LEADS Fall Institute 2019 Recap
The LEADS Fall Institute, held in Charlottesville, VA on November 14, had over 150 in attendance to hear about the State Department of Education's recommended quality improvements in early childhood and to learn more about best practices for assessment of young children. Participants heard from Jenna Conway (Chief School Readiness Officer, Commonwealth of Virginia) and Dawn Hendricks (Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator, VDOE) about High Quality Childhood Education Updates in Virginia. Marie Ireland (Speech-Language Impairment and Eligibility Specialist, VDOE), presented on Virginia’s eligibility criteria and the use of effective and appropriate assessment practices for young children. This discussion continued with representatives from Virginia school divisions (Prince William, Virginia Beach, and Charlottesville) presenting their use of authentic and dynamic assessments in eligibility and service delivery models for two year olds (Warren).In the afternoon, divisions had the opportunity to engage in discussions with other systems and problem solve together. If interested in the diagnostic classroom, Virginia Beach County invites you to attend an Open House event (1:00-2:00 pm on January 2, February 4, March 12, and April 28). If you continue to have any questions, please contact your Region's Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance Center. Our next LEADS Institute will be in Spring 2020!
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Preschool refers to the time before a child is old enough to go to kindergarten or elementary school. In Virginia, preschoolers who are eligible for special education and related services are entitled to placement in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) alongside their peers without disabilities with supplementary aids and services. Inclusion in early childhood programs is supported through years of research and reinforced by a strong legal foundation and can set a trajectory for inclusion across the life course. These videos from Augusta County and Giles County demonstrate successful inclusion of preschoolers. For other projects depicting inclusion of preschoolers in a variety of contexts, see the VDOE website.
The Communities of Learning (CoL) is designed for divisions that are in the early stages of building or expanding inclusive programs and need more information about models of inclusion, the division’s precise needs, and programs that will fit the division’s needs before moving to implementation. The purpose of the Communities of Learning (CoL) is to deliver technical assistance and professional development to leaders in early childhood who want to explore building or expanding high-quality early childhood inclusive programs. Deadline is now Thursday, December 12.