Head Start has specific regulations and guidance related to children with disabilities and suspected delays. In this series, explore issues that are of particular interest to Head Start staff and members of the Head Start community. The webinars in this series include:
- Coordinated Approaches: Serving Children with Disabilities
- Supporting Children Who Do Not Qualify for the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
Coordinated Approaches: Serving Children with Disabilities
Coordinated Approaches: Serving Children with Disabilities
Coordinated Approaches: Serving Children with Disabilities
Valeri Lane: Welcome, everyone. I see our participant number is climbing pretty rapidly now, so I think a lot of people are dialing in and joining right at this time, but we do want to welcome you. My name is Valeri Lane, and on behalf of the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning, we're excited to bring you the third of our three webinars for this year, "Coordinated Approaches: Serving Children with Disabilities." I am joined today by Sangeeta Parikshak from the Office of Head Start.
Sangeeta Parikshak: Hi, everybody. This is Sangeeta. I'm so glad to be here with you all today. I am the lead on Services to Children with Disabilities as well as Mental Health for the Office of Head Start, and we're hoping to provide some good, useful information for you all today.
Valeri: Thanks, Sangeeta. So while this is the last of the webinars we will produce this year, we want to remind you that we will be continuing monthly live chats in the MyPeers Network on the third Tuesday of each month, and we will restart webinars in the next fiscal year. Also like to mention that the National Center on Development, Teaching and Learning will also be supporting the third webinar in the federal series. This is a series that's a joint effort on the part of the Department of Education and the Office of Head Start. That series is entitled Partnerships for Inclusion, and the one that's coming up is on supports that ensure high-quality inclusion, and it will be held Tuesday, this month, on May 30th from 3:00 to 4:00 Eastern Time.
You should be getting an announcement out from the Office of Head Start soon on that. So before we get started today, let's review a few tips that will help you get the most from this presentation. So immediately below the screen that has the slide, you should see a Q-and-A box there at the bottom. If at any time during the presentation, you have a question that you would like to ask of us that, hopefully, we would have some time to address, please type your question in there. Also, you will see a chat box on the right of the screen with the slide, and at any time, well, several times, actually, during the presentation, we'll be asking you to chat in some responses, so if you would do that there, and keep your chats in the chat because they scroll, and then we lose them and your questions for us in the Q- and-A box, please. You also can see supporting documents in a frame immediately below the chat box, and that's a place if you would like to download the PowerPoint for this presentation and an additional handout, those can be accessed through that box.
And finally, if for any reason you get disconnected from the webinar, just use the same link that you used previously to join up. So we also want to let you know that this session will be recorded and posted in the near future in the MyPeers Disability Inclusion Network platform and then on ECLKC after we have full processing for 508 compliance. So now that we've introduced ourselves, we'd like to take a poll. So a poll is going to be coming up on your screen. And we ask of you please respond with the primary role you have in your program so we know who's in attendance today. So okay. Thank you. It is fun to see those numbers move, lots of disability coordinators, several PA, professional development staff, ed. managers. Yay, even some teachers and home visitors, so it's good to see that. We'll let that stay open. We know -- And this is a hard thing for us to make a decision about as we're planning a webinar because we know so many of you juggle multiple hats in your programs, and to narrow it down and say, "This is who I am," gets a little tricky for you. But we do appreciate you saying that. So thank you so much. All right. Janika, if you want to close that, we have also one more -- Oops.
Okay. There we go. One more point before we really dive into the content here, and that is kind of addressing the question, why are we dedicating a webinar to coordinated approaches to serving children with disabilities? So we all believe it's always good to start with the data. And so, recently, I was able to pull up the PIR Report for 2016, and it shows that there are 133,898 children in Early Head Start and Head Start that have IFSPs or IEPs. And that astonishing number, to me, almost 134,000 children that we're serving, does not include children with disabilities who are not eligible for IDEA. So as you, I'm sure, are familiar, the numbers in the PIR are for those who count in your, quote, 10 percent . So what these charts show, the chart on the left shows the total enrollment by number of children enrolled, and the orange section shows, of that total, what number are represented by children who are IDEA eligible with the tall bar, of course, being Head Start and the shorter one being Early Head Start.
