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Early Childhood Systems Development

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation has pioneered the development of innovative, community-wide systems to improve the quality of early childhood support and care.  Most noteworthy is our contribution to the creation of an ongoing technical assistance support for the state-wide network of Great Start Collaboratives and Parent Coalitions.  Members of our team know how to help local stakeholders develop the clarity of vision, mission and strategy that is essential to creating effective and efficient early care and education systems.

Developing and Advancing Innovative Early Childhood Policies and Programs

The BUILD Initiative works with early childhood leaders within states and nationally to better prepare young children to thrive and succeed. Michigan has been a member of the BUILD learning community since 2006. The Investment Corporation is a state lead organization for BUILD with the Michigan Department of Education – Office of Great Start. 

The Alliance for Early Success works with states across the country to advance state policies in health, family support and learning. Alliance support includes: funding, technical assistance from national experts, and convenings to promote partnerships and the exchange of good ideas. The Center for Michigan, Michigan’s Children and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) are partners in an Alliance grant to Michigan. 

ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development. Through an RFP process five states were selected in December 2013 to receive technical assistance throughout 2014 focused on how to develop and move an infant-toddler policy agenda. The Investment Corporation is a member of Michigan’s policy action team.

 

Technical Assistance and Training for Great Start Collaboratives
Great Start Collaboratives are unique to Michigan and have been operating in Michigan since 2005. Each intermediate school district (ISD) or consortium of ISDs that receives funding must convene a local Great Start Collaborative and a Great Start Parent Coalition to ensure the coordination and expansion of local early childhood infrastructure and programs that allow every child in the community to achieve Michigan’s early childhood outcomes. The Investment Corporation provides an annual planned program of technical assistance to Great Start Collaborative Directors. The planned program includes training, coaching, consultation, a weekly bulletin of information and resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The Investment Corporation also hosts a technical assistance consultation phone line and email box to respond to day-to-day questions and provide immediate consultation on emerging issues.

 

Great Start to Quality

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation implements Great Start to Quality. Great Start to Quality is Michigan’s quality rating and improvement system. It initially launched in the fall of 2011 and a new version (Version 2.0) launched in June 2013. Version 2.0 incorporated changes that recognized Michigan’s early learning and care program diversity relative to quality, areas of strength, and additional monitoring and accountability. Michigan’s state-of-the art, tiered quality rating and improvement system has been designed to increase the quality of early learning and care provided in all licensed and registered child care and preschool programs and includes unlicensed, subsidized providers within the quality improvement portion of the system. Great Start to Quality provides a reliable, valid, easy-to-understand measure of quality for licensed and registered early learning and care programs.  

GreatStartToQuality.org is Michigan’s online searchable database for licensed child care and preschool. Families can search by selected criteria to find programs that best fit their needs. It also houses a professional development registry for center-based staff and home-based providers.

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation designed an online platform to support implementation of Great Start to Quality.  The Great Start to Quality STARS platform is where licensed child care and preschool programs complete their self-assessment using the Great Start to Quality Program Standards criteria, utilize resources, and create quality improvement plans.

Assessment Specialists and Approved Raters are responsible for the administration of the Program Quality Assessment (PQA)® for Great Start to Quality. The Investment Corporation is facilitating biennial peer learning opportunities in 2014 for these individuals. The convenings are designed to increase shared understanding of the PQA, particularly the indicators form Tool Form A, and to ensure that Great Start to Quality program ratings are valid and reliable.

Ten Great Start to Quality Resource Centers are located in eleven regions throughout Michigan to help support providers and educators improve the quality of their programs and care. Available assistance includes: coaching and consultation for developing quality improvement plans, financial assistance for improving the child care or preschool setting, information about professional development and training opportunities, Lending library of books, CDs, puzzles, and other learning materials and Learning kits. The Investment Corporation provides an annual planned program of technical assistance to Resource Center Directors, Quality Improvement Consultants and Quality Improvement Specialist across Michigan. The planned program includes training, coaching, consultation, a weekly bulletin of information and resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The Investment Corporation also hosts a technical assistance consultation phone line and email box to respond to day-to-day questions and provide immediate consultation on emerging issues.

