Better Hearing, Better Speech, and Communication for All!

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

Forwarded this email? Click here to subscribe

May 2018: In This Issue

From Acting Director Ruth Ryder: Welcome Tammy Proctor, Acting Director of the Office of Early Learning!

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

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

This month, we're celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)! As you will read below, there are quite a lot of activities and resources being shared across the field to support this year's BHSM theme, "Communication for All." We hope you can take a moment to view some of the webinars available on the Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative's websiteECHO is funded in part by our partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Also from ECHO, are words of wisdom from Director Will Eiserman. In an interview available on the OSERS Blog, Eiserman shares critical resources and information relevant to early childhood hearing screening and follow-up. Read more below in 'Voices From the Field'.

Additionally, I would like to mention a great event that I had the opportunity to participate in this month, alongside several of my colleagues. On May 8–10, the 2018 National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute was held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It was such a pleasure to engage with the passionate and innovative attendees at this annual conference. Check out the conference website for more information on the presentations, speakers, topics discussed, and more. 

Thanks, as always, for reading Early Learning and for the work you do!

photo of Tammy Proctor

Welcome, Tammy Proctor!

I'm excited to announce that Tammy Proctor has been named as the new acting director of the U.S Department of Education's (ED's) Office of Early Learning. Proctor is already deeply involved in ED's efforts to improve outcomes for young learners, and has been for many years! She now oversees the Department's Preschool Development Grants, Preschool Pay for Success, and Early Learning Challenge grant programs. Her experience in early childhood education spans over 25 years and includes work at the state, local, and federal government levelswow! I very much look forward to working with her as she takes on this new role.

Grantee Spotlight: Virginia's Preschool Development and Expansion

Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus logo

Through ED and HHS' Preschool Development Grant (PDG) program, Virginia was awarded an expansion grant to fund Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus (VPI+). Using their PDG funds, the initiative has set out to serve over 13,000 at-risk four-year-olds in high-quality classroomsnewly created or improved as part of VPI+over the course of four years. VPI+ is an extension of the existing Virginia Preschool Initiative, and through its expansion, strives to become a national exemplar by adopting best practices to improve program quality, access, and impact in high-needs communities. VPI+ is working to increase preschool enrollment across the state and to develop a statewide infrastructure of supports that focuses on curriculum, professional development, and assessment. Thirteen school divisions were selected to participate in the VPI+ program across Virginia. You can read about the state's latest successes on the VPI+ website.

Funding Opportunity: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Grants


HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is currently accepting applications for the fiscal year 2018 Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Grant Program. Agencies or organizations who are eligible to apply must serve children from birth to not more than 12 years of age, who are at risk for, show early signs of, or have been diagnosed with a mental illness, including a serious emotional disturbance. The purpose of this program is to improve outcomes for these children by developing, maintaining, and enhancing services for infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment. 

Early Learning Updates From ED: BHSM and Birth-to-5 Resources


May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)!

Better Hearing and Speech Month 2018 logo

This month, we celebrated BHSM by participating in and sharing various events and related resources from our partners in the field, including the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA has compiled a comprehensive website honoring the month, and joined forces with the HHS Office of Head Start's Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative to host the Coffee Break Webinars series. As you will see on its website, ECHO is part of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM).

The webinar series shared ways to raise awareness about the importance of frequent hearing screenings, language development, and family engagement, and featured speakers who are involved in various projects that receive funding from ED and HHS.


Resources Added to ED's Early Learning Site!

We've recently added resources to our Early Learning website from the Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive initiative.These resources are geared toward states, communities, and families interested in promoting early developmental and behavioral screenings. 

Birth to Age 5 Initiative photo - young girl

Resources for You: New Resources From OSEP's Early Childhood Social-Emotional-Behavioral Center

NCPMI logo

Newly funded by OSEP, the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) has set out to improve and support the capacity of state systems and local programs to implement an early childhood multi-tiered system of support to improve the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children with, and at risk for, developmental disabilities or delays. The recently redesigned NCPMI website houses an abundance of Pyramid Model resources, all in one central location. This phase of the website redesign includes the following additions:

  • A searchable resource library for fact sheets, issue briefs, webinars, and more.
  • Opportunities to share your examples of program-wide and statewide implementation. Upload to the Community Contributions and Pyramid States pages and take part in the Pyramid Nation community!
  • Links to the #PyramidModel social media conversation: We've compiled a social media stream across many platforms—check it out!

Featured Webinars: Discussing Key Early Education Issues


The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) recently hosted the following webinars on early education policy. They are now archived online.

April 26: Early Learning Opportunities in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This webinar provides an overview of the early learning opportunities in ESSA. Follow these links to view the webinar recording, slide deck, and a related policy brief, The State of Early Learning in ESSA: Plans and Opportunities for Implementation.

May 8: High-Quality Instruction—Birth Through Third Grade. Panelists featured in this webinar discuss what constitutes high-quality instruction in the early grades. Topics covered include rigor in the context of play-based learning; state agency support for district leaders and schools seeking to optimize curricula and environments in pre-K to third grade; and ways district personnel and teachers can implement high-quality curricula in pre-K through third grade. Now available are the webinar recording and slide deck.

    Dose of Data: Latest Civil Rights Data Now Available!

    CRDC logo

    ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently released the 2015–16 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). This collection, published biennially by OCR, includes data that are self-reported by 17,300 public school districts and 96,400 public schools and educational programs. Note that data is available from public preschool programs that are run by local school districts. More information about what kind of data are included can be found here. ED has also released two topic-specific data briefs based on the 2015–16 school year's CRDC: STEM Course Taking and School Climate and Safety.

      Voices From the Field: Will Eiserman, Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO)

      Will Eiserman photo

      This month, in honor of BHSM, we interviewed Will Eiserman. Eiserman is the director of the federally funded ECHO Initiative. In the interview, Eiserman shares key takeaways from his ECHO work, including the importance of conducting regular hearing screenings on young children. He also highlights resources available for communities and programs to expand hearing screenings. Check out the full interview on the OSERS Blog.