Letter on Bullying

8/20/2013

Dear Colleague,

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) is committed to working with States to ensure that school districts provide all children with positive, safe, and nurturing school environments fin which they can learn, develop, and participate. OSERS is issuing this letter to provide an overview of a school district’s responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to address bullying of students with disabilities.

Enclosure: Effective Evidence-based Practices for Preventing and Addressing Bullying

Source: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS)

Available at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/bullyingdcl-8-20-13.pdf

Synthesis of IES Research on Early Intervention and Early Childhood Education

7/2013

The purpose of this synthesis is to describe what we have learned from research grants on early intervention and childhood education funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Research and National Center for Special Education Research and published in peer-reviewed outlets through June 2010. This synthesis is not intended to be the typical research review, which provides a broad overview of research in a field. Rather, it looks across the projects that IES funded to determine what has been learned and to suggest to the field avenues for further research to support improvements in early childhood education in our country.

It is important to contextualize this report. Soon after it was founded, IES launched a broad range of research programs to better understand the links between early childhood education, early intervention, and children’s learning and development; develop more powerful interventions for improving child outcomes; rigorously test the impact of programs, practices, and policies on child outcomes; and develop and validate assessment measures for use with young children. Among these research programs are those that focus on improving developmental outcomes and school readiness for young children with or at risk for disabilities. In the synthesis report accompanying this Summary, we give special attention to summarizing what has been learned about early childhood classrooms as contexts for development and learning, the kinds of instructional practices and curricula that appear to be efficacious for enhancing children’s development and learning, and approaches for improving teachers’ and other practitioners’ (e.g., speech, occupational, or physical therapists) instruction, given hypothesized linkages between instructional quality, instructional effectiveness and children’s learning.

To support the development of this report, IES identified its research grants relevant to the topic and gathered the peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters produced under these grants. IES staff consulted with its grantees to confirm that all peer-reviewed articles emerging from these projects and published or in-press by June 2010 were identified. The articles and chapters were then provided to a panel that included four nationally-recognized experts in early childhood education. Through several conference calls, panel members decided on the focus and organizing themes for the synthesis. The written report reflects their expert judgment as to the contributions of the reviewed articles and chapters toward advancing knowledge and practice in early childhood education.

Source: Institute of Educational Sciences

Available at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncser/pubs/20133001/pdf/20133001.pdf

New Early Learning Deputy Assistant Secretary to be Appointed

7/30/2013

Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Dr. Libby Doggett will be named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education. She will head up the Office of Early Learning within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), which jointly administers the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) program with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This fall, the Departments will hold another RTT-ELC competition.

In her role as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dr. Doggett will work closely with the White House on promoting President Obama’s plan to make high-quality, full-day preschool available to all 4-year-olds from low- to moderate-income families through a new state-federal partnership. The plan is part of the President’s proposal to create a birth to age five pipeline of services and supports, including investments in home visiting and Early Head Start-child care partnerships, to prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond. The plan also includes $750 million in Preschool Development Grants, which the Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved as part of its mark-up of the FY 14 appropriations bill.

Source: US Department of Education

Available at: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USED/bulletins/856e23?reqfrom=share

Kicking Off the 2013 Let’s Read! Let’s Move! Summer Series

7/12/2013

“To make your dreams come true, it takes hard work,” Michelle Kwan said to a room of young learners at the kick-off of this year’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! summer enrichment series at the U.S. Department of Education. The Olympic figure skater and member of the President’s Council on Fitness reminded them that it’s important to “practice, practice, practice.”

Kwan, along with Secretary Duncan, Sam Kass, White House chef and Let’s Move! executive director, and Congressman John Kline (R-MN) chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, came together as part of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s United We Serve: Let’s Read! Let’s Move! initiative, which engages youth in summer reading and physical activity, as well as provides information about healthy, affordable food.

More than 175 preschool and elementary school children from the DC area participated in an afternoon filled with an interactive cooking lesson from teacher, chef and advocate for children’s nutrition Kathy Powers, story time with Picky Peggy and Can I Play Too?, and activities like “Shopping Cart Nutrition Race” and “Make a Salad Relay,” with the help of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.

Children were encouraged to continue reading this summer with a new book and book bag compliments of Target. At the end of the afternoon, each child left with full bellies, bright smiles, and inspiration to continue to work hard to reach their dreams.

