Guide to Trend Mapping 

A trend map is a visual depiction of relevant trends influencing the system around a given topic. Developing a trend map can help a group deepen their understanding of an issue through exploring related history, identifying key external factors, and tracking shifts in social and cultural norms.

This guide will walk you through a feasibility assessment as well as how to prepare for and facilitate a trend mapping activity.

View the System Tools Matrix to help determine when trend mapping is the right tool.

Source: FSG

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Results Driven Accountability: IDEA Part C Results Data in Determinations | Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog

OSEP is committed to implementing a results-driven accountability framework that leads to increased state and local capacity to improve results and functional outcomes for children with disabilities. As part of this effort, OSEP asked the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA ( to provide input on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C results measures that could be used to review states’ performance results of their infants and toddlers with disabilities who receive early intervention services. An explanation of ECTA’s recommendations is contained in a presentation entitled Using Child Outcomes Data for Determinations, A Proposal. In addition, a more detailed account of the proposed approach is contained in ECTA’s report entitled Documentation of the Recommended Analysis for Using Child Outcomes Data for IDEA Part C Determinations.

Source: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog

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Letter for the Administration for Children and Families

September 2014

Dear Colleagues,

As parents all over the country help their children pack their book bags for the start of school, this is a perfect time to reflect on one of the most important influencers of achievement: attendance. September is Attendance Awareness Month, a nationwide recognition of the importance of attendance on development, learning, and academic achievement.

We have known for a long time that regular attendance in school is important for children’s success. We are now learning how important regular attendance is even in the earliest years. Research suggests that chronic absenteeism in preschool can predict chronic absenteeism in the later grades and consequent risk for academic underachievement. For example, one study found that about 25 percent of students who were chronically absent in Pre-K and kindergarten were retained in later grades, compared to nine percent of their regularly attending peers.(1) That’s a big disparity. A child’s first educational setting, whether in Head Start, child care, or preschool may be where children begin to form lifelong habits and routines. While some young children and families may face barriers to regular attendance, it is crucial that programs work with parents to do everything possible to help children get to their early learning program.

The reasons children are absent often relate to factors overwhelming to families in poverty—transportation issues, irregular work schedules, chronic health problems, or unstable housing. Also, some families think of early education as primarily child care and are unaware of the importance or regular attendance.

So what can you do help improve attendance in your program?

  1. Use data: Track attendance and use the data to identify chronically absent children. Chronic absenteeism is defined as being absent 10 percent of the time, whether the days are consecutive or sporadic they all add up!(2) Keep in mind that only looking at class averages may mask attendance concerns for individual children, so be sure to look at individual and class-wide patterns. By monitoring attendance closely, you can identify at-risk children and intervene early.  Avoid policies that result in dropping or dis-enrolling children without ensuring the cause of low attendance has been identified and every effort has been made to resolve the problem.
  2. Let children and families know you are concerned: Family relationships with caregivers are key. Children and families may be more encouraged to come to school if they know they will be met with people who care about their wellbeing. Children should feel included, safe, and loved and families should feel supported and heard. By fostering relationships between the caregiver and the child and the family, we can make school a more desirable place to be. When frequent absences are unavoidable due to chronic health problems or child custody issues, for example, work with parents to support the child’s learning when they can’t come to the center.
  3. Identify factors contributing to absenteeism: When you identify chronically absent children, talk to their families about it. Try to identify the barriers to their regular attendance. Connect to community resources that canoffer stability to families, like transportation, housing, or health assistance, as needed. These factors, among many others, may be contributing to chronic absenteeism.
  4. Communicate how good attendance contributes to early learning: The benefits of preschool and rich early learning opportunities have been well established by the research over the past several decades. However, preschool and in many cases, even kindergarten, is voluntary. Make sure families know the value of what children are learning at such young ages. It is during these first years that children build the foundation for how and what they will learn for the rest of their academic careers and beyond.

Early learning programs can partner with their community and work with families to assure all of their needs are met and they are able to bring their children to their early care and education center regularly. Programs should also visit Attendance Works for helpful resources to improve attendance. A nationwide movement to improve attendance is an important strategy to help eliminate educational disparities, including the achievement gap. During Attendance Awareness Month, we are asking you to join us in this nationwide movement.

/s/ Linda K. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families
/s/ Shannon L. Rudisill, Director, Office of Child Care
/s/ Ann Linehan, Acting Director, Office of Head Start


Knowing the Numbers: Accessing and Using Child Welfare Data

September 3, 2014

Data can be an incredibly powerful tool for child welfare advocates, policymakers, and program administrators in their work to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families. From identifying target population characteristics and needs, to documenting program or service outcomes, to assessing a policy’s effect, using data to inform efforts to help children and families thrive is critical. Data can play an invaluable role in helping to highlight the need for a program, service, or policy, or to communicate about how a particular population is faring. They provide objective evidence to “make the case.”This brief, authored by Sharon Vandivere and Kerry DeVooght at Child Trends,  provides an overview of data sources that are useful to the child welfare community specifically and answers the following questions: What are the major data sources? What can I do with the data/what can they tell me? How do I access them both the public-use datasets with child-level information, as well as summary data?

Source: State Policy Advocacy & Reform Center

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Data in Head Start and Early Head Start: Digging Into Data – Head Start

Welcome to Digging Into Data. Do you sometimes wonder how you can use your program’s data to decide on new priorities? Are you frequently stumped by questions from governing body or Policy Council members about program activities? Do you get easily overwhelmed by the statistics in reports from your information management system? Do you wonder how you can better use your annual report and presentations in the community to tell your program’s story?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, this interactive training module is for you.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center and National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations

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Measuring What Matters: Using Data to Support Family Progress


Wondering how you can use data to strengthen your work with families? Explore this series to learn relationship-based ways to partner with families and support progress on PFCE Outcomes.

Source: National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement

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Management Matters – Head Start

Management Matters is a series of informational videos developed by the National Center for Program Management and Fiscal Operations (PMFO). Each 15- to 20-minute presentation focuses on an aspect of program management or fiscal operations valuable to a busy Head Start leader. We’ve provided the full presentation and resource materials below, along with a PowerPoint file with notes for leaders who wish to present the material to others. Take a short break from your hectic daily life to listen, watch, and learn about an important management matter.

Source: National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations/Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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Improving Early Education Programs through Data-based Decision Making

While state-funded preschool programs have been growing, reliable guidance on how best to study program effectiveness remains limited. This working paper from NIEER presents five options for studying program effectiveness, summarizing each option in chart form and providing estimated costs for each evaluation.

Source: National Institute for Early Education Research

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