Essential Elements of State Early Childhood Systems

On February 18, 2010, Smart Start will host a national interactive online conference on the hottest topic in the early childhood field. The National Smart Start Conference Online will elaborate on the vision behind the Federal Early Learning Challenge Fund and present promising practices for implementing the essential elements within a state early childhood development system.

Conference Agenda

Opening Keynote
11 am to Noon (EST)
Joan Lombardi, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will elaborate on this vision behind the Early Learning Challenge Fund. The new federal administration has added fresh energy and initiative to the early childhood work that has been taking place in states. The Early Learning Challenge Fund focuses on the essential elements within a state early childhood development system.

Data
Noon to 1 pm (EST)
Where are the children? What programs and services are they receiving? What are the results of these experiences in a child’s development? These are key questions that most data systems cannot currently answer. The Head Start Act of 2007 charges every state to develop recommendations on establishing a unified data collection system. Hear from data experts who have succeeded in creating data systems with the elements needed to make data work for young children, practitioners, and policymakers.
Janice Gruendel, Ph.D., Senior Policy Advisor on Children and Youth Connecticut’s Governor M. Jodi Rell
Kelly Swanson, Communications & Public Policy Director, PA Early Learning Keys to Quality

QRIS
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm (EST)
“Quality” is the watchword of what research tells us about how programs serve young children best. Our presenters will discuss how states are using Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) to define, measure and document quality and drive change across states. They also will touch on how QRIS models can provide policy levers for early childhood systems development and improvement.
Peggy M. Ball, Education and Management Policy Analyst, Cansler Fuquay Solutions, Inc.

Engaging Families
2:30 pm to 3:30 pm (EST)
Families are the field’s central allies in assuring successful early childhood development. Critical to a successful journey is their engagement and support for all dimensions of the child’s learning. This session will highlight how families can be enlisted and empowered to support health, social and emotional outcomes, and how these relate to education progress and effects in the cognitive domain.
Janice L. Cooper, Ph.D., Interim Director, National Center for Children in Poverty

Professional Development
4 pm to 5 pm (EST)
An early childhood development system is a complex enterprise — but where the rubber hits the road is in the classrooms and settings where professionals interact with children. Our speakers will provide national and “on-the-ground” perspectives on the most promising characteristics of professional development programs and practices with an eye toward systemic and integrated solutions to a skilled workforce.
Sharon Lynn Kagan, Ed.D., Co-Director, National Center for Children and Families
Deb Torrence, NC Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development

Closing Keynote
5 pm to 6 pm (EST)
Stephanie Fanjul, President of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc.

Additional presenters will be announced shortly. Register online at http://www.ncsmartstart.org/conference/2010/reg-info.html.

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