In 2019, the Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation and EducationCounsel will support Local Education Agencies and early learning leaders in collaborating to create aligned strategic plans that meet requirements for all community partners and create an opportunity for meaningful coordination and collaboration.
Building a strong foundation for learning takes all of us working together. With its requirements to engage early learning stakeholders, the Every Student Succeeds Act provides an opportunity to engage community partners to support our children in fulfilling their potential.
It begins with aligning strategies. No matter where you sit, you create annual strategic plans to access funds.
- Local Education Agencies submit annual ESSA plans to the Department of Public Instruction and they are required to engage early learning leaders.
- Head Start Grantees create strategic plans with program and school readiness goals that are updated annually for continuous improvement.
- Smart Start Local Partnerships develop strategic plans in response to community needs and submit an Annual Submission of Activities to the North Carolina Partnership for Children.
- Community organizations develop strategic plans for approval by their Boards of Directors and for grants.
What would be possible if we aligned these plans and our work to create a system that builds a strong foundation of learning for all children in our communities? What would be possible if districts had support to collaborate across systems to focus on family engagement, professional development, and transitions? We are committed to doing just that.
1. Introductory webinars. We hosted three webinars, each designed for a specific audience.
- Head Start Agencies
- Superintendents, Title I Leaders and Local Education Agency Staff
- Smart Start Partnerships and Early Learning Leaders
2. Regional meetings. More than 365 local early learning and K-12 leaders participated in four regional meetings hosted around the state. Meetings focused on three priorities: family engagement, aligned professional development and transition into kindergarten. Attending teams identified a problem of practice to address, began developing an action plan, and will receive ongoing support as they develop their plans throughout 2019.
Resources shared at the meetings include:
- Focus Area Fact Sheets
- Local Data (Low Birthweight, Chronic Absence, Kindergarten and First Grade Retention, Suspensions)
- NC County Health Report Cards
- NC County Child Care Data
- Additional Data Resources
- Action Plan Crosswalk and Template
Examples of other groups to engage.
- Elementary Schools: Principal and/or Teacher
- Child Care: Administrator and/or Teacher
- Child Care Resource and Referral
- Exceptional Children
- McKinney Vento
- NC Pre-K Committee
- Family Engagement
- Community College System
- Community Organization Supporting Dual Language Learners
- Health System Professionals
- Existing Early Childhood Collaboratives (e.g., Campaign for Grade-Level Reading)
- Higher Education- University/College
3. Meetings at home with your local early learning partners.
Access annotated agendas to facilitate your local early learning partners through planning meetings to align your strategic planning work and create a collaborative community action plan.
4. Office hours.
Check out the recordings, resources shared and powerpoint presentations for Office Hours webinars focused on how to strengthen your local collaborative work.
- Developing or Improving your MOU among Early Learning Partners
- Coordinating Local Plans
- Early Learning in CCIP Submission: 2019-20 Update
Local teams of early learning partners signed up for virtual TA sessions to review MOUs and other agreements, ask questions about coordination requirements, discuss strategies for continued collaboration, explore opportunities for including early learning strategies in district ESSA plans and receive technical support on creating aligned action plans.
5. MOU meetings.
The Public Schools of North Carolina, the Head Start State Collaboration Office and national partner EducationCounsel hosted two regional meetings for local Head Start grantees and school district personnel on how to develop or improve the MOUs between the two organizations that are required by the Head Start Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act.