Investments, Partnerships, and Success!

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

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July 2018: In This Issue

From Acting Directors Ruth Ryder and Tammy Proctor

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

Acting Directors Ruth Ryder and Tammy Procter

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

This summer has been a busy one, and we've been grateful for the many chances to interact with you, our partners in the field. OSEP hosted the 2018 Project Directors' Conference earlier this month. It brought out nearly 900 of our grantees in the areas of special education and early intervention personnel development, educational technology, parent centers, technical assistance for states and educational institutions across the country, and more. Materials from the conference will be archived on the OSEP Meetings website soon. We also have our Improving Data, Improving Outcomes meeting coming up on Aug. 14–16 in Arlington, Virginia. We look forward to seeing many of our early childhood data managers, related staff, and other leaders in the field soon!

In this month's newsletter, you'll note that we have announced even more early learning funding opportunities and awards from both OSEP and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). We've also shared some impressive statistics from the recently released 2017 Preschool Development Grant (PDG) Progress Update.

Finally, we wanted to highlight a recent announcement regarding a joint initiative from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Earlier this month, the agencies released their fiscal year 2019 funding forecast for future grant opportunities under the PDG Birth through Five program (PDG B-5). PDG B-5 is designed to encourage collaboration and coordination among existing early childhood care and education programs in states, and provide them flexibility for implementing early childhood services.

Grantee Spotlight: Maine's Preschool Development Grant

Maine Department of Education logo with shooting star

The Maine Department of Education (MDOE) set out to achieve ambitious goals through its Preschool Development Grant (PDG). One of these goals is to improve and increase the number of high-quality early childhood programs across the state. Maine has made significant progress toward meeting this goal by working with 13 sub-grantees, its Head Start programs, an external evaluator, and many other partners at the state and local levels. MDOE has required its public preschool programs to use the recently enhanced and expanded Maine's Early Learning and Development Standards, and used PDG funds to provide training in the new standards for all teachers supported by the grant. 

Most importantly, children in many high-need communities are now attending full-day public preschool, where they receive high-quality curriculum, instruction, and comprehensive services. The professional development opportunities executed through Maine's PDG have supported high-quality instruction throughout Maine’s classrooms, and each of the 13 sub-grantees have committed to MDOE’s vision for high-quality preschool programs for children throughout the state. Read more about the PDG program in "Early Learning Updates From ED" below.

Open Funding Opportunities: The Latest From OSEP

ED logo SSRP

OSEP recently announced Associate Degree Preservice Program Improvement Grants to Support Personnel Working with Young Children with Disabilities, a grant opportunity that provides funds to four-year institutions of higher education to partner with community colleges to enhance and redesign their associate degree programs. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 13, 2018.


Early Learning Updates From ED: Preschool Development 2017 Progress Report

As it enters its fourth year, ED and HHS’ PDG program continues to expand high-quality preschool opportunities for 4-year-olds in 18 states across the U.S. The recently released 2017 Preschool Development Grants Progress Update highlights data from the 2016–17 school year, and indicates that over 14,000 additional children and 90 additional high-need communities benefited as compared with the previous year. These increases show significant progress and are just a piece of the total 49,000 children who have been served throughout 320 communities since the 2014 implementation of the program. 

ED and HHS logos


Resources for You: Preschool Data and Instruction, School Readiness

New! Infographics for School Readiness

The Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast (REL-SE), an IES initiative, is developing a suite of infographics for state-, district-, and school-level educators that display information on evidence-based research and school readiness resources. Two of the infographics have been released: 1) Preparing a School-Ready Child, which answers the question “What is school readiness?” and 2) The Ready School: Preparing a School-Ready Child, which focuses on evidence-based practices from schools that are ready to receive and support kindergarten students. The suite's remaining infographics will be released in the upcoming months, and will pertain to other key components of school readiness. These include the ready child, the ready family, and the ready community. 

infographic 1 school readiness definition - click for accessible pdf

State of Preschool Report: New Brief Provides Snapshot of 2017 Data

NIEER logo

In June, the National Institute for Early Education Research released this snapshot-style brief based on data from the State of Preschool 2017 state preschool yearbook. The brief highlights examples of state policies supporting comprehensive preschool services. Data used in the annual preschool yearbook come from a general survey funded by the National Center for Education Statistics. As readers will see in the brief, the most common comprehensive services provided in 2016 and 2017 included parent involvement activities, followed by home visits or parent conferences.

Preschool Workforce Development Talks for Enhanced Early Learning Outcomes


This June, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes partnered with the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE) to host Roundtable 2018. The event attracted about 140 state early education specialists and national early education experts. Breakout sessions created several cohorts among the participants that focused on preschool workforce development, early learning opportunities through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), improving instruction and transitions for children from birth through third grade, and equitably addressing the early learning needs of all children. Outcomes, presentations, and additional materials can be found on the event website.

Updates From the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations

Apply to be a Fellow Today!

The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) is pleased to announce a Pyramid Model fellowship for doctoral students and recent doctoral graduates (since 2013). Fellows accepted into the PMI Fellows program will receive mentorship from an NCPMI faculty member and, with their mentor's guidance, will create a professional development plan based on the fellow's goals. The fellowship can be conducted virtually, and will give fellows the chance to develop training materials and conduct trainings, collaborate on and summarize research, and develop policy materials. You can read more about and apply to the program on NCPMI's website. Applications are due by Aug. 15, 2018.

New Webinar From NCPMI

The Power of Practice Based Coaching in Supporting Early Educators’ Use of the Pyramid Model

Earlier this month, NCPMI hosted an introductory webinar on practice-based coaching (PBC). This webinar is the first in a series called Unpacking Coaching, and featured three panelists who discussed their experiences using PBC to support preschool classroom teachers in implementing Pyramid Model practices. It is now archived on the NCPMI website.

NCPMI logo

Research Corner: ED Invests in Partnerships Between Researchers and Practitioners

IES logo

IES recently awarded seven grants, totaling approximately $2.8 million, through its Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research program. The grants, two of which focus specifically on early learners, support efforts by researchers and practitioners to work together on studies of education problems or issues that state and local educational agencies have identified as priorities. The research is intended to bring about improvements in education policies, programs, and practices that will ultimately lead to better outcomes for students. The two early learning-focused grants and their partner institutions are:

Voices From the Field: Massachusetts' Comprehensive Systems for Partnerships and Early Learners

Roper and Wilder photo

This month, we interviewed Kate Roper and Eve Wilder from the Massachusetts Department of Health,  Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition's Early Childhood Services unit. Roper and Wilder shared details about their work with the Massachusetts Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) project, emphasizing the importance of building strong cross-agency partnerships and using parent leaders in the community to reach isolated families of young children. The goal of their ECCS project is to improve the developmental outcomes of infants and toddlers in two high-need communities. The full interview is available on the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) Blog.

Connect With Us Online!


Check out ED's Early Learning website for updates on all of ED's early learning activities, and to view the Early Learning newsletter archive. 

Twitter Logo Blue

OSERS is on Twitter with the latest tweets from special education and early intervention advocates, educators, families, and students. Be sure to follow @Ed_Sped_Rehab and tell your friends. OSERS Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett has joined the conversation, too! Follow him today @JCollettOSERS. We'll see you in the Twittersphere!