinars, infographics, blogs, and many other types of resources are included.


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Webinar of the Month!

Register now for Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures, a live webinar to be hosted by the Preschool Development and Expansion Grant Technical Assistance Program (PDG TA) on June 27, 2017, 3–4 p.m. EDT. This webinar will focus on the report with the same name, recently published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  

The report (1) provides evidence from research on language acquisition and learning English from early childhood through high school, (2) identifies effective practices for educators to use, and (3) recommends steps policy makers can take to support high-quality educational outcomes for children and youths who are learning English. In the upcoming webinar, Dr. Linda Espinosa, a member of the committee that wrote the report, will discuss the report’s findings and policy recommendations, especially as they pertain to young dual language learners. 


Recommended Research: The State of Preschool 2016

NIEER has published The State of Preschool 2016. This annual yearbook presents data on state-funded preschool during the 201516 school year. It also documents more than a decade of change in state preschool since the publication of the first yearbook, which collected data on the 200102 school year. The 2016 yearbook profiles state-funded preschool programs in 43 states, plus Guam and the District of Columbia. It also provides narrative information on early education efforts in states and the U.S. territories that do not provide state-funded preschool.

The 2016 yearbook explains that nationwide, state-funded preschool programs served nearly 1.5 million children, which is 32 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. State funding for preschool rose 8 percent from the previous school year to about $7.4 billion, a $564 million increase. State funding per child increased to $4,976 during the same period, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time. The primary data source for this report is the 2016 State of Preschool Survey conducted by NIEER,and funded by the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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Voices From the Field: Jack McCarthy, Apple Tree Institute for Education Innovation

Jack MCarthy

Jack McCarthy, president and CEO of Apple Tree Institute for Education Innovation, leads his organization’s efforts to improve access to high-quality early learning programs for the District of Columbia’s preschoolers, including those in charter schools. In an interview available on the OSERS Blog, McCarthy shares with us details about Apple Tree’s Every Child Ready early learning instructional model. It provides guidelines for what to teach, how to teach, and how to determine if children are learning in these settings.

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