Our Approach

Early Learning and the Every Student Succeeds Act in North Carolina

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in December 2015, bolsters federal support for early learning and provides opportunity to strengthen the birth-through-third grade continuum – a critical strategy to improve third grade reading proficiency. In September 2017, North Carolina submitted its state plan to comply with the federal law. Now, North Carolina Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are preparing their district ESSA plans for the 2018-19 academic year.

As LEAs build their district ESSA plans, they will be required to engage early learning stakeholders. Stakeholders may include, but are not limited to, Head Start, Title 1, Smart Start, elementary school principals and teachers, child care administrators and teachers, Child Care Resource and Referral, Exceptional Children, McKinney Vento, NC Pre-K Committee, family engagement professionals, community college system, community organizations supporting dual language learners, health care providers, existing early childhood collaboratives (e.g., Campaign for Grade-Level Reading), higher education and others.

The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) is partnering with the Office of Early Learning and the NC Head Start Collaborative Office at the Department of Public Instruction to support LEAs and early childhood community leaders in collaborating to develop the early learning components of the LEA’s ESSA district plans.

We have hosted webinars and presented at conferences to build awareness of opportunities in the plans. In January, we hosted four regional meetings to assist LEAs and early learning stakeholders in this work.

These meetings:

  • Provided an overview of ESSA early learning requirements and opportunities,
  • Prepared districts to engage cross-sector, early learning stakeholders in plan development,
  • Supported districts in identifying data needed to inform decision-making, and
  • Supported districts in beginning to outline early learning components to consider.

Request for Applications

We will be providing intensive support to a small number of local teams, including coaching, materials, a shared learning community and plan review. Materials and lessons learned will be shared across the state. Download the Request for Applications. (MS Word) (pdf)

Materials for Regional Meetings

Directories of Birth-through-Eight Contacts

Presentations and Webinars

North Carolina Association of Compensatory Educators Annual Conference, October 26, 2017

North Carolina School Boards Association Annual Conference, November 13, 2017

North Carolina School Superintendents Association, December 13, 2017

Webinar for NC Early Learning Leaders, December 15, 2017

Recorded Webinars for Local School Boards