Improving Systems, Practices, and Outcomes

Read the latest on COVID-19 and Tele-Intervention and Distance Learning, and review recent webinars on these topics!


February 20, 2020

Updates from the ECTA Center

DEC Recommended Practice Guides for Families in Spanish!

The Family Practice Guides are1-page resources for providers to share with families to illustrate the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices. The Guides are sorted by topic area, and available in print and mobile formats. The Practice Guides explain the importance of the practices, illustrate practices with vignettes and videos, describe how to do a practice, and include indicators to know a practice is working. The Spanish-language translations of our Practice Guides for Families are now available! Performance checklists for practitioners in Spanish are coming soon.

Updates from the National Early Childhood Inclusion Indicators Initiative: Three levels of State System Inclusion Indicators now Available

Three levels of state system early childhood inclusion indicators are now available: State, local program, and early care and education environments. These three new products are designed to support state and local program leaders to examine and implement strategies that strengthen their capacity to provide high quality inclusive options in their communities. The indicators have been co-created by the ECTA Center and the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI), including partners from across the early care and education system.

The State Indicators of High Quality Inclusion address key state-level infrastructure elements such as policies, funding, standards, and professional development. The Local Program Indicators of High Quality Inclusion address local leadership and support including areas such as vision, family engagement and partnerships, local polices and resources, and collaborative teaming. The Early Care and Education Environment Indicators of High Quality Inclusion address critical practices related to areas such as family partnerships, meaningful interactions with peers, curriculum and instruction. Self-assessment tools for each set of indicators are in the final stages of development and will be posted soon. The inclusion indicators and self-assessment tools are in field review status and are being used in intensive TA with states and local systems. Adjustments to the indicators and self-assessments may be made based on feedback as a result of that work, as well as on-going input from early childhood stakeholders.

News from the Field

Head Start Information Memorandum on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities

The Inclusion of Children with Disabilities Information Memorandum was recently issued to all Head Start and Early Head Start Agencies and Delegate Agencies by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The memorandum highlights requirements in the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) related to the inclusion of children with disabilities and delays, and includes a list of free resources for use at the local level, such as an infographic on supporting young children with special needs.

Federal Data Summary: School Years 2015-16 through 2017-18 Education for Homeless Children and Youth

This report from the National Center for Homeless Education at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Greensboro summarizes state data on the demographics and academic performance of students enrolled in public school districts or local educational agencies (LEAs) experiencing homelessness. While it includes data on young children, ages birth to five, it does not capture young children who are not enrolled in preschool programs administered by LEAs.

Children with disabilities, as defined by IDEA, comprise the largest subgroup of homeless students enrolled in public schools. Homeless students with a disability enrolled in school increased by 15 percent between SYs 2015-16 and 2017-18. Approximately 14 percent of all students have an identified disability. In comparison, 18 percent of homeless students have an identified disability. Additionally, 31 states reported that at least 20 percent of their homeless students had an identified disability (Figure 6).

Web-based Professional Development for Improving Early Childhood Professionals' Actual and Perceived Knowledge of Dual Language Learners

This recent article in the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education examines the associations between early childhood professionals' participation in a web-based learning platform with targeted content on supporting young dual language learners (DLLs) and changes in actual and perceived knowledge about DLLs. The study found that background characteristics, such as having a college-degree, working in home-based child care, and participating in DLL-specific professional development within the prior year were associated with changes in actual and perceived knowledge of early childhood professionals to work with young DLLs.