Ensuring School Readiness Community of Practice


SECC will establish a regional community of practice (CoP) focused on ensuring school readiness and success of preschool-age children in the five states in its region. This CoP will provide a forum in which SEA representatives can interact and collaborate with national experts and staffs from other SEAs to learn about research-based and emerging promising practices in the area of school readiness, analyze their state's use of resources to address this topic, and develop strategies for strengthening connections between services provided through funding sources and K–12 standards and expectations in the state.

This project is in the following states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

This project relates to the following ED Priority:

  • Ensuring the school readiness and success of preschool-age children and their successful transition to kindergarten

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Previous Work Updates

2016

October

On October 3, SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally. The SECC early childhood team continued to update the virtual community site with current research-based information and practices as well as early childhood news and events. The site serves as a vehicle for collaboration and knowledge building to strengthen early childhood systems across the region. The SECC early childhood team also disseminated the monthly ECCoP E-Newsletter to sustain collaborative efforts and deepen awareness of early childhood activities and efforts across the southeast region and nationally. In addition, the SECC team shared several E-Alerts with information about upcoming webinars that are important to states’ work with ESSA. The team also sought feedback from CoP members concerning how SECC can better meet their needs and to learn about topics of interest. Presently, 90% of the members have participated in the survey.

September

On September 6, SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally. CEELO, and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) held a phone conference on September 7 to discuss ways to incorporate early education in their ESSA state plan. The conversation focused on developing a template for the state’s ESSA plan and facilitating stakeholders’ meetings. SECC early childhood project lead, Kathleen Theodore, participated in CEELO’s regional comprehensive center’s (RCCs) collaborative discussion on “ESSA, SEAs, and Us” on September 19. The discussion was led by Chris Dwyer, early learning lead of the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center. The conversation focused on implications of ESSA and opportunities for early learning, SEA roles and responsibilities, what is being heard from states about ESSA/early learning and their requests for assistance, and coordinating communication between CEELO and the RCCs on technical assistance. On September 21, SECC early childhood project lead, Kathleen Theodore, and REL Southeast and AIR Senior Researcher Zena Rudo held a phone conference to discuss early childhood efforts in both SECC and REL Southeast and to discuss ways to collaborate. In addition, SECC and CEELO conducted their regular monthly phone conference with Dr. Jill Dent, MDE director of early childhood. During the meeting, SECC and CEELO learned about early childhood events in Mississippi for the month of September as well as future plans by the department. The two centers, SECC and CEELO, served as thought partners as well as facilitated discussions on ways to coordinate technical assistance work in Mississippi.

August

The SECC early childhood team and MACC held an early childhood webinar titled Data Use and Early Education: What Do We Need to Know? MACC Early Childhood Liaison Chris Dwyer led 115 participants through nine practical principles to build and support a culture of data utilization in early learning environments, including settings where preschool providers and K–3 teachers come together to discuss their practices. In addition, the webinar provided several examples of common questions to structure data reviews, suggestions for types of data to include in reviews, a template for planning and organizing data review routines, and a four-stage data dialogue protocol. Although the results of the survey feedback form have not been finalized, the webinar received excellent commendations. In addition, the webinar recording and materials are available on the SECC website at http://secc.sedl.org On another note, the SECC Early Childhood Project Lead Kathleen Theodore and CEELO staff held their monthly phone conference to discuss technical assistance plans for Year 5.

July

SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally. In addition, CEELO and SECC focused on plans for collaboration during Year 5. SECC worked collaboratively with the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center to coordinate the webinar titled Data Use and Early Education: What Do We Need to Know? The two comprehensive centers are very excited about their collaborative partnership. A registration link was emailed to SEA early childhood specialist and stakeholders. Several participants have expressed their interest in this topic as well as their appreciation for the opportunity to attend the webinar. In addition, some participants have forwarded the webinar information to early childhood specialists and stakeholders across the country. Currently, over 200 participants have registered. The webinar is scheduled August 10, 2016, at 10 a.m. CDT.

