Early Learning Newsletter | May 2019 | Preparing New Personnel and Resources to Support Early Childhood Programs and Systems


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

Preparing New Personnel and Resources to Support Early Childhood Programs and Systems

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May 2019

In This Issue:

From the Directors

Directors Laurie VanderPloeg and Annie Hsiao

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

May has been a busy month! Laurie had the opportunity to participate, alongside colleagues from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in the 2019 National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It was 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. 

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. In honor of this, our Voices in the Field interview, with Theresa Jones, highlights her important work in preparing new speech-language pathologists to work with young children and their families.  Speaking of preparing personnel to work with children with disabilities, ED recently announced two new funding opportunities. These grants are to prepare personnel at the doctoral, master’s, educational specialist, or clinical doctoral degree levels.  Information on the grant programs is below.

We’ve also spotlighted other new resources that states and local programs can use to enhance their early childhood programs and services such as indicators of inclusion, information on state quality rating, improvement systems, and infant safe sleep. 

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

Laurie VanderPloeg
Director, Office of Special Education Programs

Annie Hsiao
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education


Project Spotlight

Center for Parent Information & Resources (CPIR) logo

Center for Parent Information & Resources

The Center for Parent Information & Resources (CPIR) is an OSEP-funded parent technical assistance center at the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network in New Jersey. The project supports technical assistance to the OSEP-funded parent training and information centers and community parent resource centers (parent centers) at locations throughout the nation found here. The parent centers support parents of children with disabilities in improving outcomes for their children. CPIR serves as a hub for a wealth of information and resources that the parent centers can use when working directly with families in their areas. In addition, CPIR’s website provides plain-language resources that families can access directly to learn more about the nature of their children’s disabilities, how early intervention and special education services are provided, and how to work with professionals as the families advocate for their children. CPIR’s goal is to increase the capacity of parent centers and other professionals to support families effectively.


Early Learning Updates from ED

Institute of Education Sciences (IES) logo

New Information on States' Quality-Rating Systems for Early Learning Programs

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently released three new evaluation publications that describe states' progress in implementing rating systems to document and improve early learning program quality. The evaluation, reported in the three publications, is based on interviews with state administrators, administrative data on early learning programs and ratings, and validation studies from nine states.

Institute of Education Sciences (IES) logo

National Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Comments, Please!

ED’s IES has announced its proposal to collect information to determine how states, districts, and schools are identifying and supporting children and youth with disabilities. The study is one component of a congressionally mandated National Assessment Implementation Study of IDEA.

The purpose of the data collection is to develop an up-to-date national picture of how states, districts, and schools are implementing Parts C and B of the IDEA in order to provide ED, Congress, and other stakeholders with knowledge that can inform the next reauthorization of IDEA and, ultimately, how services are provided to children.

As part of the study, the study team will administer surveys that focus on the Part C program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and the Part B, section 619 program for preschool age children with disabilities. It will also include surveys on the transition process between Parts C and B.

The comment period ends June 14.


Resources for You

This Month's Recommended Resources

ECTA and NCPMI logos

Indicators of High-Quality Inclusion

The ED-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) and the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations are coleading the National Early Childhood Inclusion Indicators Initiative with partners from across early care and education. The indicators will support state and local program leaders who are examining and implementing strategies to provide more high-quality inclusive options in their communities. The goal of the initiative is to improve and increase inclusive opportunities for young children with disabilities and their families, through system and practice refinements.

In collaboration with partners from across early care and education, the centers have developed State Indicators of High-Quality Inclusion. The indicators address key infrastructure elements across state agencies in an early care and education system. They are designed to help leaders evaluate and enhance their support to local programs in their service delivery systems.

Head Start logo

Head Start Program Fact Sheets: Explore Program Year Statistics

In 2018, HHS’s Head Start program was funded to serve nearly 1 million young children and pregnant women in centers, family homes, and in family child care homes in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout the nation. Learn about the services Head Start programs have provided to children and families throughout the program year; information about child, family, and staff demographics, as well as program characteristics, is included.

Children’s Safety Network (CSN) logo

Infant Safe Sleep:  Reducing Sleep-Related Infant Death

The HHS-funded Children’s Safety Network recently hosted a webinar on supporting infant safe sleeping. Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) occurs among approximately 3,500 babies in the United States each year. The webinar provides data on SUID trends over the past three decades and describes how Kansas has created a statewide infrastructure to roll out safe sleep practices to different venues to reduce sleep-related infant death. The recorded webinar is now available for review.


Featured Webinars

ECTA Center logo

Recommended Practices for Engaging Families—A Webinar Series!

The ECTA Center will host a series of four webinars that explore the Division for Early Childhood’s (DEC) Recommended Practices and some of the tools and resources developed to support use of the practices. The fourth and final webinar will be the unveiling of a new family-level aRPy Ambassador Initiative designed specifically for ED-funded Parent Centers.

  • June 25 from 3–4:00 p.m. EDT:
    Introduction to DEC and the Recommended Practices
  • July 16 from 3–4:00 p.m. EDT:
    Resources and Materials That Support Family Use of the Recommended Practices
  • Aug. 7 from 3–4:00 p.m. EDT:
    Resources and Supports for Parent Centers
  • Sept. 11 from 3–4:00 p.m. EDT:
    aRPy Family Ambassador Initiative

Sign up for the webinars here.


New Funding Opportunities

ED has several new grant competitions for fiscal year (FY) 2019. Read below to learn more about competitions that are currently open or are planned for this FY.

colored pencils

Personnel Preparation

ED recently released two funding opportunities to train and prepare personnel in early intervention, special education, and related services:

  1. Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel (CFDA No. 84.325D) funds doctoral degree preparation; and
  2. Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs (CFDA No.84.325K) funds master’s degree, educational specialist degree, or clinical doctoral degree preparation.

More information, including the applications, can be found here.
The deadline for the 325D and 325K competitions is July 8.


Voices From the Field

Theresa Jones

Better Hearing and Speech Month: Preparing Future Speech-Language Pathologists

In recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month, we interviewed, Theresa Jones, who is the director of clinical instruction and speech/language services at Central Michigan University. Jones discusses how she prepares future speech-language pathologists within an interprofessional practice approach to learn to effectively communicate and collaborate with other early childhood providers. We invite you to read the full interview on the 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!