The chart on the right is the same data set but arranged differently, so the chart on the right shows by percentage of enrollment, and I tried to call out the actual percentage numbers so that you can see, for children in this national data, Head Start serving children with IEPs or IFSPs at approximately 12 percent of total enrollment. And you don't have to go far in the world of Head Start disabilities to understand that that 10 percent number is a pretty popular topic, so it's really nice to see. That's a lot of children, and, again, it does not include those children with disabilities who are not eligible for IDEA. So we know that the number of children you serve who need highly individualized services is quite significant, and it impacts your program's capacity and your resources. Because services for this population can be really complicated, and we'll get to some of those details later, effective delivery requires a program-wide coordinated approach to ensure, and these next words are straight out of the Performance Standards, "the full and effective participation of all children with disabilities." So that's why we're here. And to that end, let's move on. So our objectives for today are to talk about what is meant by coordinated approaches to serving children with disabilities, to spend some time talking about alignment of a coordinated approach with your existing practices and to describe the usefulness of applying the stages of implementation science to coordinated approaches. So we've organized the content around those objectives into a kind of a tripart agenda here.
So we'll start by looking at the Head Start Performance Standards related to coordinated approaches. We'll start there. We will also explore current prefaces and practices. So we will be asking you to reflect on what you know and what you might be wondering about related to coordinated approaches to support children with disabilities. And then, of course, we'll look at the science behind implementation, specifically the four implementation-science stages and how they apply to your work in this area. These stages can be used to help you and your program operationalize coordinated approaches to implementing disability services, practices and making informed changes based on your data. So section one is where we're going to take a closer look at the Head Start Program Performance Standards related to coordinated approaches. So of course, any time we do anything related to our work in the National Center and certainly when we're focusing on a specific standard as we are today, we know that this all comes out of the Head Start Act and the Head Start Program Performance Standards. So it's important. One thing we do want to take time and think about together is that we know that Head Start and Early Head Start have been coordinating approaches all along. It's pretty impossible to do it any other way, but this time in the Performance Standards, there's a direct reference to coordinated approaches, so that's why we're taking a closer look.
Sangeeta: And, Val, I'm really glad that you pointed out that this is something that Head Start has been doing for a long time. You know, I really hope that our viewers who are tuning in and hoping to get some
information kind of take a big breath, big, deep breath as we dive into some of this. We really want to highlight for you that, even though, in the Program Performance Standards, some of the language is new, the actual practices are not really new. And so what we're trying to do for you today and with you is really talk about what is required and how it is connected to work that you are already doing and have been doing.
Valeri: Thank you, Sangeeta. I think those reminders are very critical and offer a little bit of a deep breath of relief when we think, "It's not something new, just not something new. It's just got a name now," so thank you for reminding us of that. All right. So here we go. Chat in if this looks familiar to you. Do you have a sense ever that you have juggled all of this before, so many different responsibilities, words, thoughts, processes, children, school districts, everything that you're doing as a disability coordinator or someone in a role with your Head Start program? So it's this real basic image here that is the point of a coordinated approach when the unique differences of a child prevent the comprehensive approach of Head Start from fully meeting that child's needs. And we know the Head Start approach is comprehensive for all children, but some children have really unique profiles. And so a whole lot of considerations and players are needed to help the teachers, the families and the children to be successful.
So coordination takes the jumble out of the equation and supports smooth implementation of services. And the fact that the requirement is that it's program-wide ensures that no child, family or process falls through the cracks and is missed. And just a reminder for a little bit more context -- If you're not completely familiar with this standard yet -- Hopefully, you will be after today -- that the services to children with disabilities is one of four areas of your program that are called out as having the need for, or benefiting from, coordinated approaches. So Standard 1302.101(b) Coordinated Approaches says that, and I am going to read you this one, "At the beginning of each program year and on an ongoing basis throughout the year, a program must design and implement program-wide coordinated approaches that ensure," and here are the four areas. Training and professional development. The second is full and effective participation of children who are dual-language learners. The third is the one we're talking about today, full and effective participation of all children with disabilities, and the fourth is management of program data. So while we are focused on Subpart J, this 1302.101(b), it is helpful to know that we are really focusing on one of four areas, but the focus on disabilities will be our total focus for today. All right.
