Projects

Early Childhood

Background

The SECC will continue to provide technical assistance (TA) with the implementation of the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013 through working with the Mississippi Department of Education's (MDE’s) Office of Early Childhood staff to provide appropriate school readiness resources and services to early childhood stakeholders and program providers. SECC will assist with school readiness work related to MDE’s Early Childhood Strategic Plan and with reviewing and refining MDE tools and procedures for monitoring implementation of the Early Learning Collaboratives and other funded preK programs.

Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: |

SECC early childhood staff in collaboration with the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) conducted its monthly phone conference with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) director of early childhood. During the conference call, SECC staff listened to updates on MDE’s early childhood efforts and served as a thought-partner, providing content expertise and guidance. SECC staff shared several resources on executive function. SECC staff will continue to serve as a thought partner; however, this work will continue through the Ensuring Readiness Community of Practice. The MDE director of early childhood education is utilizing the information on executive function to inform training of MDE staff and early childhood teachers.

 

Previous Updates:

SECC early childhood staff in collaboration with the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) conducted its monthly phone conference with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) director of early childhood. During the conference call, SECC staff listened to updates on MDE’s early childhood efforts and served as a thought-partner, providing content expertise and guidance. SECC staff shared several resources on executive function. SECC staff will continue to serve as a thought partner; however, this work will continue through the Ensuring Readiness Community of Practice. The MDE director of early childhood education is utilizing the information on executive function to inform training of MDE staff and early childhood teachers.

The SECC early childhood team, Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), and the MDE director of Early Childhood held their monthly phone conference to discuss early childhood efforts in Mississippi. Major accomplishments include a successful early childhood conference, plans to implement the comprehensive early learning assessment in state funded preK programs, and plans to post additional early childhood positions due to funds from the Kellogg Grant. As a result of SECC’s work with the Mississippi Early Childhood Project, MDE has met the oversight requirement that was established by the Early Learning Collaborative Act for the state-funded preK program. Examples of accomplishments include the comprehensive early learning assessment, reviewing and revising the early learning guidelines, securing a champion from higher education to support efforts to improve and increase the early childhood workforce, and collaborating with other technical assistance providers. SECC will continue to have a vital role in supporting Mississippi’s early childhood strategic plan by providing consultation through SECC’s Early Childhood Community of Practice.

The SECC Early Childhood Team, Jim Squires from the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), and Dr. Jill Dent, the Mississippi Department of Education director of early childhood, held their monthly phone conferences to discuss early childhood efforts in Mississippi. During the meeting, Dr. Dent provided a review of June's specialized early learning summer training and discussed plans for implementing early learning coaches. SECC provided best practices and strategies for beginning a coaching program and shared an example of a coaching planning document. Theodore discussed how SECC could help with the implementation process of early learning coaches in the Mississippi Early Learning Collaboratives. In particular, Theodore discussed supporting the professional development of coaches as well as supporting the coaches in their role with schools. Next steps: Dr. Dent and her early learning team will create a draft of the job description and expectations for coaches, and the SECC Early Childhood Team and CEELO staff will provide feedback.

On June 9, SECC early childhood Project Lead Kathleen Theodore conducted a meeting with MDE's Dr. Jill Dent at the annual CEELO Roundtable Event. The theme of this year’s roundtable was “Leading for Change in Early Education,” which focused on building state education agency (SEA) leaders and early childhood specialists’ to utilize and provide leadership on evidence-based practices to support effective, high-performing early childhood systems from birth to third grade. Leadership on evidence-based practices included sessions on systems thinking and implementation science as a way to guide SEAs to lead complex work and to attain successful early learning outcomes. During the meeting, Theodore provided coaching and consultation to Dr. Dent on ways in which systems thinking and implementation science could be used to support MDE’s quality improvement process. In particular, the discussion focused on steps for installing a coaching model. Building understanding and knowledge (human capacity), SECC anticipates a higher increase in early learning outcomes for the Early Learning Collaboratives, Mississippi’s state-funded pre-k program.