June

On June 1–3, SECC project lead, Kathleen Theodore, participated in the CEELO Roundtable Meeting. This meeting brings together national early childhood experts, SEAs, and regional comprehensive centers’ early childhood liaisons. Theodore was able to network with SEAs in the SECC region as well as support CEELO during the meeting. In addition, Theodore met with CEELO and other CCs’ early childhood liaisons to discuss technical assistance needs for SEAs regarding early childhood and collaborative efforts. In addition, the SECC early childhood team continued to update the virtual community site with current research-based information and practices and early childhood news and events. The site serves as a vehicle for collaboration and knowledge building to strengthen early childhood systems across the region. The SECC early childhood team also disseminated the monthly ECCoP E-newsletter to sustain collaborative efforts and deepen awareness of early childhood activities and efforts across the southeast region and nationally. On June 27, the SECC ECCoP team will begin one of several meetings to plan SECC’s Year 5 role in early childhood. The agenda includes discussing lessons learned and selecting strategies for high impact and positive outcomes in early childhood.

May

The SECC ECCoP team held a monthly phone conference with the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center to plan the ECCoP webinar entitled, Early Childhood Data Use: What Do We Need to Know. The webinar is scheduled for August 10, at 10 a.m. CT. SECC and CEELO also held a monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region as well as nationally. On May 5, SECC Project Lead Kathleen Theodore served as a respondent/discussant for CEELO’s webinar entitled, Early Childhood Teacher Education Policies: Research Review and State Trends. During the webinar, Theodore shared reactions and feedback about the recently released CEELO document on early childhood teacher education policies, Early Childhood Teacher Education Policies: Research Review and State Trend.

April

The SECC Early Childhood Team began to make plans for the ECCoP webinar entitled, Early Childhood Data Use: What Do We Need to Know. A poll was sent to all community members to elicit preferences for a date and time. In addition, the team also to began to discuss plans for a webinar on social and emotional learning, ESSA, and accountability. The SECC early childhood team continued to update the virtual community site with current research-based information and practices, early childhood news and events. The site serves as a means to deepen awareness and utilization of research-based practices and to sustain the collaborative work of the community. SECC Project Lead Kathleen Theodore registered for the upcoming CEELO Roundtable Event. The theme of this event is “Mobilizing an Exceptional Early Childhood Workforce. During this meeting, Theodore will have an opportunity to network and conduct needs sensing with SEA early childhood specialists in the SECC region as well as other regional comprehensive centers’ early childhood liaisons.

March

SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally. The SECC ECCoP team in collaboration with CEELO hosted the third monthly community of practice phone conference between Alabama and Mississippi early childhood staff. The discussion focused on specialized early childhood credentials and lessons learned from Alabama about its implementation of a comprehensive early childhood assessment, Teaching Strategies Gold. Alabama’s lessons learned from implementing Teaching Strategies Gold will help to build Mississippi’s capacity to make informed decisions in selecting an early childhood comprehensive assessment. The SECC early childhood team disseminated the monthly ECCoP E-newsletter on March 15 to members of the early childhood CoP. The newsletter highlighted early childhood resources, upcoming early childhood events, professional development, as well as state highlights from SECC’s region. The SECC early childhood team continued to update the virtual community site with current research-based information and practices and early childhood news and events. The site serves as a means to deepen awareness and utilization of research-based practices and to sustain the collaborative work of the community.

February

The early childhood team continued to plan an ECCoP webinar entitled, “Data Use in Early Education: What Do We Need to Know?” SECC project lead, Kathleen Theodore, corresponded with the state liaisons to compare state calendars for the month of April. The SECC early childhood team will also have a face-to-face meeting with the state liaisons during the March SECC team meetings to continue planning efforts. The team disseminated the monthly ECCoP E-newsletter to sustain collaborative efforts and deepen awareness of early childhood activities and efforts across the southeast region and nationally. In addition, the team conducted weekly updates of the virtual community site. The virtual community site enables SEA early childhood specialists to access current, research-based information and practices, early childhood news, events, and PD.

January

The SECC ECCoP team in collaboration with CEELO hosted the second monthly community of practice phone conference between Alabama and Mississippi early childhood staff. During the meeting, staff from each state shared early childhood plans and resources as well as discussed how they were meeting the PD needs of early childhood teachers. The next meeting is in March. A next step for the ECCoP is to either invite more states to participate or conduct small-group meetings between other states.