Sangeeta: And, Val, you know, I'm really glad that you are highlighting the four. I just wanted to point out, too, that, you know, there are lots of other coordinated approaches that I'm sure that programs are already engaged in that aren't highlighted in the Program Performance Standards, and we're not advocating that you stop doing that if coordination is working for you in other areas. Please continue to do so, but we just want to highlight for you what is in the Performance Standards now. And you can think about it. When you're thinking about the four sections that are highlighted, you can think, you know, two are systems-focused, and two really have more of a service-delivery focus. So that's just kind of one way to think about it and a way that we thought about it when we were conceptualizing the Performance Standards in the Office of Head Start.
Valeri: That's really helpful, Sangeeta. Thank you. Okay. So we're going to go to polls. And as we're doing this, we'd like for you to put your response. This is a true-or-false question. In the screen if you can and not the chat box so we can see how they come out. So the question is, "True or false, program goals, like school readiness goals, are not a part of a coordinated approach to disability services." Is that true or is that false? Getting quite a few responses here, some consensus. Oh, and I noticed that. All right. What we have is pretty strong consensus that this statement is false, so those of you who are thinking that program goals, like school readiness goals, are a part of a coordinated approach, you win the prize today, although you have two more questions coming up. So who knows who will be the grand prize winner? But what we want you to think about is program goals and school readiness goals are a very critical part of a coordinated approach to disability services. Consider that program goals are the prize we keep our eyes on in Head Start, and they guide the direction of a program's efforts. If disability services are not encompassed in program goals, what happens to those services? How do you know where to go? How do you know what to do?
So, yes, we do want to consider all of that as we're coordinating approach. Okay. Janika, our next poll, please. Same thing, please, true or false. "Data, starting with your program's community assessment, is important to programs updating their coordinated approach to disability services on an ongoing basis." So is data important to your coordinated approach? And again, we have strong consensus coming through with the largest portion of you already either typing in the chat or putting in the poll. Yes, data does drive decisions about program direction. And once your coordinated approach is designed, how will you know it's effective? So how can you demonstrate that your coordinated approach ensures full and effective participation of children with disabilities if you're not looking at the data on an ongoing basis? So thank you for that and one more question coming up. And this, again, true/false. "A coordinated approach to disability services applies to all staff." True or false? I'm seeing a lot of trues come in the chat box, and, again, actually, we have 100 percent consensus in the poll this time, too, so thank you very much for responding to those.
And we know that they were not trick questions, but we wanted to bring out some points that are very true about coordinated services. It does apply to all staff from the bus driver to the director. Is there anyone in your program who is not touched by services to children with disabilities? If you have a teacher or a home visitor, education staff who are not currently serving a child with disabilities, they're still on the watch for a child who may begin showing a delay in development and need to be referred. So we're going to move now to a closer look at the standard and see what it says. Sangeeta?
Sangeeta: Hello, everybody. So let's take a look at the Performance Standard. So in thinking about how to digest all the information in the Program Performance Standards, one kind of nice way is to take a step back and realize that, at the beginning of each section, there's a purpose section, and I find it really helpful to read the purpose of each section going through to really understand why that section is there in the first place and how it can be useful when thinking about your program. And so here, we have Subpart J, Program Management and Quality Improvement where you find the coordinated approaches discussion. And I'll read straight from the standards. It says, "A program must provide management and a process of ongoing monitoring and continuous improvement for achieving program goals," there's the word from our poll there, "that ensures child safety and the delivery of effective, high-quality program services." So, again, when you're looking at this, the words may seem new, but this idea is really around being intentional and systematic, and that piece is not new. And so when you're thinking about a coordinated approach to disability services, really make sure that you're thinking about it in terms of being connected to program goals, in particular.
So after you get past the purpose section in Subpart J, you'll see 1302.101, which is "Management Systems." And, under that section, we have section (b) of 1302.101, and it says "Coordinated Approaches" there. And this is a little bit about what we discussed earlier, but I think it's helpful to kind of read it again to get it really in our brains. It says that, "At the beginning of each year and on an ongoing basis throughout the year, a program must design and implement program-wide coordinated approaches." So we're thinking when the program year starts, we're thinking on an ongoing basis, and then we're also thinking from year to year. Every time we have a new year, we need to kind of reassess what's going on. And you may be thinking -- Maybe some of you are thinking, "This makes a lot of sense." Maybe some of you are thinking, "Why is it that coordinated approaches are so important when implementing services to children with disabilities?" Why have we highlighted it for you in the way that we have? And I think when you have a chance to really go through the Performance Standards, and I have a little cheat sheet for you later in this presentation, we have so many different subparts that really speak to services for children with disabilities.
