Leadership in Effective And Developmentally-appropriate Services (LEADS) in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) is an initiative in the Commonwealth of Virginia designed to create and support a network of statewide leaders responsible for administrative oversight of local ECSE programs. LEADS is led by the Virginia Department of Education’s 619 Coordinator and is supported by the Virginia Early Childhood Special Education Network (ECSE Network), which includes a LEADS coordinator/website manager. The goals of LEADS are to:
- connect, support, and empower local leaders to build capacity and provide high-quality programs and services throughout the Commonwealth for young children, ages 2-5 years, with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs),
- improve the collection, reporting, and use of ECSE Indicator data, and
- identify and celebrate strong program components, and
- identify program components in need of improvement through use of state and local data.
The primary purpose of the website is to provide resources and tools to enhance Local Education Agencies' collection, reporting, and analysis of Early Childhood Special Education Indicator data (Indicator 6, Early Childhood Educational Environment; Indicator 7, Child Outcomes; and Indicator 12, Transition from Part C to Part B). Further, the resources support use of state- and division-level data to make program changes which lead to improved child outcomes. Resources on the website focus on enhancing the quantity and quality of inclusion of children with disabilities, improving outcomes through a curriculum framework, enhancing the transition from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education, and increasing knowledge of the State and Federal regulations that govern Early Childhood Special Education.
The Virginia ECSE Network is a group of early childhood personnel from the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Centers. These individuals provide ECSE training and technical assistance specific to regional needs throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The current ECSE Network Scope of Work is available here. The goals of the ECSE Network are to:
- provide support to ECSE program administrators through a website and professional development events,
- increase the knowledge, skills, and capacity of ECSE program administrators across the Commonwealth by providing evidence-based training and technical assistance,
- develop and disseminate federal and state policy information,
- develop and disseminate evidence and research-based materials for curriculum and assessment,
- foster collaboration among and within agencies to maximize resources,
- contribute to the development of state level guidance documents, processes, and training materials,
- provide information for early learning classrooms using multi-tiered systems of supports for program-wide implementation, and
- provide training and information to increase inclusive practices in early learning.