2015

December

The SECC Early Childhood Community of Practice welcomed several early childhood members to the community. The new members include Dr. Cathy Grace, director of the Early Childhood Institute at the University of Mississippi; Dr. Kymyona Burk, Mississippi Department of Education state literacy director; and Holly Spivey, director of the Mississippi Head Start Collaboration Office. They are so glad that Dr. Grace, Dr. Burk, and Holly Spivey have joined our community. Beginning in January, Alabama and Mississippi early childhood staff will continue to collaborate through monthly phone conferences.

November

The SECC Early Childhood Team held a phone conference with the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center’s (MACC) Early Childhood Liaison Chris Dwyer to discuss plans for conducting the ECCoP’s webinar on early childhood data use. As a result of this meeting, the ECCoP will conduct a series of webinars on data use. The first webinar topic will focus on principles of data use and will be a joint MACC and SECC webinar that will be offered to the five states in each of the two centers’ regions. SECC staff are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with another comprehensive center as well as the opportunity to offer their states valuable professional development. In addition, the SECC ECCoP hosted a community of practice phone conference between early childhood specialists in Alabama and Mississippi. Based on prior needs assessments that were conducted with both of these states, the purpose of the call was to discuss and share each state’s monitoring and coaching plans for their early childhood programs. As a result of this CoP phone conference, the early childhood specialists are sharing resources and communicating through email. The SECC ECCoP will organize monthly phone conferences with additional Alabama and Mississippi early childhood specialists participating in these conversations.

October

Based on feedback from the Early Childhood Community of Practice Engagement Survey, the early childhood team emailed community members a brief reminder to visit the virtual site. The email also highlighted several key resources that are posted in the Resource Area as well as a new state highlight that focused on Mississippi. SECC staff also conducted a needs assessment with the MDE Director of Early Childhood Jill Dent. As a result of this needs assessment, the community of practice will extend invitations for several key MDE early childhood specialists to join the community. In addition, SECC staff began to make plans to host a webinar. The webinar will focus on data-based decision-making processes that foster continuous quality improvement in early childhood programs birth to Grade 3.

September

The SECC ECCoP Team welcomed Pamela Bonsu, an AIR researcher, to the team. Pamela brings a plethora of early childhood experience to the team. Survey results from the ECCoP virtual site indicate that it has helped SEAs by providing a forum to share information and keep up to date on early childhood news. The CoP site has served as a trusted forum for exchange across states and provided SEA staff with the opportunity to obtain current, research-based information. As a result of the survey, SECC staff will continue to support the virtual site as well as work on generating automated reminders to visit the site. The SECC early childhood liaison attended the 19th Annual Dubard Symposium on dyslexia and related disorders, which was cosponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education, the Dubard School for Language Disorders, Hattiesburg Clinic Connections, Pine Grove, and the International Association Method Task Force. In addition, SEA Early Childhood Specialist and CoP Member Robin Lemonis conducted a session that provided an overview of dyslexia in Mississippi.

August

SECC staff member Kathleen Theodore and RMC partner staff Debbie Mazzeo conducted the annual yearly review of the community of practice (CoP) and developed a draft of Year 4 CoP activities. In order to continue to meet the needs of SEA early childhood specialists, a survey was emailed to CoP members concerning the virtual site. Feedback will be used to update and revise the virtual site. In addition, the SECC early childhood team is preparing to conduct needs assessments in September.

July

SECC/AIR Senior TA Consultant Kathleen Theodore, RMC partner, Debbie Mazzeo, and CEELO’s Jim Squires hosted a small community of practice phone conference between the MDE Director of Early Childhood Jill Dent and Georgia Department of Early Learning’s Susan Adams and Jennie Couture. The purpose of the call was to support MDE with the development of their parent and engagement plan. GaDOE staff shared information from their document, “A Roadmap for Engaging Families with Young Children.” Debbie Mazzeo shared REL Southeast resources on parent engagement with GaDOE and MDE staff as well. In preparation for Year 4, Theodore and Mazzeo met with Jan Hume of the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs to discuss ways in which the Alabama early childhood specialists could support states’ early childhood efforts through the community of practice. SECC and CEELO staff held the monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally.

