Wrapping Up 2017: Early Learning Grants Reports and Resources Aplenty!

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

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December 2017: In This Issue

From Acting Directors Sylvia Lyles and Ruth Ryder

Office of Early Learning (OEL) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

Ruth Ryder and Sylvia Lyles

Hello Early Learning Leaders!

Happy holidays from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). This month, we're excited to share with you a wealth of resources and reports related to improving results and outcomes for infants, toddlers, and young children across the country. 

We have also included below an interview with ED's 2017–18 teacher ambassador fellow, Melody Arabo. In the interview, available on the OSERS Blog, Arabo shares her perspective on how to elevate and fully utilize the voices of our nation's educators. We hope you enjoy!

Grantee Spotlight: New Indicators for Improving Data-based Decision Making in Early Childhood

IGDIs for infants and toddlers logo - text with ball

Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs) for infants and toddlers are measures designed by researchers at the University of Kansas to monitor progress and individualize services for children from birth to age 3. Infant and toddler programs use IGDIs to

  • assess child outcomes using six-minute, standardized, play-based assessments;
  • get a snapshot of a child’s progress on key outcomes;
  • make data-based decisions about intervention and services;
  • share child progress with parents and other providers; and
  • provide reports to stakeholders about program impact.

Through OSEP’s Stepping-Up Technology Implementation grant program, the university's IGDIs team is developing web-based tools and procedures that support infant and toddler service providers to implement progress monitoring and data-based decision-making practices. The tools include a new online data system; a mobile app for live scoring and immediate data sharing and decision making; and other resources that support fidelity and sustainability of IGDIs implementation among early childhood programs and service providers.  

Early Learning Updates From ED: Available Now! 2016 Preschool Development Grant Performance and Progress Update Reports


The Department's Office of Early Learning is excited to announce that through the Preschool Development Grants (PDG) program, states have increased access to high-quality preschool programs to over 34,000 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. This outcome is among many exciting and impactful data captured in the recently released 2016 PDG Progress Update. The report summarizes trends that emerge in the program's 2016 Annual Performance Reports.   


Resources for You: Early Learning Challenge Summary Report Plus STEM and Data Systems Webinars

ELC Summary Report Key Elements as puzzle pieces

NEW! Early Learning Challenge Grant Summary Report

Earlier this month, the Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance program (ELCTA) released Taking on the Challenge: Building a Strong Foundation for Early Learning. This report summarizes the progress of Early Learning Challenge (ELC) program grantees across the entire duration of the program, including each of the three phases of grantees. It covers the major focus areas of ELC, which are 1) coordinated state systems; 2) Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS); 3) supporting the early childhood workforce; 4) enhancing data systems; 5) family engagement; 6) strengthening local and community initiatives; and 7) measuring progress, including through developmental screenings and kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs). Alongside the report, ELCTA also released the following: 

NEW! Free STEM Resources From PDG TA

The Preschool Development and Expansion Grant Technical Assistance (PDG TA) program recently released a free new series of webinars and accompanying materials. This series, STEM in Early Learning, includes 11 modules that feature 1) webinar presentations from national experts; 2) suggested research readings; and 3) practical application activities. The series was designed to enhance early learning professionals’ confidence in supporting young children’s higher-order thinking and learning related to science, technology, engineering, and math.  

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FEATURED WEBINAR: Fostering a Culture of Data Sharing and Use

SLDS grant program logo - steps and figures ascending

The State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grant program's State Support Team has developed a webinar that focuses on the importance of establishing a strong culture of data sharing and use among state data teams. This webinar is intended to help SLDS grantees and other state data teams impact changes in their states and agencies over time. The webinar demonstrates that stakeholders who know how to use data in decision-making, and who understand the value of data, can help resolve issues others may have related to leadership change, sustainability, and expanding data sharing. The webinar features representatives from Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, who discuss vital components of their states' data cultures and how they plan to continue fostering a culture of data sharing and use.

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Recommended Research: New Report on Literacy Intervention for Beginning Readers

IES What Works Clearinghouse logo

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) recently reviewed the body of research on Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) and its impacts on the reading achievement of readers in grades K–3. The results are summarized in a new intervention report released by WWC.

LLI is a short-term, small-group literacy intervention designed to help struggling readers achieve grade-level competency. The intervention provides explicit instruction in phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, oral language skills, and writing. The new report shows that LLI has 1) positive impacts on general reading achievement; 2) potentially positive impacts on reading fluency; and 3) no discernible effects on alphabetics

We invite you to view other WWC reports on their website, and for the latest news in "what works" in education, follow WWC on Twitter and Facebook.

Voices From the Field: Melody Arabo, ED Teaching Ambassador Fellow and Michigan's 2015 Teacher of the Year

Melody Arabo


This month we had the opportunity to interview Melody Arabo, ED's 2017–18 teaching ambassador fellow, about her experiences bringing the teacher voice into education policy decision-making. Check out the full interview on the OSERS Blog and more info about ED’s School Ambassador Fellowship program here.

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