We talk about recruitment in Subpart A as well as community assessment. We talk about what service delivery involved in a variety of different subparts. So Subpart C, Education, Subpart E, Family, Subpart D, Health, so there's so many different areas. And we have to make sure that even Subpart F around transportation. So when you think about it, you know, service to children with disabilities, in a way, more so than other areas that we speak about, is less straightforward, and it's a lot of pulling strings together. And the way that we think about pulling these pieces together is really through coordination. And so that's why we felt that it was so important to highlight services for children with disabilities and coordinated approaches within the Performance Standards.
Valeri: Before you leave this slide, we've had a question come in Q and A that I think is quite relevant to the slide we're on. So if you don't mind, I'm going to slip that in to you right now. Someone has asked, "Is there a definition of coordinated approach?"
Sangeeta: A definition of coordinated approach? Well, there is.
Valeri: You know what I did? I just picked up my Performance Standards. Sangeeta: I was like, "There is a definition section."
Valeri: It's not in there. Right.
Sangeeta: It's not in there, right. And so, we've gotten this question a lot with a variety of different definitions, right, even around suspension and expulsion and that kind of thing as well. And, you know, from our perspective, and, Val, I would love to hear since you are part of our National Center kind of what you've heard and some of your thoughts around this, but, from our perspective, we felt as though, I think, a lot of the confusion around coordinated approaches has come from, "Okay. We don't have a definition. What does this mean," when from our perspective, programs have been doing this all the time. Right? So why should we -- And because there's four different sections, having one definition of coordinated approaches really didn't make sense for us to put in. So, Val, do you have any additional thoughts on that?
Valeri: I do, and I think that this last point you made, you said there are four different arenas that are identified as being needing a coordinated approach, and not just four different arenas, but how many different Head Start programs that are all unique in their own design? So when I think of what is a coordinated approach because it's not in the definition section of the Performance Standards, I like to turn around just the structure of it and say, "An approach that is coordinated."
So -- and I'm not trying to -- Sangeeta: It's very simple.
Valeri: Be flippant or simplistic. I just think it's concerning to me that, and I know I've kind of heard statements along this line before, that once you put a label on it, like Coordinated Approach, and there's a capital letter involved, it starts sounding very official. But as you have mentioned several times now, coordinating your approach or coordinating how you deliver services has been happening all along through Head Start. So for those of you who are thinking, "Wow, it sounds important and official," just flip that around and think about how your approach can be coordinated, and as with so many of the Performance Standards this year, you define it and provide a rationale, and there it is. That's the definition.
Sangeeta: Thank you, Val. You've made it a little simpler even for us sitting here. When we put these regulations through, there's so much bureaucracy around it, and we get really caught up in, "What should we define? How can we make this transparent and simple for programs?" And I like the way that you just turned it around for us. I'm also thinking about, you know, because, I think, coordinated approaches can seem kind of overwhelming, just taking a step back. We had the polls earlier about community needs assessment, and we had 100 percent consensus, right, about how that was important. And so, you know, before you even look at all the different pieces you have to pull together, prior to the beginning of the year and on an ongoing basis, we really need to begin with the information that's collected from community needs assessment.
Val started this webinar today saying, "We love data." And I think, you know, all of us who work with children and families, we need to learn to embrace that data because we need to understand what is it that our children and families really need us to be providing within the context of those Performance Standards as well? And, you know, if you have a chance to chat in as we're talking here, it would be great to hear from you all kind of what are some of those most pertinent data that you've collected throughout the year related to your community needs assessment that need that coordination? And so as we're talking, it would be great for you to give us some data around that.
So going back to kind of some of the basics in the standards here, so we've been through the purpose of Subpart J, 1302.100. We've talked about 1302.101(b), which talks about coordinated approaches. Within that, we have the different sections or the four sections around coordinated approaches. If you go to 1302.101(b)(3), it talks specifically about coordinated approaches for children with disabilities. So it says, "Coordinated approaches that ensure the full and effective participation of all children with disabilities," and that is a thick theme throughout this. It's really about making sure that all children participate fully in programs. "Including but not limited to children eligible for services under IDEA," so that's children with IFSPs and IEPs who are eligible for services under IDEA and those without, so those who aren't eligible for those services under IDEA but do have some kind of delay, and also, "by providing services with appropriate facilities, program materials, curriculum, instruction, staffing, supervision and partnerships, at a minimum, consistent with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act." That is a lot of information, and it is really easy to see why services to children with disabilities are identified as needing program-wide coordination. Don't you think, Val?