June

SECC staff member, Kathleen Theodore, attended CEELO’s Roundtable Meeting in New Orleans on June 3−5. The theme of the annual roundtable event was leading for excellence by building key competencies to lead high-performing early learning initiatives. Additionally, SECC’s community of practice (CoP) April 7 webinar on retention was highlighted in NIEER’s Preschool Matters. The SECC early childhood team continued to update the CoP site by providing a plethora of resources and early childhood events and news.

May

During the month of May, SECC staff welcomed two new SEA early childhood specialists to the early childhood community of practice. User names and passwords were emailed to the new members. The link to the April 7 webinar on retention was also emailed to all community members. In addition, the SECC CoP’s webinar on April 7 was highlighted in the official blog of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University.

April

The SECC Early Childhood Community of Practice team hosted a webinar entitled “Continuing the Conversation, What Research Says About Retention in the Early Years.” The topic for the webinar was a result of SECC Project Lead Kathleen Theodore’s facilitation at CEELO’s Roundtable Meeting with state education agencies (SEAs) in SECC’s region. The featured speaker was Dr. Jim Squires from the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO). Dr. Squires discussed the research and findings on retention in the early years. The SEAs’ early childhood staff asked questions and shared information from their states with each other. As a follow-up, additional resources (from CEELO regarding retention) were emailed to the SEA staff.

March

SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally. SECC staff finalized plans for hosting a webinar. As a result, SEA early childhood staff received invitations for the webinar. The webinar entitled, “Continuing the Conversation, What Research Says About Retention in the Early Years,” is scheduled for April 7 at 2 p.m. ET. The featured speaker is Dr. Jim Squires from CEELO. Dr. Squires brings a wealth of knowledge in conjunction with his immense experiences in early childhood.

February

SECC and CEELO continued to conduct monthly phone conferences. The monthly conference call is held with Jim Squires, CEELO staff member, to promote collaborative efforts as well as to discuss and keep abreast of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally. CEELO also assisted SECC with a quick response to a question from the Alabama State Department of Education.

January

SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally. The team also began to make plans for conducting a webinar with SEA early childhood staff on third grade retention, and reviewed the results of survey data from SEA staff about the virtual community site as well as provided updates to the site. In addition, an Ask-an-Expert question was received. The SECC team will begin to address the question at the SECC quarterly meeting on February 3, 2015.

2014

December

SECC and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) held a monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally. In addition, SECC Community of Practice Project Lead Kathleen Theodore was the featured speaker at CEELO’s quarterly meeting with the regional comprehensive center’s early liaisons on December 8, 2014. The presentation mainly focused on the journey of developing and building the SECC Early Childhood Community of Practice.

November

SECC staff completed a written response to a query from an early childhood SEA staff member in the SECC region. The query was generated from the Ask-An-Expert community of practice site feature. The response is being edited and formatted before sending it to the client. SECC and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) also held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood Year 3 activities and efforts in SECC’s region. SECC CoP Project Lead, Kathleen Theodore, conducted a practice webinar session for CEELO’s quarterly meeting with the regional comprehensive center’s early childhood liaisons on December 8, 2014. Theodore will be the featured speaker and will share the process of building a community of practice during the upcoming session.

October

SECC staff in collaboration with CEELO conducted a webinar with SEAs early childhood staff in the southeast region. The webinar featured the launching of CoP virtual site. The outcomes for the webinar including the following:

  • Learn and explore the community of practice (CoP) virtual site
  • Gain awareness of early childhood events and efforts in the southeast region and nation
  • Build enduring relationships and trust in a supportive environment
  • Collaborate and learn with peers from other states
  • Share and discuss activities for the community of practice

In addition, SECC staff will survey SEA early childhood staff to gather feedback and suggestions for the virtual site.

September

SECC staff continued to work on preparing the CoP virtual site for the October webinar with SEA early childhood staff in the region. Two practice webinar sessions were scheduled for October 6 and 7. SECC staff, in collaboration with CEELO, met with SECC's state liaisons to discuss and share updates on early childhood efforts in the region and nationally as well as to discuss Year 3 activities for the CoP. In addition, SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC's region and nationally.

