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A Practical Toolkit | Building State and Local Leadership for Early Childhood Education

With early childhood education recognized as an effective strategy for raising school achievement and reducing achievement gaps, there is increased demand for skilled, knowledgeable education leadership for infancy, preschool through third grade (P – 3). The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reinforces the call for P – 3 leadership, emphasizing a shift from federal to state and local levels. This toolkit provides materials and resources to help you build leadership capacity on the state and district level.

What is the purpose of the Leadership Toolkit?

The Leadership Toolkit is designed to support state and local education professionals in developing and utilizing skills, knowledge and behaviors to effectively lead and address challenges associated with advancing high-quality early learning into a P-12 continuum.

Who will find the Leadership Toolkit useful?

  • State education agency (SEA) staff with responsibility for early childhood education
  • Local education agency administrators and staff
  • Professional development specialists
  • School improvement coordinators and facilitators
  • Coaches and mentors
  • Community partners (Head Start, child care, charter schools, faith-based programs)

How is the Leadership Toolkit organized?

There are two main sections of the Toolkit: Individual Leadership and Collective Leadership. Each section contains a brief introduction with several special topics examined in greater detail, plus resources and activities. Components may be applied to personal leadership development and facilitation of group leadership experiences. Rather than serving as a step-by-step guide, the toolkit is designed as a menu of tools and resources for users to select and adapt to the specific audience and goals as appropriate. To guide personalized use of the Toolkit, a Leadership Self-Assessment has been developed which corresponds with specific sections and topics. Finally, several examples of leadership development programs bridging national, state and local level have been included.

BOTH/AND

Leadership can be viewed on two levels – Individual and Collective. Individual Leadership consists of attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors possessed by a person identified as a leader, someone others will trust and follow. Collective Leadership is more group-oriented, capitalizing on the collective attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors of members to engage in improving a condition.

Sustained improvement relies on both individual and collective engagement and ownership by stakeholders. Strategies for developing and supporting leadership on these two levels are different yet complementary. Click on the buttons below for additional information and resources.

 

What results can be expected from using the Leadership Toolkit?

Leadership development is an on-going process and it is highly contextualized depending on one’s state or community, agency or program, position, and personal characteristics. No single course or resource can fully prepare or support leaders for the tasks ahead. That said, this toolkit will help:

  • Broaden and strengthen personal leadership knowledge and skills within a professional context
  • Increase the effectiveness of groups tasked with collectively designing and implementing initiatives, addressing stubborn challenges, and improving results for young learners
  • Identify resources for building P – 3 leadership, including leadership development examples and programs

Where do I begin?

CEELO has developed an accompanying Leadership Self-Assessment to assist users in determining their level of knowledge, skills, and behaviors in support of leading early education efforts. You are encouraged to take this survey first which can guide you to sections of greatest relevance for your particular leadership path.

Go to the Self-Assessment

Can I access additional assistance if needed?

CEELO can provide assistance to states on using the Leadership Toolkit and designing Leadership Institutes to support individual and collective leadership to advance P – 3 results on both state and local levels. CEELO also provides numerous resources and links relevant to leadership such as this Annotated Guide to Leadership Resources. Contact CEELO at info@ceelo.org or speak with a State Liaison contact.

Individual Leadership  Collective Leadership