Valeri: I do.
Sangeeta: All right. So I promised you all a little cheat sheet here, and here it is. So these are all the sections I was talking about earlier that we really need to pull those strings together and coordinate to the best of our ability to get those services in place for children with disabilities. So here we have, you'll see, 1302 Subpart C, so that's Education and Child Development Program Services. And I'll just highlight pieces within the sections for you and really encourage you to go and look at it yourself. But here, the focus is really ensuring that programs include all children, including those with an IEP and IFSP. There's sections on teaching in the learning environment, curricula, child screening and assessment, parenting and family engagement and education and child development services. We want to make sure that children with disabilities are included in all of those areas.
Valeri: Can I say something there, Sangeeta? Sangeeta: Please.
Valeri: One of the things I really love about the part that's in this 1302 Subpart C, which is Education and Child Development, that, very intentionally, children with disabilities, whether or not they have an IEP or an IFSP, are included, from that intro paragraph, in that entire subpart. So I love it that teaching and learning environment doesn't just apply to children who do not have an IEP or an IFSP. It applies to all children, and it's that intentionality throughout the Performance Standards that I think makes this, one, more effective for including children with disabilities, and, two, a little bit more challenging for the staff to think about. There's a lot to coordinate here.
Sangeeta: I think that's right, and, you know, that intentionality piece, I think that's why we really wanted to tie it to the Early Learning Outcomes Framework as well. You may have noted when you looked at the new Early Learning Outcomes Framework that came out a little bit ago that we really did highlight that it should be used for all children, including children with disabilities. And we have some call-out boxes throughout that document to help you if you're not sure. How does this work with a child who may have a significant delay in this area or that area? It really does highlight how you can use it to make sure that we are really facilitating that inclusion of all children. We also have another section here, 1302.33, that we've highlighted for you because this section recognizes that some children with delays may not be eligible for IDEA but benefit from additional supports and services. And this section, too, talks about the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. And, you know, we have gotten a lot of questions about this, understandably so, because I think it's the first time that we've called out Section 504. And we're not saying that this is something that you, you know, is mandated, you have to use. We're actually using it as an option. I think a lot of people when we get the question, what they want to know is, "Oh, Section 504: Is this a way that we can catch those kids that we've been concerned about for a long time but just don't qualify for IDEA that we've been frustrated about?" And that's why we've put this in for you. You know, there are different definitions and criteria for identifying a child with disability by state, so a child who might qualify for services under IDEA in one state may not in another state. And that's where we can start thinking about 504 plans.
And there's some diagnoses as well, so children with ADHD, for example, often do not qualify for services under IDEA but do need those extra supports. And we do talk about -- We don't really have time to really go in-depth about Section 504 today, but, you know, in some of our other webinar series that Val talked about earlier, we have kind of focused more on that when we talk with the Department of Ed. So definitely stay tuned for those, or we'll have those uploaded for you as well. Other sections here that I'd like to highlight for you is 1302 Subpart F. So this is additional services for children with disabilities, and this is often -- When you're looking at the Performance Standards for the first time, oftentimes, people go directly here and think, "This is the only place where we talk about services to children with disabilities." This is a huge section where we do, but definitely look at the other sections as well. And this section describes services for children with disabilities that map onto the standards in Subpart C in order to ensure, again, full participation in the Head Start and Early Head Start program.
Valeri: A question came in related to that. And Pam, one of our people behind the scenes today, has offered a response, but it occurred to me that the person asking the question may not be the only person wondering. So the question is, "How would a child," and it's related to this Subpart F, "How would a child have a significant delay and not be eligible for services under IDEA? Isn't that a contradiction?" So do you want to do a quick response to that? It's a great question.
Sangeeta: Are you asking me, or is Pam going to?
Valeri: I think if you do, that's fine. Pam responded in the box, but I'm not sure everyone will be seeing that.
