DEADLINE EXTENDED! Technical Assistance Opportunitiy: Early Childhood Education Leaders Communities of Learning for Inclusive Programs
The Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Early Childhood, located in the Division for School Readiness, is pleased to offer two technical assistance opportunities designed to increase high-quality inclusive programs in early childhood. As the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) strives to provide young children with high-quality preschool experiences that help prepare them for kindergarten and enable them to thrive, it is important to increase accessibility to quality early childhood programs for children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Inclusion in early childhood programs is supported through years of research and reinforced by a strong legal foundation. Yet, many preschool children with disabilities in Virginia receive special education services in settings separate from their peers without disabilities. Both technical assistance opportunities are designed to assist Virginia’s school divisions and early childhood communities in identifying, developing, and sustaining inclusive early childhood programs for children with IEPs ages two-, three-, and four-years old as well as providing high-quality early childhood classrooms that deliver individualization within inclusive contexts.
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. Building or expanding inclusive programs requires a systems change process that is comprehensive and includes an examination of the educational system components that support early childhood education in the school and community. Divisions participating in the CoL will be guided through the initial stage of systems change - exploration. Through exploration, divisions will acquire information about early childhood and inclusive models, identify requirements for implementation of inclusive programs, carefully assess potential barriers, determine whether implementation is feasible, and if so, prepare and mobilize the division, staff, and resources. Participants will be led through The Preschool Inclusion Toolbox: How to Build and Lead a High-Quality Program, which provides a structured process for addressing systems-level change and improving inclusive practices.
Program Description: The CoL will run from January, 2020 through July, 2020. An online CoL session will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. one time per month. In addition to the online CoL sessions, a live Summer Institute will be provided in July.
Eligibility: All school divisions are eligible to apply. Applicants must show evidence of commitment from division leadership, including the superintendent, and must form a CoL team to participate in exploration activities.
Application: More detailed information on the CoL and the application can be found in Attachment A of this memo. Applicants must submit all required information with complete responses found in the application. The application must be emailed to Laura.Heath@doe.virginia.gov by Thursday, December 12.
For information regarding the other technical assistance opportunity, visit Inclusive Placement Opportunities for Preschoolers, Intensive Technical Assistance Grant.
All interested school divisions are strongly encouraged to attend the informational webinar to receive additional information and ask questions about the technical assistance opportunities. The webinar will be recorded and a link to the recording will be available on request.
Quality Grant Webinar: Thursday, October 10, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
To join the Webinar
1. Go to https://gmu.webex.com/gmu/k2/j.php?MTID=t75f4cb9f3448d6c3add3131dada0b313
2. Enter your name and email address
3. Enter the session password: MpuPF3Se
4. Click "Join Now"
5. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen
To join the session by phone only
Access code: 647 293 793
If you have questions, please contact Dr. Dawn Hendricks, Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator, by email at Dawn.Hendricks@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at 804-225-2675.