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Policy reports and briefs are listed in chronological order.

NEW! Building Capacity to Enact Change for Classroom Quality Improvement in New Jersey  (January 2018)
Shannon Riley-Ayers, Sharon Ryan, Alexandra Figueras-Daniel, Vincent Costanza, and Kaitlin Northey

State Education Agencies (SEAs) across the country are working to directly impact early childhood teaching and learning in local education agencies (LEAs). To do this, the SEA must rely on local change agents to increase classroom quality across a state. The work presented in this paper set out to build the capacity of educators, teachers and leaders in New Jersey to spearhead change in LEAs with the support of the SEA.

The State of Early Learning in ESSA: Plans and Opportunities for Implementation (December 2017)
Bonnie O’Keefe

This brief focuses on three key topics for early learning in ESSA: setting clear goals and policy priorities for early learning, integrating early learning into school improvement, and supporting early childhood educator development. Based on a review of submitted state ESSA plans, the brief provides examples from state plans that highlights a variety of approaches from different state education agencies and identifies areas for further growth and attention in implementation.

Key Considerations to Assist States in Developing or Revising a Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA) Report (December 2017)
Diane Schilder and Melissa Dahlin

This report is the result of a request from two states for technical assistance to support the selection and revision of the state’s Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEA’s). Given that this is a national topic of interest, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) summarized what we gathered to provide other states with this relevant and useful information. (December 2017, Policy Brief)

Information and Resources to Assist States in Developing Policy on Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion (March 2017)
Lori Connors-Tadros and Jessica Hammond

This report includes a review of current research on the impact and prevalence of suspension and expulsion in early childhood programs and a summary of key federal and national policy on suspension and expulsion in early childhood programs. It also provides an overview of emerging state policy, descriptions of effective approaches for prevention, and considerations for states in developing policy in this area.

Building State P-3 Systems: Learning from Leading States (August 2016)
David Jacobson

This policy report focuses on the state education agency (SEA) role in supporting P-3 system building at the state and local levels. Included in the report are case studies of three states that have devoted significant attention and resources to P-3 efforts: Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Each of these states has developed statewide P-3 policy initiatives regarding standards, assessments, and instruction as well as targeted programs to support local P-3 community partnerships. The paper presents a number of themes and patterns that emerged from the comparison of the three states and concludes with 9 recommendations to help guide P-3 system-building.

Early Childhood Teacher Education Policies: Research Review and State Trends (April 2016)
Diane Schilder

This policy report provides policymakers with a review of published research on ECE workforce education and credentials as well as research on the current status of ECE wages, recruitment and retention challenges, and promising practices. It summarizes trends in state requirements regarding ECE teachers with bachelor’s degrees and specialized certification, licensure, or endorsements of pre-K teachers. The paper includes recommended actions and strategies, based on research and state suggestions, regarding approaches that states can use to recruit and retain teachers with bachelor’s degrees and ECE credentials.

State Approaches to Family Engagement in Pre-K Programs (March 2016)
Melissa Dahlin

Based off work CEELO engaged in with states, this brief focuses on approaches to family engagement in state funded pre-K programs. It discusses why family engagement is important, describes approaches to developing program guidance, and offers strategies to support effective implementation.

Sharpening the Focus: State Policy to Promote Effective Teaching that Improves Learning (November 2015)
Kate Tarrant with Lori Connors-Tadros, Jana Martella, and Debi Mathias

The BUILD Initiative and the Center for Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) have been working together with state leaders and national experts to strengthen policy that promotes effective early childhood teaching, birth through 3rd grade. A result of our ongoing collaboration, “Sharpening the Focus: State Policy to Promote Effective Teaching that Improves Learning” encourages state policymakers and their partners to critically review professional development and accountability policies, offers guidance on policy implementation, and makes recommendations for the “powerful and few” core state policies that can improve teaching and learning for all young children.

Measuring Child Outcomes in the Early Years (November 2015)
W. Steven Barnett, Shannon Riley-Ayers, and Jessica Francis

This report provides information to inform decision-making regarding the assessment of young children’s learning, development, and wellbeing (LDWB) for state and national assessments designed to influence early childhood education (ECE) policy and practice. This report draws from a scholarly discussion paper The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) produced for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that presented the pros and cons of various instruments used for reporting on international data of children’s cognitive and social outcomes.

Approaches to State Pre-K Eligibility Policy: Considerations for Policy Makers in Revising Policy to Increase Access for High Needs Children (May 2015)
Megan Carolan and Lori Connors-Tadros

As states seek to expand access to early childhood programs and services for children and families most in need, they are revising eligibility policy and practice with multiple goals in mind. A state’s eligibility policy must balance accountability for public funds with the need to provide efficient and flexible processes for program staff in documenting risk factors. Most important, the policy should prevent unintended burdens on families to access services they or their children are eligible to receive. This report provides policy makers with information on state-funded pre-K programs’ eligibility policies and the common risk factors used to prioritize enrollment. The report on the risk factors with the strongest impact on children’s school readiness is summarized. The report concludes with considerations for policy makers as they review or revise eligibility to serve more children, effectively and efficiently, in high quality early education programs.