The next installments of the Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series will be on July 17, 24, August 1 and 6. Each event supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, which promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle, while also encouraging strong early learning programs to ensure bright futures for children. Watch the video below for highlights from the kickoff event.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Available at: http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/07/kicking-off-the-2013-lets-read-lets-move-summer-series/

Preschool for All Town Hall

Friday, July 19th, 2013 at 12:45 pm (MDT) in Denver and Live Via the Internet

Please join U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (in person or live via the internet) for a town hall on the President’s Preschool for All initiative, hosted by Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia. The town hall will be held Friday, July 19th at 12:45 pm (MDT) in the Administration Building facing Martin Luther King Blvd. at the Clayton Early Learning Campus, 3801 Martin Luther King Blvd in Denver, CO.

President Obama has proposed an unprecedented, far-reaching investment in America’s youngest children.  This birth-to-five initiative includes  $75 billion over ten years, nationally, in federal-state partnerships to provide high-quality, preschool for all four-year-olds whose families are economically at (or below) 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The proposal also seeks to boost the quality and supply of federally subsidized child care for infants and toddlers, as well as expand a voluntary home visiting program to help parents create environments for their children to develop and learn.

The purpose of the town hall is to give local educators, parents, business leaders and other stakeholders in early learning a chance to hear directly from the Secretary and local leaders about this policy while it is still being formed and provide input.

For those not able to attend the Secretary’s Town Hall in person, the session will be broadcast in listen only mode via Adobe Connect at 12:45 pm MDT:http://connect.enetcolorado.org/earlylearningtownhall .

Questions and comments in response to the Town Hall can be sent to U.S. Dept. of Education Rocky Mountain Communications Rockymountain@ed.gov

Please include your name, organization and contact information in your email.  

To test your computer access please click here.

Link to a description of the President’s plan and other resources:  http://www.ed.gov/early-learning

Space is limited for the in-person event in Denver. Please RSVP to Ltgovernor.garcia@state.co.us. Contact Helen.littlejohn@ed.gov  if you have any questions.

Proposed Changes to the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge | NewAmerica.net

5/31/2013

This month the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released proposed changes to future Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge competitions, which would be limited to states that have not already received a RTT-ELC grant.

For the most part, the requirements proposed by ED and HHS are identical to previous rounds. But there are five main changes, two of which have to do with the competition’s priorities.

The topics of the proposed priorities for future competitions are essentially the same as the first round. (These include: promoting school readiness for children with high-needs; including all early learning programs in quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS); understanding the status of children’s learning and development at kindergarten entry; sustaining improved early learning outcomes through the early elementary grades; and encouraging private-sector support.) In future rounds, however, the departments have discretion on which priorities they select and the weight each priority is assigned. For example, in the first RTT-ELC competition, “Sustaining Program Effects in the Early Elementary Grades” was an invitational priority, which means it did not earn an applicant any extra points. It appears that in future competitions, this could be elevated to a competitive (optional and point-earning) or absolute (required) priority.

Source: Early Ed Watch, The New America Foundation

Available at: http://earlyed.newamerica.net/blogposts/2013/proposed_changes_to_the_race_to_the_top_early_learning_challenge-84994

The number of high-poverty schools increases by about 60 percent

Poverty is getting so concentrated in America that one out of five public schools was classified as as a “high-poverty” school in 2011 by the U.S.  Department of Education. To win this unwelcome designation, 75 percent or more of an elementary, middle or high school’s students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. About a decade earlier, in 2000, only one in eight public schools was deemed to be high poverty. That’s about a 60 percent increase in the number of very poor schools!

This  figure was part of a large data report, The Condition of Education 2013, released by the National Center for Education Statistics on May 23, 2013.  There’s a lot to chew on in it. But school poverty jumped out at me as a really depressing data point showing the growing income inequality in America.

Qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch is an imperfect measure of poverty.  A mother with two kids who makes under $35,000 a year would be in this group.  Certainly, that’s poor family in New York City, but maybe not destitute in Utah. I’ve also heard that many poor families feel that it is such a stigma to accept a discounted or free lunch that they don’t sign up for the program. So the poverty rates in many schools are probably much higher than the official statistics say they are.

Here is the chart of income thresholds to qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.

Source: Education By The Numbers, The Hechinger Report

Available at: http://educationbythenumbers.org/content/the-number-of-high-poverty-schools-increases-by-about-60-percent_161/

Opening Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the Panel “The Obama Preschool Initiative” | U.S. Department of Education

May 29, 2013

My thanks to Ron Haskins, and the Brookings Institution, for hosting this discussion about President Obama’s landmark proposal for high-quality preschool.