In addition, Theodore and Dr. Dent engaged in reflections onYear 5 work by using habits of systems thinking. SECC’s technical assistance work that has been most helpful was assisting with facilitating large groups of stakeholders for the early learning guidelines review. Dr. Dent views SECC’s assistance with regulations and guidelines as having high impact. For example, Mississippi continues to show success with their pre-k program. Mississippi is one of only five states to meet all current pre-K quality standards. SECC is happy that the work in Mississippi will continue to expand its efforts to support districts, schools, early childhood programs, and the children of Mississippi. Dr. Dent shared, “They (SECC) give great feedback to take other perspectives into consideration. Knowledge of other state efforts help inform the decisions we make as a state.”

On May 30, SECC Early Childhood Project Lead Kathleen Theodore held a phone conference with Dr. Jill Dent, MDE director of early childhood. The purpose of the call was to discuss the work plan for Year 5 and a timeline for completing tasks. As a result of this meeting, SECC and MDE staff have a clear understanding of ways in which early childhood activities can progress.

Due to Dr. Jill Dent’s work with monitoring the Early Learning Collaboratives, SECC focused on providing resources through the Early Childhood Community of Practice SharePoint site and emails.

The joint meeting for SECC, CEELO, and MDE on March 23 was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. It will be rescheduled in April. At the state board of education meeting, Dr. Dent informed Debra Meibaum, SECC’s Mississippi state liaison, that the webinar with the stakeholders for early learning guidelines review is currently on hold. Dr. Dent will contact SECC's Kathleen Theodore when the state is ready to move forward with the webinar.

On February 13, SECC and CEELO staff held their monthly phone conference with Dr. Jill Dent, the MDE director of Early Childhood Education. SECC staff also emailed Dr. Dent several resources on coaching in response to her question on coaching models.

On January 3, SECC and CEELO held their monthly phone conference with Dr. Jill Dent, MDE director of Early Childhood Education.  Mississippi was awarded a $6 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to expand its effort to develop an early childhood education infrastructure in Mississippi. Planning for the stakeholders meeting was also discussed during this phone call. SECC early childhood project lead, Kathleen Theodore, and SECC Mississippi State Liaison Debra Meibaum conducted an additional phone conference on January 24 with Dr. Dent to finalize plans, roles, and expectations for the revised guidelines review meeting. On January 25, SECC's Theodore and Meibaum assisted with facilitation of the revised guidelines review meeting with early childhood stakeholders.

On December 6, SECC and CEELO staff held their monthly phone conference with Dr. Jill Dent, the MDE director of Early Childhood Education. On January 25, 2017, MDE will convene a group of early childhood stakeholders to conduct a review of the revised early learning guidelines. In particular, the stakeholders will be reviewing the qualifications for the assistant teachers. Currently, there are 60 stakeholders who have agreed to participate. SECC’s Kathleen Theodore and Debra Meibaum will assist MDE with facilitating this meeting. On January 3, 2017, staff from SECC and CEELO will have a planning meeting for the stakeholders’ review meeting. Congratulations to the Mississippi Early Childhood Department for receiving a grant from Kellogg. The Kellogg grant will help the early childhood department with staffing.

SECC and CEELO’s monthly phone conference with Dr. Jill Dent was cancelled because of scheduling conflicts. The phone conference is rescheduled in December. The SECC project lead is scheduled to facilitate a stakeholders’ group meeting at MDE in January. The purpose of the meeting is to update the early learning guidelines. In addition, SECC project lead, Kathleen Theodore and SECC Mississippi State Liaison Debra Meibaum conducted a presentation on SECC’s work with the Mississippi Early Childhood Project. The presentation focused on SECC’s TA strategies and capacity building elements that supported Mississippi in its efforts to improve school readiness for preschool children and their successful transition to kindergarten. The presentation was well received.

SECC and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) held the monthly conference call with Dr. Jill Dent, MDE director of early childhood, on October 27. A consultant from the Build Initiative was also present to understand the MDE’s current need to expand its reach beyond the collaboratives by working with other preK agencies to build teachers’ and principals’ knowledge of the foundations of child development. Dr. Dent will be bringing a team to the Build Initiative’s Learning Table Meetings. The second cohort has been established with 10 collaboratives. Fifteen school districts are a part of these collaboratives. On October 28, the SECC early childhood team conducted a phone conference with Dr. Dent to discuss work tasks for Year 5.