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Summary of Early Learning Council Committee Work Areas 

Data, Research, and Evaluation

Angela Farwig, afarwig@ounceofprevention.org

The goal of the Data, Research, and Evaluation Committee will be to guide the development and implementation of a unified data system; research initiatives; and quality program and system evaluations – in order to provide better information to support and further improve early childhood programs throughout the state. To achieve this goal, the Committee will work to fulfill the following four objectives:

  1. To develop the framework for an early childhood data system that provides better information to providers, parents, policymakers, advocates and the public about the operation of Illinois’ early childhood system;
  2. To support the specific data, research, and evaluation needs of the Early Learning Council by collaborating with other committees to assist with current projects and more generally, by acting as a resource for existing and current research in the field;
  3. To provide recommendations that would define and address the larger scope of research and evaluation needs for publicly funded early childhood programs and services throughout the state of Illinois; and
  4. To remain in formed about the progress of existing early childhood data collection systems in Illinois and provide input on early childhood data to other bodies or agencies as needed.

Family & Community Engagement

Saleem Hue Penny saleem.hue.penny@actforchildren.org

Hard to Reach Families: The long-term goal is to remove obstacles and target programming to serve the neediest and hardest to reach families. The committee will continue the work of the former Hard to Reach work group. Moving forward the committee plans to:

  1. Monitor implementation of the Hard to Reach Pilot projects,
  2. Build on the Hard to Reach Toolkit, and
  3. Explore ways to increase preschool spots to communities of concentrated need and under-served Latino communities.

Family Engagement: The long-term goal is to promote parent involvement and leadership in family life, schools and communities. The committee plans to:

  1. Identify and disseminate successful approaches to engaging parents of young children,
  2. Work with funding systems to explore ways to promote successful approaches, and
  3. Create toolkits for working with ELL students.

Public Awareness: The long-term goal is to present the Council’s findings and recommendations in ways that are accessible and easily understood by the public and policy-makers. Moving forward the committee plans to:

  1. Implement the MIECHV public awareness campaign,
  2. Ensure consistent messaging across early childhood programs, and
  3. Coordinate official Council communications with the media. The committee will continue their work from the former Public Awareness work group.

Space Capacity Work Group The long-term goal is to expand program space/capacity in underserved communities. The committee will continue their work from the former Space Capacity work group. Moving forward the committee plans to:

  1. Work with the state capital grants,
  2. Track SAC grant project, and
  3. Develop strategies for continued expansion of program space.

Program Standards and Quality

Joni Scritchlow jscritchlow@inccrra.org

The committee plans to utilize and build on the work of key Councils, such as the IDHS Child Care Advisory Council, IDCFS Licensing Advisory Council, Professional Development Advisory Council and Infant and Toddler and Community Systems Work Groups to assure all goals within the ELC Strategic Plan are met. The priorities identified in the plan are:

  1. 1) TQRIS Priority: Coordinate the development and implementation of a comprehensive cross-sector TQRIS System designed to measure and support quality “improvement” across all settings.
  2. Licensing Priority: Support implementation of the proposed revisions to Child Day Care Licensing Rules
  3. Professional & Workforce Development Priority: Support a well-educated, well-compensated workforce.
  4. Birth to Age 3 Priority: Monitor and integrate infant toddler best practices throughout all early childhood systems, ensuring quality programming, access for professionals and families and coordination at state and local community levels.

Systems Integration and Alignment

Christy Serrano cserrano@ounceofprevention.org

The Systems Integration and Alignment Committee will work to improve coordination and integration across early childhood programs and systems to address the comprehensive nature of children’s healthy development and readiness for school.

  1. The Committee will work to create linkages and alignment between early care, education and K-8 systems that reflect best practices and positive outcomes for children and families
  2. The Committee will identify key areas within K-12 that have implications for early childhood and where early childhood can better align practices and policy
  3. Collaborate with Program Standards and Quality Committee and all appropriate agencies to complete development and revision of 0-5 Early Learning Guidelines/Standards, and embed 0-5 Early Learning Guidelines/Standards across all early learning and care programs, training institutes, higher education, and in TQRIS
  4. Ensure connection to other relevant tables and work of ELC committees
  5. Consider additional work priorities and prioritize work as resources allow

The committee has 4 draft workgroups:

Braiding, Blending and Sustainable Funding: the committee will identify and create recommendations to reduce barriers to braiding and utilizing funding streams to improve quality of programs and services available to children, and maximize opportunities for sustainable funding.

Health: The Committee will convene health stakeholders to determine priority work areas for health integration and alignment not adequately addressed at other tables.

Community Systems: The committee will support the ability of local community partnerships to improve outcomes for children and families in their communities through effective state policies and practices.

Special Education Integration: The Committee will research and identify State policies and practices that can improve the delivery of special education services to children 0-5, including opportunities to blend funding, joint professional development, and seamless transtion.