Improving Systems, Practices, and Outcomes

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Practice Improvement Tools: Topic: Leadership

from the DEC Recommended Practices on Leadership:

The work of practitioners on the frontline is critical to improving outcomes for young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays/disabilities and their families. But practitioners do not operate in a vacuum. Their ability to implement the DEC Recommended Practices can be supported or constrained by the program, school, agency, or organization for which they work.

Leadership Checklists

Download this performance checklist:

This checklist provides strategies leaders can use to promote collaboration within and across agencies and programs at the state and local level. Collaboration is essential to ensure that the educational, health and developmental needs of young children and families are being met.

State leaders may work with other state agency colleagues to raise funds, set new rules and plan new initiatives for young children and families. They may work with universities to ensure that professional development programs address the DEC Recommended Practices. At the local level, leaders may work across community agencies to make it easier for families to access services, or to raise community awareness about an issue the community is facing.

The checklist can be used as a self-evaluation tool to determine if collaboration is being incorporated at all levels of leadership.

Download this performance checklist:

This checklist provides examples of practices leaders can use to create an environment in which work can get done in an effective and rewarding way. Providers who are expected to demonstrate beliefs and values that include behaviors such as valuing and respecting families, supporting their decisions, including them as full team members and enhancing their confidence and competence need leadership that exemplifies and demonstrates these same beliefs and values.

The checklist can be used by leaders at both the state and local program level as a self-evaluation to determine if they are practicing and promoting these values and beliefs on a daily basis. Leaders lead by doing and setting the example.

Download this performance checklist:

This checklist includes examples of steps leaders can take to help to create a well-functioning and forward-thinking organization and to help practitioners feel a sense of belonging as they understand their purpose within the organization. The checklist can be used as a self-evaluation by leaders at both state and local levels to ensure that they are articulating and using the vision and mission of the organization not only to create a supportive work environment, but also to help determine the future activities of the organization and to provide direction to the larger early care and education community for improving services for ALL children and families.

Leadership Illustrations

Meeting the educational, health and developmental needs of young children and families requires leadership to work within and across agencies and programs at the state and local level. For example, state leaders may work with other state agency colleagues to raise funds, set new rules and plan new initiatives for young children and families. They may work with universities to ensure that professional development programs address the DEC Recommended Practices. At the local level, leaders may work across community agencies to make it easier for families to access needed services, or to raise community awareness about a particular issue. Collaboration is essential at all levels of leadership.

Collaboration with Pediatricians: Strategies to Support Collaboration

A pediatrician and pediatric nurse discuss ideas and strategies to support collaboration between the early intervention system and medical providers.

Video courtesy Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center.

The Collaborative Challenge: Making Quality Decisions Together in the Age of Complexity?

8:25 - 11:16 of this video highlights Basic principles of collaboration.

Video courtesy Matt Koschmann, Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Leaders motivate and provide guidance to get the work done in an effective and rewarding way. Providers who are expected to demonstrate beliefs and values that include behaviors such as valuing and respecting families, supporting their decisions, including them as full team members and helping to enhance their confidence and competence need a work environment that exemplifies and demonstrates the same beliefs and values. Leaders at the state and local program levels have an obligation to create work environments where these values can be practiced on a daily basis. Leaders lead by doing and setting the example.

What if I...?

Motivational video with key ideas and attributes leaders need to keep and motivate coworkers.

A Pep Talk from Kid President to You

The "5 Whys" Problem Solving Method

This video illustrates one way to promote participatory decision making.

Well-functioning and forward thinking organizations have leaders who can articulate and use the purpose and vision/mission of the organization to help practitioners feel a sense of belonging as they understand their purpose within the organization. This vision will not only guide the daily work but will help determine future activities to improve services and supports for all children and families they serve. The vision and mission help to provide direction to the larger early care and education community for improving services for ALL children and families.

What is Leadership? Learn What Makes a Good Leader

A Details of the concept "transformational leadership" that is needed to provide vision and inspiration.

Produced by Mindtools

Where Will We Find Tomorrow's Leaders

This video appears on a two page description of when and how to use collaborative leadership as a way to inspire from the Community Toolbox. At 3:50, Dr. Linda Hill of Harvard University says that to be a leader now, one needs not to focus on formal authority, but recognize one is in a complex web of relationships.