Early Childhood Education Leaders
Communities of Learning for Inclusive Programs

The Communities of Learning (CoL) will deliver targeted technical assistance and professional development to leaders in early childhood education programs. The online CoL will focus on building and maintaining high-quality early childhood inclusive programs. Specifically, participants will:
  1. Describe factors that lead to high-quality inclusive preschool programs;
  2. Discuss key challenges to implementing inclusive programs;
  3. Describe successful division and program strategies, including service delivery models and funding mechanisms;
  4. Develop and implement an action plan for preschool inclusion to address needed changes in policies and/or procedures, service delivery, and staff training; and
  5. Engage in peer-to-peer discussions about high-quality inclusive programs.

Leadership

The CoL will be led by Dr. Barbara Smith and Dr. Erin Barton, authors of The Preschool Inclusion Toolbox: How to Build and Lead a High-Quality Program and noted experts on inclusion in early childhood.

Schedule

The CoL will run from January, 2018 through October, 2018. An online CoL session will be held from 3:00-4:30 pm on the following dates:
In addition to the online CoL sessions, the following live events will be held:
  • Funding Workshop: Mr. Will Jenson, Special Education Director for the Nevada Department of Education, will provide a one-day workshop on braiding funding in Early Childhood. His workshop, Thinking Outside the Bucket, will provide an overview of funding sources in early childhood and considerations and strategies for effectively braiding them to meet the needs of all children. The VDOE will assume the cost of registration and lunch. The workshop will be held April, 2018 (date and location to be determined).
  • Summer Institute: Dr. Barbara Smith and Dr. Erin Barton will provide a two-day workshop to continue the CoL through face-to-face interactions and activities designed to apply what has been learned through the online sessions. The VDOE will assume the cost of registration, breakfast, and lunch for this event. Lodging for one night (July 10, 2018) may be provided for those who live more than 50 miles from the conference center. The Summer Institute will be held July 10 and 11, 2018 (location to be determined).
More information about the live events is forthcoming and will be provided as details are determined.

Requirements

All team members are to attend all CoL sessions and the summer institute. Members are encouraged to be together in the same room during the CoL sessions. Teams are to meet at least one time between CoL sessions. There will be activities identified by the CoL leaders for teams to complete between sessions designed to provide further support in increasing and improving inclusive early childhood programs.

Recertification

Points for educators working towards licensure renewal (recertification) may be awarded for participation in the online CoL and live events. A Certificate of Completion providing documentation of the activity and clock/contact hours will be provided for the online CoL and each individual live event.
VDOE provides the following requirements regarding professional development activities: Point value is one point per clock/contact hour and there must be a minimum of five hours per activity. Any educator who wants to use these items as a professional development activity for recertification needs prior approval of the school division. The school division will be responsible for designating the actual number of points that can be earned for participating in the CoL.
For questions contact Dawn Hendricks, Early Childhood Special Education Specialist at Dawn.Hendricks@doe.virginia.gov; (804) 225-2675.