Sangeeta: Okay. So my response to that is kind of going back to what I was talking about earlier, is that oftentimes a child who qualified for services under IDEA in one state may not in another state. And,
you know, just my discussion is really -- And I'm happy for Val to jump in here. But, you know, my discussion is really as somebody who is a clinician and has done assessments for children in a variety of different states, oftentimes, the way that we do the diagnosis and the way that the state determines if the child is eligible, it changes. And so I think, oftentimes, I've seen kids kind of lose their services as they move from state to state because of that eligibility piece of things. So, yes, it can feel like a contradiction, and I also know that it can be frustrating that a child who doesn't qualify for services under IDEA is not considered part of that 10 percent as well for Head Start programs. But, you know, I think that what we're trying to do with the Performance Standards is catch all of those kids because we don't have the authority to kind of deal with it at a state-to-state level, but we can provide just guidance and regulation around it to make sure that we are providing services and including all children.
Valeri: Great. Thanks. Didn't mean to disrupt you, but it was just very timely with where you were.
Sangeeta: Oh, absolutely. So I think I was going to move on to Subpart G, which is transition services. So the standards here, they state that the transition services take into account the child's disability status, IFSP for children in Early Head Start and IEP for children in Head Start. So here, this is basically if you're thinking, "We have a child who is transitioning from Head Start into kindergarten, and we want to make sure that all of the services that we've put in place for this child, all the things, the rich information that we've gathered about this child to really help them succeed and fully participate, we want to make sure that all of that is transferred over to the next placement, so they don't have to reinvent the wheel, and we can make sure that that child doesn't fall through the cracks." So when I think about what Head Start can provide, that is a big piece, I think, that we can provide for these children and families. Subpart J we've been talking about, but I'd just like to reiterate again. That's where we talk about coordinated approaches, and so that talks about, you know, states that programs must implement a coordinated approach to serving children with disabilities and their families, and this means that the standards maintain requirements for programs to coordinate internal systems and collaborate with local agencies responsible for implementing IDEA.
So this includes part B for preschool and part C for infants and toddler services. So this ensures appropriate referral, evaluation, service delivery and transition, those four pieces. So that's basically, you know, a child comes into the program. You do the assessment. You realize there's something going on there. You do the referral. Hopefully, the evaluation comes sooner rather than later, and then you put that service delivery in place. And then when it's time for that transition piece to happen, we have all that information transitioning to the next placement. And then Subpart F we can't forget about, which is transportation. But this section states that programs must ensure school buses or allowable alternate vehicles adapted or designed for transportation of children with disabilities as necessary to transport children whenever possible. They must be transported in the same vehicles used to transport other children enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start. So we have that caveat of whenever possible, but again, we want to make sure that children are fully included, including when it comes to transportation.
Valeri: Wow. Thank you, Sangeeta. That is a lot -- a lot of good information.
Sangeeta: It's a lot of information, you know. Cheat sheet doesn't have all the other side notes, but it does kind of provide you with a nice kind of outline of where to find all the information you need to work with children with disabilities.
Valeri: Great. Thank you. Thank you. And as I'm going to do a little pause here, before we move on to the section about aligning existing practices with a coordinated approach and let all of you know we've got some really great questions coming into the Q-and-A box. And the ones that we do not get to during the webinar, we will put answers together to them and definitely get them posted in MyPeers. And I saw Sara is chatting in and saying, "We'll post the handouts, and we'll post these other things for those of you who are on the phone as opposed to on your computer and can't download." So we'll make sure all of these things are available for you. So your question is noted. We have them, and we will get them back to you with responses. So as promised earlier, now that we've talked through what is the Performance Standard or what are the Performance Standards related to coordinated approaches, we wanted to talk just a little bit now about aligning your existing practices with a coordinated approach. So remember this? I know we showed it earlier but just want to reiterate the point that we understand services are very interconnected, but looking at it this way, it's real easy to tell how easily things can get lost if your approach to this array is not coordinated. How do you even make sense of it or organize your approach? Well, one way to think about moving programs from the jumble that you saw in the previous slide to a coordinated approach is to think about starting to make sense of, what is your approach to coordination here by thinking carefully about who you're coordinating with? What specifically are you coordinating? How is the coordination structured and why, or to what end, this effort is needed?
So while we're talking through this slide, I would really be happy to see some of you chat in either what resonates most with you on this chart right now or things that we left off. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it does take a first step by pulling a jumble into some pockets of information like who, what, how and so on. So if you have other entities, people, organizations that you are coordinating with or different ways of doing it, then please let us know as we talk through these. So, once again, and I'm not going to apologize for repeating this, it's important to note that there's really nothing new on this slide. This list applies to things that Head Start programs have been doing for years in serving children with disabilities. But as we're looking at developing a coordinated approach, that means weaving a network of connections and efforts that, to look back at the standard, ensure the full and effective participation of children with disabilities, including but not limited to those served under IDEA. So in order to get to full and effective, children who are fully included in their learning experience, it's very important to think about these things. So that's one way to think about beginning to approach how you might coordinate your services.
