Early Learning Newsletter | April 2022 | Supporting Military Families


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

Supporting Military Families

April 2022

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In This Issue:

From the Directors

Valerie Williams and Jamila Smith

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

Families are essential in the development of young children. Many families are tasked with finding ways to balance the demands of their children and their careers. For military families, these demands are combined with the duties and responsibilities of military members. There are more than 1.6 million military children whose families move an average of every two to three years. Month of the Military Child, which is celebrated in April, is a time to celebrate military children and their importance in the military community. In this issue, we have included resources to support military children and families. We would like to thank you for your sacrifices during this month and throughout the year.

In celebration of Month of the Military Child, for our Voices From the Field interview, we interviewed Dorothy Bosworth and Jolynn Lee who work with the Specialized Training of Military Parents (STOMP) Program at the ED-funded Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment (PAVE). They discuss their experiences as military spouses and parents of children with exceptional needs.

Thank you for reading “Early Learning”!

Valerie C. Williams
Director, Office of Special Education Programs
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Jamila Smith
Director, Innovation and Early Learning Programs
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education


Early Learning Updates

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  • Education Secretary Miguel Cardona posted a letter to educators and parents regarding new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and their impact on children with disabilities. The letter addresses the CDC’s February 2022 framework for identifying COVID-19 community levels and encourages schools to lead with equity and inclusion to ensure all children have access to in-person learning alongside their peers.
  • Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra issued a joint letter expressing their commitment to children and youth by launching a joint-department effort to expand school-based health services, ensuring children have the health services and supports necessary to build resilience and thrive. The letter and list of resources support the joint effort of both departments to develop and share resources to ensure children have access to school-based health services.
  • The U.S. Department of Education (Department) issued a document to provide guidance regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements applicable to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools, who are not enrolled in their local educational agency (LEA). The document updates and supersedes the Department’s guidance, titled Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools, issued in April 2011, and includes additional questions and answers that address topics that have arisen as the field continues to implement the applicable provisions of IDEA and its implementing regulations.


Voices From the Field

Dee Bosworth and Jolynn Lee

Supporting Military Families with Young Children

This month's Voices From the Field interviews are with Dorothy Bosworth and Jolynn Lee.

They both work with the Specialized Training of Military Parents (STOMP) Program at the ED-funded Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment (PAVE). They discuss their experiences as military spouses and parents of children with exceptional needs.

This Month’s Recommended Resources

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Resources for Military Families

Military families often face unique challenges. The OSEP-funded Center for Parent Information and Resources has a landing page with information to support military families managing issues in special education. The OSEP-funded Branch Military Parent Technical Assistance Center also has numerous resources for families, including information to support military families receiving early intervention services. Additional resources and information from the United States Department of Defense are also available.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Releases New Report

CDC released a new report that looks at the health needs and use of services among children with developmental disabilities. Data in the United States from 2014–18 is reviewed and implications for public health practices are discussed.

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Design for Every Learner

The ED-funded TIES Center, in collaboration with Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and the Lake Washington School District in Washington, released a set of learning modules to help educators learn more about Universal Design for Learning. The modules support educators in designing learning experiences that are inclusive for each and every learner. Specific examples illustrate how instruction can be designed to be inclusive of students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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Self-assessment Tool to Help Strengthen Child-find Systems

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), with the collaboration and support of the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) and Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) developed a self-assessment tool to help LEAs strengthen their child-find system. The goal is to ensure that children eligible for special education and related services are referred and receive services. This toolkit can also be used by state educational agencies (SEAs) to look across LEAs to support understanding and document their work on child-find regulations, identify best practices, and improve the efficiency of their child-find efforts. ECTA’s Part C Child Find Self-Assessment (CFSA) is also available.


Featured Webinars & Conferences

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Science for Early Learners

Curiosity about the world around them provides opportunities for young children to experience science while expanding learning in all areas of development. HHS’ Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center is holding a related webinar, Why Science, on April 26, at 2 p.m.


Funding Opportunities

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Early Childhood Personnel Equity Center

ED recently issued a notice inviting applications for new awards for FY 2022 for the Early Childhood Personnel Equity Center, Assistance Listing Number 84.325C. The purpose of this priority is to establish a national Early Childhood Personnel Equity Center to improve outcomes for young children with disabilities by increasing the number of early childhood personnel and faculty from racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse backgrounds and to enhance equity content within early childhood preparation programs.

The application deadline is May 16, 2022.


Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) is accepting applications for its FY 2022 Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Program grants. These grants aim to improve outcomes for children from birth to 12 years of age by developing, maintaining, or enhancing infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment services.

Applications are due May 17, 2022.

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Transforming Pediatrics for Early Childhood

HHS’ Maternal and Child Health Bureau is accepting applications for its FY 2022 Transforming Pediatrics for Early Childhood (TPEC) program. The purpose of the program is to establish resource hubs that support the placement of early childhood development experts into pediatric practices that serve a high percentage of prenatal to 5-year-old populations who are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program or are uninsured.

Applications are due May 23, 2022.


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Check out more early learning stories, including "Voices From the Field" posts, on OSERS Blog.