Incorporating Early Learning Strategies in the School Improvement Grants (SIG) Program (Amended January 2015)
Lori Connors-Tadros, Lenay Dunn, Jana Martella, and Carlas McCauley

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the Center on School Turnaround (CST) collaborated to develop case studies of three selected schools receiving SIG funds that have, with the support of their districts, promoted the use of early childhood programming (PK–3) as a key strategy in their schools’ turnaround models. The goal of this document is to increase the awareness and understanding of how to effectively embed PK–3 strategies in school turnaround efforts within the SIG program. Thus, we sought schools where specific practices in the PK–3 years aligned with and accelerated promising turnaround efforts through the implementation of the SIG models.  The schools considered include Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, MA; Mann Elementary School in St. Louis, MO; and, Elliott Elementary School in Lincoln Nebraska.

December 10, 2014 letter from U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education commending the case studies to colleagues.

What Do We Know About Principal Preparation, Licensure Requirements, and Professional Development for School Leaders? (July 2014)
Kirsty Clarke Brown, Jim Squires, Lori Connors-Tadros, and Michelle Horowitz

CEELO reviewed data on 21 states’ principal licensure requirements, conducted structured interviews with experts on principal preparation and professional development in seven states, and spoke with staff at the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Institute for School Leadership. Our research reveals an array of administrator licensure titles assigned to grade-level authority across states, some permitting principals or administrators the flexibility to oversee programs ranging from early childhood through high school. To date, only Illinois has included early childhood content specifically in their licensure and accreditation processes. Early childhood content is not a required element of principal preparation or professional development for principals in most states, according to our findings. Very few states have any formal requirement for early childhood content in licensure for principals responsible for early education programs. Some states have developed policies and programs that acknowledge a need for integrating early childhood content (DE, IL, MD, NJ, PA, WA), but very few have progressed beyond initial stages of providing training or outlining policies.

Access to High Quality Early Care and Education: Readiness and Opportunity Gaps in America (May 2014)
Milagros Nores, and W. Steven Barnett

This report describes readiness and opportunity gaps in access to high quality early education. The report is organized into four main sections. The first describes the “readiness gaps” at kindergarten entry as of 2010. The remaining sections examine the extent to which there are “opportunity gaps” in the early care and education services that may be associated with those readiness gaps.

Formative Assessment: Guidance for Early Childhood Policymakers (April 2014)
Shannon Riley-Ayers, PhD

This report serves as a guide and framework to early childhood policymakers considering formative assessment, outlining issues for consideration in implementing formative assessment.This guide provides a practical roadmap for decision-makers by offering several key questions to consider in the process of selecting, supporting, and using data to inform and improve instruction.

How Are Early Childhood Teachers Faring in State Teacher Evaluation Systems? (March 2014)
Lori Connors-Tadros and Michelle Horowitz

This policy report provides state leaders and technical assistance providers with information about the design and requirements of teacher evaluations systems for early childhood teachers in 11 states. The report discusses the approach each state is taking to adapt the state system and develop resources for early childhood teachers. We identify specific opportunities and challenges state leaders are addressing in implementing student learning objectives as an alternative method of measuring early childhood teachers’ contributions to children’s learning. The report concludes with questions for further research and recommendations for state policy makers.

State of the States Policy Snapshot: State Early Childhood Assessment Policies (March 2014)
Diane Schilder and Megan E. Carolan

What child assessments are required of pre-K and Kindergarten providers? How are child assessment data used? The latest Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes brief answers these questions to provide early childhood specialists in state departments of education and other stakeholders with information to inform policy. The brief is based primarily on secondary analysis of data collected in the State of Preschool Yearbook and presents a snapshot of responses to questions about child assessment.

Building Capacity Through an Early Education Leadership Academy (December 2013)
Stacie G. Goffin, Goffin Strategy Group

This policy brief from Dr. Goffin was commissioned by CEELO as they begin designing an Early Education Leadership Academy (EELA) for early learning and K–Grade 3 State Education Agency/Early Learning Agency (SEA/ELA) administrators. The report concludes with a series of action suggestions based on the findings from this multi-­dimensional view of the leadership development needs of SEA/ELA early learning administrators.

State of the States Policy Snapshot: State Pre-K Monitoring and Evaluation Policies (November 2013)
Diane Schilder and Megan E. Carolan

This policy brief from CEELO discusses why evaluation and monitoring systems are important for quality early education and the data states collect to monitor and evaluate pre-k program

Equity and Excellence: African-American Children’s Access to Quality Preschool (November 2013)
W. Steven Barnett, Megan E. Carolan, and David Johns

This policy report, released by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), and White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans (WHIEEAA), discusses the lack of access to high-quality early childhood education experiences for African-American children and offers recommendations to expand opportunities.

Trends in State Funded Preschool Programs: Survey Findings from 2001-2002 to 2011-2012 (June 2013)
W. Steven Barnett and Megan E. Carolan

This policy report, co-released by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), discusses trends in enrollment, funding, and quality standards, as well as English Language Learner and Special Education students, in state-funded pre-K between 2001-2002 and 2011-2012.