DEPARTMENT RELEASES FINAL OPPORTUNITY FOR COMMUNITIES TO BECOME EARLY CHILDHOOD NETWORK PILOTS

Sep 16, 2014

Communities are Encouraged to Apply Now to Receive Critical Support to Implement Act 3

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education today released a request for applications (RFA) for Round 3 of the Early Childhood Network Pilots, building on 31 parishes that have already begun to unify their systems of early childhood education. The total amount of funding available for round 3 applicants is $3.1 million. The network pilot program is the central strategy in the state’s implementation of Act 3 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session, which calls on the state to unify a system of early childhood that is fragmented into multiple, inequitable systems. Today only half of Louisiana children enter kindergarten with basic number and letter recognition skills.

The first two rounds of pilot parishes have unified their early childhood leadership, have trained teachers through shared professional development, have measured child development in common ways, and have launched coordinated enrollment systems. In this third and final round, first-time applicants can apply for funding, as can current pilots that wish to expand by adding partners from neighboring parishes. By fall 2015, the law requires all parishes to have achieved a unified system.

“Pilot communities in the first two cohorts are already showing that by coordinating enrollment, families have better access to information and more children can be served,” said State Superintendent John White. “By using strategies learned from current and future network pilots, we can build on the strengths of providers, increasing collaboration and sharing of resources.”

The Louisiana State Legislature created the Early Childhood Network because Louisiana has multiple early childhood programs operating with public funds but widely varying expectations for children. Applicants for Cohort 3 are expected to bring together publicly-funded early childhood programs (school-based, Head Start, and child care) and commit to:

  • Training teachers and leaders to use high standards for children
  • Using shared tools to evaluate teachers and assess children’s progress
  • Ensure all teachers have access to professional development and receive ongoing feedback and coaching
  • Use a coordinated enrollment process for all programs for fall 2016
  • Identify all at-risk infant-to-age-five children in the community in need and plan to serve all eligible four-year-olds by June 30, 2016


“We decided to expand and coordinate another pilot so we could identify the diverse strengths and needs of different communities in our region. This has been important in advising development of the early childhood system,” noted Maureen Gallagher, Director of Operations and Early Childhood Programs, Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana.

The award for each Community Network Pilot is estimated to range between $20,000 and $200,000. Currently, these awards are allocated through a combination of state and federal funds.

"
Our forward-thinking leaders and their teachers have joined pilots and are stepping up to the challenge of preparing our children for school. As the providers who are responsible for our youngest children, we are excited about the potential of a unified system that recognizes all providers and their efforts in preparing children well,” said Alan Young, President, Child Care Association of Louisiana.

To apply, an electronic copy of the application and all attachments must be submitted to the Department by 4:00 p.m. CST on November 12, 2014, and applicants should contact Kaye Eichler at kaye.eichler@la.gov to receive instructions. Click here to access the RFA for further details on the pilots and the application process and requirements. After the application and interview process, Cohort 3 Network Pilots will be announced in January 2015. To ensure all communities that put forth a strong application are included, the state plans to launch Cohort 3 pilots in phases, starting in January 2015.

For the Request for Applications for Cohort 3 of the Early Childhood Community Network pilots, please click here.

For more information on the Early Childhood Care and Education Networks, please click here.

To view the Policy Blueprint presentation on next steps to fully implementing Act 3, please click here.

# # # # # #