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Higher Education, Early Child Care and Community-Based Partnerships Working to Implement Innovative and Sustained Pathways Designed Specifically to Meet the Needs of this Commonwealth's Current Early Childhood Workforce; Building Capacity for Early Childhood Educators to Help All Young Children Learn and Develop

[47 Pa.B. 3993]
[Saturday, July 22, 2017]

 The Innovative Programs for Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Education Workforce application guidelines (guidelines) are established to ensure that early childhood education (ECE) professionals have the required knowledge and skills to help all young children learn and develop. As a result these guidelines provide direction to partnerships as they submit applications focusing on building new innovative and sustained career-oriented pathways for current early childhood workers to earn the following ECE industry-recognized credentials:

 • A credit-bearing Child Development Associate certificate.

 • An associate's degree.

 • A bachelor's degree.

 • A Pennsylvania ECE PreK—4 instructional certificate.

 Pathways created under these guidelines are designed to develop the capacity for early childhood educators to help all young children learn across the age groups of birth to 8 years of age. Applications submitted in response to these guidelines are limited to partnerships aimed at nurturing and sustaining high quality cross-systems relationships among and between 2-year and 4-year institutions of higher education (IHE) and this Commonwealth's early learning programs that:

 1. Institutionalize changes in associate degree, bachelor degree and early childhood teacher preparation certification programs that are more closely aligned with the knowledge, skills and pedagogy required for early childhood workforce effectiveness that emerges as improved teaching and learning for young children of this Commonwealth; partnerships are expected to continue implementing innovations developed under these guidelines beyond the term of the grant award.

 2. Culminate in high quality supervisory experiences for this Commonwealth's early childhood workforce wishing to become certified early childhood teachers.

 3. Identify ''value added'' contributions of partners that can be shared and scaled-up with other IHEs and early childhood centers.

 4. Identify effective coaching strategies for higher education faculty, collaborating teachers and center directors designed to improve the requisite knowledge, skills and pedagogy required for succeeding in early childhood centers.

 5. Build early learning programs and IHE capacity as they participate in specially-designed courses related to: the Commonwealth's Standards Aligned System; the Commonwealth's Learning Standards for Early Childhood Infant and Toddlers and Pre-Kindergarten; early childhood subject matter; developing knowledge and skills for educating young children whose primary language is not English, who are not part of the dominant culture and children who have special needs; persistent challenging behaviors; effective coaching strategies; and data driven decision making.

 6. Incorporate evidence-based ECE professional practices.

 Partnerships are expected to continue implementing innovations developed under these guidelines beyond the term of the grant award. A written report consisting of both quantitative and qualitative information will be requested after the first year of program implementation.

 Approximately $1.4 million is available on a competitive basis under this grant application for one funding cycle beginning in fall 2017 and ending December 31, 2017, unless the United States Department of Education grants a 1-year, no cost extension. In that event, funds will be available through December 31, 2018. Each regional or Statewide partnership will be limited to $400,000.

Eligibility Requirements

 Funded partnerships may be regional or Statewide and must include at least one 2-year IHE and one 4-year IHE one State-funded professional development organization, and one early childhood learning center that has currently employed ECE educators who do not hold ECE workforce-related credentials. A listing of the eligible ECE centers is available at https://www.compass.state.pa.us/compass.web/public/cmphome.

 Eligible partnerships under these guidelines are designed to meet this Commonwealth's early childhood workforce needs by equipping ECE professionals with the requisite knowledge, skills and capacity to help all young children learn to higher standards. Federal Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge funds will support partnership activities submitted in response to these guidelines. To submit a proposal under these guidelines, a partnership shall include at a minimum:

 1. At least one early childhood program whose currently employed ECE educators do not hold ECE workforce-related credentials. A listing of eligible ECE programs is available at https://www.compass.state.pa.us/compass.web/public/cmphome.

 2. At least one 2-year IHE that offers early childhood development programs1 that culminate in an associate's degree. Each 2-year IHE must be eligible to participate in the T.E.A.C.H.2 financial aid program at the time the application is submitted.

 3. At least one 4-year IHE that offers early childhood development-related program that culminate in a bachelor's degree and may or may not lead to a PreK—4 instructional certification.3 Each 4-year IHE must be eligible to participate in the T.E.A.C.H. financial aid program at the time application is submitted.

 4. At least one Office of Child Development and Early Learning funded professional development organization. See T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Pennsylvania at https://www.pacca.org/teach.php for a list of funded organizations.

 Additional partners may include:

 1. Other educational agencies, including a local school district or career technology center with an ECE program of study.

 2. An intermediate unit or nonprofit cultural or educational organization.

 3. Teacher organizations.

 4. Early learning program associations or organizations.

 5. Business and community members.

 Competitive applications submitted under these guidelines will assist this Commonwealth's IHE's and early learning programs to:

 1. Develop sustainable relationships that culminate in high quality practice-based/clinical experiences for this Commonwealth's current and future early childhood workforce.

 2. Integrate the Commonwealth's Learning Standards for Early Childhood Infant and Toddlers and Pre-Kinder- garten into their respective early childhood courses and degree programs (Early Learning Standards Infants and Toddlers at http://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/Early%20Learning/Early%20Learning%20Standards/Early%20Learning%20Standards%20-%20Infants%20and%20Toddlers%202014.pdf and Early Learning Standards Pre- kindergarten at http://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/Early%20Learning/Early%20Learning%20Standards/Early%20Learning%20Standards%20-%20Prekindergarten%202014.pdf).

 3. Incorporate the Commonwealth's Core Knowledge Competencies for Early Childhood and School-Age Professionals.

 4. Integrate the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health's Infant Mental Health Competencies for Level 1 at http://www.pa-aimh.org/#/.

 5. Identify and implement effective coaching strategies for collaborating teachers, early learning program directors and higher education faculty who ''supervise'' student teachers to improve retention and professional practice.

 6. Integrate change in early learning programs and in- school settings that are more closely aligned with the knowledge, skills and pedagogy required for early childhood educators to be effective in improving teaching and learning for young children of this Commonwealth.

 Each partnership will designate an IHE as the lead organization that will be responsible for all aspects of the project.

Application Deadline

 Applications are due by 5 p.m. on September 29, 2017.

 The grant guidelines and forms are available on the Department of Education's web site at www.education.pa.gov. Questions concerning the grant application should be addressed to Susan Polojac, Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge Director, Office of Child Development and Early Learning, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126, (717) 265-8911, spolojac@pa.gov.

PEDRO A. RIVERA, 
Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-1211. Filed for public inspection July 21, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]

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1  The name of a degree program is inconsequential under these competitive guidelines.

2  Eligibility information for T.E.A.C.H. financial aid is available at https://www.pacca.org/teach.php.

3  A Department of Education-approved PreK—4 instructional certification preparation must also comply with PreK—4 Framework Guidelines and other requirements related to approval of this preparation program.



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