August

Staff continued to work on preparing the CoP virtual site for the October kickoff with SEA early childhood staff. Updates to the virtual site included adding events to the calendar as well as resources and documents. In addition, SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call to continue collaboration and discussion of early childhood efforts in SECC’s region and nationally.

July

The Early Childhood Community of Practice welcomed the addition of a new SECC staff member to the team. SECC and CEELO held their monthly conference call. The focus of the call was a debriefing from the CEELO Roundtable Meeting and a discussion of SECC states’ needs as gleaned from the roundtable meeting. Based on the needs assessments of the SEAs in the southeast region, staff developed plans to address states’ needs and interests for Year 3 of the community of practice. Plans were also developed for meeting the end of Year 2 completion and launching date in Year 3 for the virtual community of practice site.

June

SECC Program Associate Kathleen Theodore attended the CEELO Roundtable Meeting on June 4−6 and facilitated a roundtable discussion with SEA early childhood staff in SECC’s region. The discussion focused on the successes and challenges SEA early childhood staff face as leaders in the region with promoting a vision and policy to improve the quality of teaching in birth through grade three. SECC and CEELO held the regular conference call to discuss updates on recent national and regional early childhood efforts.

May

SECC and CEELO staff held a conference call with SEA early childhood staff in SECC’s region. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen partnerships across the region and prepare for the CEELO Roundtable Meeting in June. SECC staff held work sessions and phone conferences to discuss the virtual community of practice (CoP) site as well as to input information on the site that will be used for the CoP.

April

Staff from SECC and CEELO held a monthly conference to call to discuss updates on recent national and regional early childhood efforts. In addition, the upcoming CEELO Roundtable Event in June was discussed with regard to facilitating and addressing the needs of states in SECC’s region at the meeting. A poll was sent to state early childhood staff in the SECC region requesting dates and times for a conference call with SECC and CEELO staff to discuss their needs prior to the roundtable meeting. The conference call will be held in May with state early childhood staff.

March

SECC and CEELO continued to have a monthly conference call. The purpose of the call was to debrief on February meetings with the SECC state liaisons as well as to provide updates and information on early childhood efforts across the SECC region. SECC staff also held phone conferences to review the notes from the February meeting with two liaisons, that due to prior commitments were not able to attend the meeting. The CoP virtual site is still in the development phase.

February

SEDL and CEELO staff met with SECC’s state liaisons and the director of SECC. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information and updates on early childhood efforts nationally as well as in the SECC region. Additionally, the meeting also was to provide updates on the community of practice and to establish a link between the community of practice and school readiness in SECC’s region. SECC staff met with SEDL’s new web administrator for SharePoint to discuss a timeline for the development of the community of practice SharePoint site as well as the specific needs, design, and requirements for the community of practice.

January

Staff from SECC and CEELO held their monthly telephone conference. The discussion was focused on early childhood efforts and events in SECC’s region. In addition, new ideas were discussed for developing the community of practice.

2013

December

Staff from SECC conducted follow-up phone conferences with SEA early childhood staff in SECC’s region. The purpose of the calls was to continue relationship building among community of practice team members, stay abreast of early childhood efforts in southeastern states, and review recommendations related to early literacy from last month’s webinar with Dr. Dorothy Strickland. In addition, SECC staff attended the Alabama PreK Collaborative meeting and introduced SECC’s Early Childhood Community of Practice as well as how it will create more opportunities for learning and improving early childhood outcomes.

November

The SECC, in partnership with the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Objectives (CEELO), hosted its first event as an Early Childhood Community of Practice. The event was a webinar that featured national early literacy expert, Dr. Dorothy Strickland, who provided a discussion on the National Governors Association Center for Best Practice’s recent publication, A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade. The audience included SEA early childhood staff in SECC’s region, SECC state liaisons, and SECC partners.

October

The SECC staff held meetings with CEELO to plan the SECC Early Childhood Community of Practice Webinar, A Conversation with Early Literacy Expert Dr. Dorothy Strickland for SEA early childhood staff in SECC’s region. The Webinar is a one-hour event scheduled on November4 and marks the launch of the SECC Early Childhood Community of Practice. Dr. Strickland will discuss the National Governors Association Center for Best Practice’s recent publication, A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade.