 

Support for Unlicensed, Subsidized Child Care Providers

Within Great Start to Quality there are three tiers of quality for unlicensed, subsidized providers in Michigan. The Investment Corporation is in the beginning phases of a project that will test the feasibility of cohort learning groups as an approach for unlicensed, subsidized providers to improve their quality tier. Additionally, unlicensed providers who are potentially eligible to receive a child care subsidy are required to complete a seven hour orientation training prior to receiving a subsidy payment. The Investment Corporation is working with Early Childhood Associates to review, evaluate and update the training curriculum to align with federal Child Care Development Fund proposed rule changes.

 

Great Start - Early Learning Advisory Council

Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm designated the Early Childhood Investment Corporation as the home for the State’s Early Childhood Advisory Council in 2009. The Great Start- Early Learning Advisory Council (GS-ELAC) has implemented an array of projects to support building an early childhood system in Michigan. Projects include:

  • Development of Great Start to Quality STARS platform (see systems development past projects)
  • Development of www.GreatStartToQuality.org (see systems development past projects)
  • Early Childhood Partnerships Learning Community (see systems development past projects)
  • Established Local Early Childhood Funds (see preschool past projects)
  • Child Care Coordinated Grants (see preschool past projects)
  • Commissioned white paper – Aiming for Success:  Improving Outcomes and School Readiness for Young Children with Disabilities (see preschool research and reports)
  • Commissioned white paper - Local Great Start Early Childhood Fund (see preschool research and reports)
  • Updated Michigan’s Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Prekindergarten (see preschool research and reports)
  • Updated Michigan’s Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Infant and Toddler Programs (see birth to three research and reports)
  • Developed Kindergarten through Third Grade Standards (see early elementary research and reports)
  • Revised and updated Michigan’s Core Knowledge and Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals (see systems development research and reports)
  • Mapped Michigan’s Early Childhood Data Systems (see systems development research and reports)

 

Recommendations for Michigan’s Quality Assurance System for Child Care and Early Education

Developed in 2010 by statewide stakeholders, the Quality Rating System and Quality Development Continuum Design recommendations became the foundation for Great Start to Quality, Michigan’s quality rating and improvement system.  The design included recommendations for Michigan’s large population of unlicensed subsidized providers addressing the reality that the majority of the state’s most vulnerable children were not enrolled in licensed settings.

 

Cost Savings Analysis of School Readiness in Michigan

This study, conducted in 2009, estimated the cost savings and revenues to Michigan generated from the investments in school readiness over the previous 25 years, the cost burden to Michigan when children are not fully-prepared at kindergarten entry, and the additional benefits that could be realized if Michigan were to expand its investment in school readiness to all educationally disadvantaged children.

 

Financing a Great Start for Michigan’s Children: Analysis of Existing Resources for the Great Start System, The Finance Project, Washington, DC, August 2007

This study provided critical information regarding the resources currently in the system and analyzed how resources could be more effectively coordinated, maximized, or secured to support the key components of Michigan’s Great Start System.  It included a map of all federal and state sources of funding for Great Start system components.

 

Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce Study

In April of 2006, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation commissioned an early childhood workforce study designed to better understand Michigan’s early childhood workforce, particularly its child care workforce.  The study results were finalized in September 2009. Click here for the brief and report

 

Core Knowledge and Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation convened statewide stakeholders to revise and update the 2005 Core Knowledge and Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals.  The updated document and accompanying support documents (a career lattice, a user’s guide, and a roll out plan for dissemination) was provided to the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start for final refinements and presentation to the State Board of Education.

 

Early Childhood Data Systems

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation worked with Child Trends to map Michigan’s existing early childhood data systems and develop recommendations for creating an early childhood data system in Michigan.  The report was provided to the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start.

Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Grant 2003-2013

The purpose of the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Grant Program was to assist states and territories in their efforts to build and implement Statewide Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems that support families and communities in their development of children that are healthy and ready to learn at school entry.  The grant required states to address the five critical components of early childhood systems development identified in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Health.  These components were:  Access to Health Insurance and Medical Homes, Mental Health and Social-Emotional Development, Early Care and Education/Child Care, Parenting Education, and Family support.

