With mixed emotions, I just put my children on the bus for the last time for this school year. Part of me is happy to have a brief reprieve from the 7 a.m. walk to the bus stop and to begin the extended evenings of swimming, bike riding, and neighborhood walks. The other side of me is sad to see another year ending and to realize I know have a third grader and a seventh grader(!). I think to myself—like every mother does this time of year—where has the time gone?
It seems like only months ago I was struggling to find an early childhood program for my children. I faced the same dilemma as every other parent in the United States--who will care for my precious children and how will I find a place that is high quality, affordable, open during my working hours, and has an open space? Unfortunately, this dilemma continues for hundreds of thousands of families. High quality education for children birth through five is a scarce resource in most communities across the country.
Last week, the federal government took a small step towards alleviating this dilemma. The Administration for Children and Families released the Early Head Start Expansion and EHS Child Care Partnership Grant. The program has $500 million behind it and is the first rung in President Obama’s early childhood agenda. It took me two cups of coffee to get through it, but I just finished reviewing the 60-page funding opportunity announcement. Below are answers to a few of the key questions.
Who is eligible?
The grant is open to all public entities, including states, or private non-profit organizations, including community-based or faith-based organizations, or for-profit agencies.
Do I need to be a current EHS grantee to apply?
New entities or existing EHS grantees can apply to use funding to partner with local child care providers to provide comprehensive high quality services to eligible infants and toddlers through the EHS-CC Partnership.
Do I need to create partnerships to apply?
If you apply for the EHS-CC Partnership grant, you must have community partners within your project. You can also apply to expand your center-based slots in traditional Early Head Start programs through expansion (Non-Partnership) grants.
When is the response deadline?
The application is due Wednesday, August 20, 2014 (which is also the day my children go back to school!).
What is the maximum length of the response?
The total response may not be longer than 75 pages. All pages above that number will not be read.
How much money is being provided?
The award ceiling for individual grants is just under $55 million, but the average award is expected to be $1.5 million.
What is the expected project length?
The expected project length is 59 months. It will be 11 months in the first year and 12 months for the remaining 4 years.
Will the CLASS measure be used in the monitoring of these EHS projects?
The CLASS measure is not used in the monitoring of EHS grantees. However, the FOA does note in Section 4.2. that the applicant must describe how it will “create high-quality staff to ensure the retention of staff and to create the kind of responsive and continuous relations between caregiver and children that are crucial to learning and development of infants and toddlers.” Providing teachers with professional development focused on teacher-child interactions will establish a basis for these types of responsive and continuous relationships and enhance the quality of the programs.
Is professional development a required component of the project?
Absolutely! Professional development is essential to improve the quality of programs. In Section 4.3, the FOA notes that the applicant must “describe an ongoing strategy for professional development, evidence-based coaching/mentoring, and supervision that supports reflective practice oriented to improving skills, knowledge, and effectiveness.” The CLASS framework of learn-measure-improve meets the criteria for the professional development as described in the FOA.
Our new Implementation Guide (coming out later this summer) will have lots of resources to help you think through how to leverage the CLASS system in your organization. Fill out the form on this page to ensure you receive a copy hot off the presses. In the meantime, if you'd like to schedule a time to brainstorm with someone about your grant, please check the corresponding box on the form and we will schedule a time with myself or one of our Client Implementation Managers.
For more resources, take a look at Part 2 of this post where I discuss a few Teachstone resources to help you through the process.
If you would like to schedule a time to brainstorm with someone about your grant, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will schedule a time with myself or one of our Client Implementation Managers.
I recognize and admit to having a chip on my shoulder about the field of early childhood education - and, at times, disbelief that others may not see that period of time as the power-packed years in our developmental timeline which can lay the groundwork and set the course for much of the rest of our lives.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.