The purpose of the Inclusion Cohort is to provide TA to a small number of state cross-sector leadership teams to build state capacity to assess, plan and implement state level strategies to increase and improve high-quality inclusion.
The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) and the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) worked with a group of national partners and other stakeholders in early care and education to develop indicators of high-quality inclusion. The indicators address inclusion at the state, local program, and early care and education environment levels.
State teams may focus their efforts on children birth-three, three-five, or birth to five. States will be asked to designate the age focus of their work on the cohort application.
The application may be submitted by the IDEA Part B, Section 619 Coordinator or the Part C Coordinator with a letter of support from their respective supervisor or agency leadership. The letter should indicate support for the coordinator’s time and effort for up to two-years to participate in the activities of a cross-sector State Leadership Team (SLT). If the coordinator is to lead the work of the SLT, the letter should explicitly state support for this additional role as well.
The application requires the participation of a cross sector SLT. If a team does not exist at the time of application, the expectation is that the names and affiliations of the early childhood partners who will make up the SLT will be provided in the application. The application shows a preference for states that include the participation and commitment of specific key partners, believed to be important on the SLT, whether an existing team or a new team being created. These key partners are the OSEP funded Parent Training & Information (PTI) Center Director, the Head Start Collaboration Director, the state CCDF Administrator, and PreK Director (if PreK exists and is applicable), or their appointed designees. Letters of commitment for the work of the SLT are required from the key partners, as part of the application.
The SLT should consist of no more than 12-15 people who agree to meet every 4-6 weeks and make decisions collaboratively to build state capacity to implement, sustain and in some instances, scale-up high-quality inclusion. The team must designate a coordinator or point person to coordinate communication, oversee progress on the strategic plan, when developed, and work with two ECTA facilitators.
The SLT agrees to attend an initial conference call for an overview of the cohort scope and activities to orient their work and meet the other state teams.
The SLT agrees to develop a mission, vision and strategic plan. If there is an existing mission, vision and strategic plan in place, then time will be spent to see how these documents are aligned with the state level self-assessment results and identify opportunities for modification, as appropriate. Sections of the Benchmarks of Quality tool may be used by the team and the ECTA facilitators to plan next steps and identify progress by the SLT.
The SLT agrees to host and attend a two-day meeting in their state within 4-6 weeks after receiving notification of their acceptance into the cohort. The SLT will be responsible for securing the meeting location and communication with team members, including invitations and necessary audio visual and travel arrangements. ECTA will cover the travel and subsistence costs of two facilitators to attend and facilitate the meeting. The facilitators will work with the team to design a process agenda to include completion of the self-assessment, development/refinement of the team’s mission and vision and, initial strategic planning.
The SLT agrees to engage in calls with the ECTA facilitators every 4-6 weeks to continue planning and work on implementation of their strategic plan. State work in between calls will occur among members of the SLT, either as a full team, or in workgroups.
The SLT Coordinator agrees to calls and email communication with the ECTA facilitators between regular SLT calls to check on status and plan agendas for the SLT calls.
The SLT agrees to participate in quarterly cross-state calls with the other cohort states.
The SLT agrees to attend a two-day meeting in late summer or Fall 2020 hosted by the ECTA Center. ECTA will cover the travel and subsistence costs of 3-4 SLT team members at the federal per diem rate. The other members of the SLT will agree to request approval and funding for travel costs from their agencies or programs.
The SLT will participate in ECTA evaluation activities at specific points during the intensive TA, and afterwards to assess impact.
Application Due Date: February 10, 2020
Applications will be assessed on responses to the application requirements, including the letters of commitment and support described under the section, Application Process and State Commitments. States will receive notification of their status as applicants by February 26, 2020.
Application Readiness Checklist
In addition to answering the application questions, and agreeing to the commitments for participation, be prepared to share any relevant early childhood data on the extent to which children with disabilities are served in inclusive settings in your state.
You will also be asked to attach the following documents as PDF, Microsoft Word or Excel files to your application:
Letter of support from agency leadership for the IDEA Part C and/or Section 619 Coordinator The letter should document support for and intent to collaborate with ECTA and the work of the SLT, if selected. The letter should indicate support for the Coordinator to serve as the SLT lead, if that is a role they will be taking with the Inclusion Cohort.
Up to two additional letters of commitment from the key early childhood partners representing child care, Head Start, Prek, if applicable and the OSEP funded Parent Information and Training Center indicating support for the work of the SLT.
A list of State Leadership Team members, including the Coordinator or contact person, and each member's Name, Title, Agency/Program/Affiliation and Email address.