Michigan initially used this grant to support the strategic planning that led to the creation of the Great Start System, the founding of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, and the local Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition network.  The Michigan Department of Community Health was the fiduciary for the grant and the Investment Corporation prepared and implemented the annual plan of work which included:

  • Early Childhood Core Team
  • Great Start Blueprint

The “Blueprint” or strategic plan for the Great Start system was competed in November of 2004, with funding support from the federal Maternal and Child Health, Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grant.  The Governor’s Children’s Cabinet designated two recommendations, from the “Blueprint” for immediate implementation 1) Construct the Great Start system community-by-community - build on local early childhood systems already in development or operating in many communities; and 2) Create a state-level entity to bring together the investment of the public and private sectors in support of the Great Start system to focus communication, to support local communities, to build investment.  In February of 2005, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) was created to oversee and assure the implementation of the Great Start system at that time.

  • Great Start Blueprint Update
  • Great Start System Team

 

Business Investment in Early Childhood

From 2005 – 2012 the Investment Corporation engaged in a variety of events and activities to engage the business community in making the case for early childhood investment with policymakers.  The Investment Corporation also provided technical assistance to Great Start Collaboratives and Parent Coalitions in engaging the business community.  Projects included:

  • Speakers:  James Heckman, Nobel Laureate, Rob Grunewald, Minnesota Federal Reserve, Bill Millet, Rob Dugger, Chair, and Tim Bartik
  • Events:  Business Leaders Breakfast – Detroit Federal Reserve 2010, Business Summit 2010
  • Children’s Leadership Council 2010 to present – funded by the Alliance for Early Success

 

Michigan Early Childhood Challenge 2007 – 2011

  • 2007 - The first annual Michigan Early Childhood Challenge, was sponsored by the National Governor’s Association and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. The purpose of the Michigan Early Childhood Challenge is to prepare recommendations for Michigan’s first consensus early childhood policy agenda for young children.  Keynote speakers for the event were:  Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, Jane Knitzer, EdD, Director, The National Center for Children in Poverty Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and Valora Washington, PhD, The Schott Fellowship in Early Care and Education.  From this meeting came ten recommendations for Michigan’s first, consensus policy agenda for young children and their families.  
  • 2008 – The second Michigan Early Childhood Challenge provided information on the status of young children in Michigan, shared the Children of Color Summits work that the Investment Corporation hosted with community leaders from Native American, Latino, Arab American and African American communities in Michigan, sought the advice of early childhood partners regarding critical issues that ECIC Strategic Planning Committee and Executive Committee ought to consider in creation of the ECIC’s early childhood policy agenda for FY 2010, and strengthened connections and alignment of effort between ECIC and its early childhood partners at the local and state levels.
  • 2009 – The third Michigan Early Childhood Challenge celebrated and acknowledged the tremendous education and advocacy efforts that saved some critical early childhood programs, created a shared understanding of the gravity of the budget cuts and the impact those cuts  will have on the lives of young children and their parents, shared the data and information that shaped the early childhood policy agenda for FY 2011, communicated the early childhood policy agenda for FY 2011 and affirmed personal leadership commitments to successful passage of the early childhood policy agenda.
  • 2010 – The fourth Michigan Early Childhood Challengewas the first Great Start Business Summit.  Rob Dugger, the Chair of the Partnership for America’s Success was the keynote speaker.  Additional remarks were provided by James Schmelter, PNC Bank and Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Director of KIDS COUNT in Michigan.
  • 2011 – The fifth Michigan Early Childhood Challengewas provided through a webinar hosted by key members of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge application preparation team.
  • 2013 – The Michigan Early Childhood Challenge brought together the early childhood community together to talk about the state of Michigan’s youngest children and what should be prioritized to address their needs.  State Budget Director John Nixon presented on the budget, specifically for the early childhood community.  Deputy Superintendent Susan Broman from the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start addressed how the Governor’s budget could impact our youngest learners.  Attendees discussed how the early childhood community could come together for Michigan’s children.

 

Smart Start National Technical Assistance

In 2007, the Investment Corporation was selected for two years of intensive technical assistance support in early childhood system building from the Smart Start National Technical Assistance Center in North Carolina.  The Kellogg Foundation provided funding for this consultation.

 

Early Childhood Partnerships Learning Community

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation in conjunction with the Head Start Collaboration Office and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators convened a learning community interested in collaborative recruitment and enrollment strategies to increase the numbers of vulnerable children participating in high-quality early learning.