Advancing Early Learning Through ESSA
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) strengthens federal support for early learning and provides new opportunities for birth-through-third grade alignment, accountability and funding. NCECF is leveraging ESSA as a tool to support state and local collaboration across birth-through-eight systems.
In September 2017, North Carolina submitted its state plan to comply with the federal law. North Carolina Local Education Agencies (LEAs) will submit district ESSA plans annually describing how they will advance state priorities and meet federal requirements.
We are 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.
- NC State ESSA Plan includes recommendations developed at our convening of state leaders.
- In 2018, 80 district and two charter teams attended regional ESSA & Early Learning meetings. Each team completed commitments for birth-through-eight strategies in their local work. Attendees give the meeting an average rating of 4.29 on a 5-point scale.
- In a second round of regional meetings in 2019, teams identified a problem of practice around one of three priorities – family engagement, aligned professional development and transition into kindergarten. Each team began developing an action plan. Attendees gave the meeting an average rating of 4.3 on a 5-point scale.
“This meeting set aside a day out of our busy schedules to come together and focus on children birth to eight. The time we spent together was so very powerful. We collaborated, shared our thoughts and ideas, created a commitment plan and reflected on our district goals. I learned and grew so very much. Thank you for providing this opportunity! What a wonderful investment of our time together.”
“This training provided the tools and time to move forward with planning. The follow-up offered by the trainers in the form of virtual office hours sounds incredible!”
“Receiving important district data to identify problems of practice is beneficial in our work as we develop our strategic plan for the next cycle.”
We help education leaders understand the early learning opportunities in ESSA, how early learning supports district goals, and how to engage early learning leaders in district plan development.
We convened district teams of Local Education Agency and early learning leaders. The meetings delved into the early learning strategies available to districts, shared best practices, highlighted using early childhood data to make informed decisions, and provided time and support for working together on district plans.
We provide 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.
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 ESSA.
EducationCounsel, the NC Department of Public Instruction and the NC Early Childhood Foundation host a third online Office Hours session to highlight opportunities within districts’ Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plans (CCIP) to address early learning strategies. The webinar shares examples of specific strategies and language to consider, as well as 2019-20 CCIP revisions.
Local early learning teams can access 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.
EducationCounsel, the NC Department of Public Instruction and the NC Early Childhood Foundation host a second online Office Hours session to share a new resource: a series of annotated agendas that can be used over several meetings with local early learning partners to align strategic planning efforts and support completion of a collaborative community action plan.
The NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Early Childhood Foundation and EducationCounsel host an online Office Hours session, explaining requirements and answering questions about developing or improving MOUs between LEAs, Head Start programs and other early childhood programs.
More than 360 local early learning and K-12 leaders representing 80 school districts participate in four regional meetings, focused on 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.
LEAs, Head Start, Smart Start and early learning leaders participate in introductory webinars.
NCECF releases case study of our collaborative work.
20 district teams submit applications and five are selected for coaching and TA support for development of district ESSA plans.
80 district teams (380 people) attend regional meetings and develop birth-through-eight commitments.
Local school board members attend a workshop at the North Carolina School Boards Association Annual Conference
300 early learning leaders view webinar on ESSA.
NC School Superintendents Association partners with us to host webinar for superintendents.
Title I leaders attend workshop at North Carolina Association of Compensatory Educators Annual Conference.
State submits ESSA plan, which includes birth-through-eight strategies.
NCECF leads efforts to provide early learning comments on state ESSA plan. 2/3 of comments received are on early learning.
Smart Start Local Partnerships and school leaders attend day-long workshop at National Smart Start Conference.
State leaders develop recommended birth-to-eight strategies to be included in North Carolina’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan.
We host webinars and share information to introduce early learning opportunities in ESSA.
- Local Education Agencies include birth-through-eight strategies in their district ESSA plans.
- Districts strengthen collaboration across birth-through-five and K-12 systems.
2019 Early Learning and ESSA Collaboration
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. Learn more!
Suggested Early Learning Language to Include in CCIP
This document is designed to support Local Education Agencies as they develop their ESSA plan. It outlines opportunities throughout the 2018 Consolidated Application to include activities to support young children’s development beginning at birth. We recommend that district leaders review the application and this document with early childhood leaders in their community to develop a strong, coordinated plan that supports optimal development for all children in the community.
Choosing the Most Promising Early Literacy Interventions (Webinar)
ESSA and Early Childhood: Exploring What's Possible
This presentation was shared at regional meetings held in January 2018 to support collaboration between LEAs and early learning leaders in developing birth-through-eight strategies for district ESSA plans.