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.”