September

SECC staff held a meeting on the virtual workspace for the community of practice. Staff decided on the organization as well as the components of the virtual space. In addition, SECC staff planned to begin the community of practice in October through bimonthly phone calls. The bimonthly phone calls will include topics and discussions related to states’ needs on early childhood issues.

August

SECC and CEELO staff held a monthly conference call. During this call, the team discussed and planned the agenda for the regional conference call with SEA early childhood staff in SECC and CEELO’s region. The regional conference call was held on August 9, 2013. The conference call was a follow-up with states from the CEELO Roundtable meeting in June as well as a continuation of SECC and CEELO’s collaborative efforts. SEA staff shared early childhood events in their state and discussed technical assistance needs. SECC staff discussed the Early Childhood Community of Practice (CoP), which was well received by participants. In addition, South Carolina requested the addition of a staff member from the Office of Exceptional Children to the CoP. SECC staff emailed the new community member greetings from SECC along with a warm welcome to the CoP. Currently, the link for the virtual space is ready. The SECC team will meet to discuss and organize the layout for the virtual space.

July

A needs-sensing survey was sent to SEA early childhood staff, who were asked to complete the survey by July 31. Results of this survey will be used to plan for technical assistance as well as the early childhood community of practice (CoP). SECC staff held a phone conference with Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) staff members. The purpose of the call was to introduce DECAL staff to the early childhood CoP as well as to learn about early childhood efforts in Georgia. In addition, the Alabama State Department of Education requested the addition of three early childhood staff from the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs/Office of Early Learning to the community of practice. SECC staff emailed these new members greetings along with a warm welcome to the CoP. SECC and RMC partner staff participated in the monthly phone conference with Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) staff. During this call, the date for a phone conference with early childhood staff in SECC’s region was set for August 9.

June

The review process has been completed for the survey, which will be used to conduct a formal needs assessment in the region. Currently, the survey is being drafted for online review. SECC staff began to work on creating the virtual workspace for the Early Childhood Community of Practice based on informal need-sensing that was conducted through phone conferences with SEA early childhood staff.

May

SECC, ALSDE, NCDPI and SCDE early learning staff members attended the CEELO National Round Table in San Francisco on June 5–6. Participants included SEA early childhood specialists, relevant staff from SEAs, and the regional comprehensive center’s early childhood liaisons. The purpose and goals of the meeting included providing opportunities for dialogue with peers and experts on critical policy issues impacting state policy and practice for young children birth through third grade. The discussion on Day 1 focused on building value added teacher evaluation systems for early learning staff, especially on how to fairly and reliably incorporate the early learning experiences and outcomes of children when measuring and promoting teaching success. Day 2 focused on formative assessment for children birth through third grade and how to provide guidance to early learning staff in the use of assessment information to meet individual needs of children and improve practitioner/teacher practice and instruction. SECC staff continued to have monthly phone calls with CEELO staff, which helped to review survey questions that will be used to conduct a formal needs assessment of the SEA’s early childhood staff in SECC’s region. The survey will inform the design and collaborative work of the Early Childhood Community of Practice. As a result, SECC staff have completed the survey. As soon as the review process is completed, the survey will be disseminated to the SEA early childhood staff.

April

SECC project and partner staff conducted preliminary needs sensing with SEA staff in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina via phone conference. The purpose of the meeting was also to begin to establish relationships and to keep abreast of early childhood efforts in each state. A phone conference with Mississippi Department of Education staff will be rescheduled in May. Next steps include gathering more in-depth information from states by developing a survey to administer to SEA staff. This survey will also be used to inform the Ensuring School Readiness CoP. In addition, CEELO and SECC staff continued to collaborate via monthly conference calls. SECC staff participated in a joint webinar by the REL-NEI and CEELO entitled State Early Learning Standards: Lessons from Applying Implementation Research.

March

SECC staff conducted initial contact and introductions to SEA staff via email. A phone conference with SECC project lead and team members was held to discuss the vision for the community of practice (CoP). Prior to this meeting, SECC's partner provided an article on facilitating online CoPs for team member review. This allowed the team to decide on some of the features for the virtual workspace as well as how to work to meet the needs and interests of SEAs. SECC and partner staff also held the monthly conference call with CEELO to extend collaborative efforts.