And I’m happy to see Congresswoman Nancy Johnson, who’s been a longtime champion for children and a great thought-partner on the President’s proposal.

As you know, the President has proposed a groundbreaking plan for supporting and preparing our nation’s children from birth to age 5 in a seamless continuum.

For children ages zero to three, the President’s proposal includes a new Early Head Start-Child Care partnership at the Department of Health and Human Services to improve quality, and it expands the Administration’s home visiting initiative. Home visiting is showing great results.

As anyone who’s ever had to care for a new baby knows, you need all the help and advice you can get. And that is often especially the case for struggling single parents, first-time parents, and teen parents.

For four-year-olds, the President’s proposal would create a new federal-state partnership to enable states to provide voluntary, universal, high-quality preschool for children from low- and moderate-income families.

These are critical, long-term investments in early learning that our country needs. They are the best, most effective tool we have to close achievement and opportunity gaps.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Available at: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/opening-remarks-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-panel-obama-preschool-initiative

U.S. Department of Education Launches New Early Learning Map on DATA.ED.GOV

4/12/12

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has launched a new early learning mapping site on http://data.ed.gov so the interested individuals can use tools to look at discretionary ED grant programs that focus on or include early learning.

Data.ed.gov is a website developed by the Department of Education to share data about its grant programs and is part of the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative. ED will use data.ed.gov to publish data sets about its grant programs and performance and other data that it collects on an ongoing basis.

Data.ed.gov builds on the approach of data.gov by including tools that allow users to visualize the data. Users can enter terms into the “Search” field to find applications that match the specified terms, select filters to narrow the list of applicants to a specific group of interest, and zoom in on different areas of the map. By clicking on the dots on the map, users can see which programs are located in a state, city or other geographic area.

Please visit http://data.ed.gov to learn more.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Apply to Serve as an i3 Peer Reviewer

The Investing in Innovation (i3) competition is one of the U.S. Department of Education’s signature initiatives. The i3 program currently supports 72 grantees across the country, and the Department has just announced a new competition for i3 applicants (please seehttp://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html for more information on the newly announced i3 grant competition).

Selecting the winning i3 applicants is integral to the overall success of the program, and we are hopeful that you might be able to lend your time and expertise to this endeavor. All i3 grantees are selected through a rigorous peer review process.  The Department is currently seeking reviewers with expertise in one or more of the following Absolute Priorities, or in education evaluation, for the recently announced 2012 i3 competition:

1.       Supporting Effective Teachers and Principals

2.       Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education

3.       Improving Parent and Family Engagement (this is a new priority for the i3 competition this year)

4.       Implementing Standards and Assessments

5.       Turning Around Low-Performing Schools

6.       Improving Achievement in Rural LEA’s

OR

Education Research and Evaluation

Please note that while it is essential that you have subject-matter expertise in at least one of the aforementioned Absolute Priorities, it is not necessary to have expertise in multiple areas listed above.

In addition, the Department is seeking reviewers with experience in:

  1. Innovation
  2. Growth and Scaling Programs/Organizations
  3. Strategic Planning
  4. Grant Making and/or Oversight

Selected reviewers will receive a stipend and will work remotely on a part-time basis. Reviewers must be available for at least one of the following time periods:

  • Approximately late April to late May (not full-time); and/or
  • Approximately mid-June to late July (not full-time); and/or
  • Approximately mid-August to mid-September (not full-time).

To apply to be an i3 peer reviewer, please follow the instructions in the Registering in G5 for i3 Peer Reviewers PowerPoint posted onhttp://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html. You will be asked to register and submit your resume. When the system prompts you for your areas of specialization, please ensure you select at least one of the i3 Absolute Priorities: teacher/principal effectiveness, STEM education, standards/assessments, parent/family engagement, school turnarounds and/or rural achievement.

Please share this invitation with anyone who may be interested in being peer reviewer for i3. Having a diverse, experienced and knowledgeable pool of peer reviewers is critical to the i3 competition and the Department’s overall efforts to enhance the implementation of leading practices that produce meaningful results for our neediest students, and we strongly encourage all interested peer reviewers to apply. The deadline for applying to be a peer reviewer is Wednesday, March 28, 2012.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at i3peerreview@ed.gov .

Sincerely,

i3 Team