Sangeeta: And, Val, you know, I'm glad you highlighted that this is just one way because, you know, I do want everyone who's listening to know that we understand that programs will tackle this in different ways. So we're not endorsing one way or the other. We all think about these differently. We all have things in place at different levels, but we're just hoping that this will give you a few ideas.
Valeri: Exactly. Thank you. And that's just the beginning to organize out of the jumble, but looking back at the standard again, this whole piece about at the beginning of the year and ongoing, so your coordinated approach is not a one-shot deal. It's not something that you do and then set aside and kind of, "Phew! Glad we got that done," because it does need to be an ongoing process in order to truly and effectively serve all children, that programs themselves design and implement it, and that speaks directly back to what you just said, Sangeeta. It's not -- There's no formula. There's no template. There's no right way to do it. It's what your program needs as you're thinking about, how do you pull this all together to make sure that we get to that full and effective participation? And the other words there that are important to highlight are program-wide because, if we truly want to make sure no child is lost in this process or no service is left behind, then that's an important way to think about it. So here is another tool that is not a template but a way to think about beginning to look at your coordinated approach to children with disabilities, the way to start thinking about what you need to do to design yours. Now, this has been made.
This is very concise and obviously has been made to fit one PowerPoint slide, but if you look at the bottom, and you see all of those different standards, all of those different aspects of programming for all children, including children with disabilities, that is a lot to coordinate. So as you're thinking about what do you already have in place, this is the part of aligning a coordinated approach with your existing practices in your program. What do you have in place, and what do you need to do? And I am going to pause for just a minute now, not a long time because we don't have that much time left. But I would love to see a few chat responses about whether you think most of what you have to write right now is going to land in the "what you have in place" column or what you need to do. So if you could give us just a tip. Do you feel like you already have quite a bit in place? And maybe it's just a way of looking at it, thinking about it. Okay. People are saying, "What we have in place," meaning there's quite a bit. There's a 50/50, some that are in the need to do, and that's great, too, because that's what we want you working on, thinking about what kind of approach is going to work for you with the number of districts that you coordinate with, with the families, maybe early intervention services. How are you coordinating, and who are coordinating with? You probably do, many of you, have a lot already in place but still have a ways to go. So if you think about this as something like a gap analysis, that can help you identify what's left for you as you are designing and getting ready to implement your coordinated approach.
Sangeeta: Val, when I look at this, for me, I think this is really helpful because, you know, I am more of a kind of a bigger-picture thinker, and sometimes, in order to get down to some of the details, I need something like this. So when I look at this, I think, "Okay. What do you have in place?" I think about MOUs, for example, with LEAs. Just because you have that in place doesn't mean that you don't have other things that you need to do, right? So it may be that your MOU is outdated. It may be that sitting in a drawer somewhere, and you really need to connect with somebody around this and make sure that it's up-to-date and it's being used and that it's a useful tool for communication. So I think that that's, you know, one example that comes to mind when I look at this.
Valeri: Mm-hmm. Thank you. That's very helpful. All right. Well, now I'm starting to think, "Faster, faster," so apologize for that. Here's one more tool. Some of you may be familiar with and use the Management Systems Wheel from the National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations. Sometimes, a tool like this can be helpful in looking at how you coordinate across systems, so just want to point that out as one more possibility for those of you as you think about where you're going to go with developing your system. So with that said, let's move in to our final section of the content here and think about applying implementation science stages. So move that slide forward and just share with you that the good news is that there is a frame for thinking about how a program might coordinate their approach, and we can ensure a more effective approach to implementation if we look at what implementation science has to offer. So here is one last poll for you if you would tell us where you are with your information and your knowledge base on implementation science. Are you -- use it, understand it, share it with others? That would be the 10. One is, "I've never heard of it before," and then various gradations in between. You should be able to see those results. So we have quite a few people who haven't heard of it, so I'm glad we're mentioning it here, and some who are familiar, moderately, with the concepts and just a handful here who really feel very comfortable with it.
So that's good to see, and thank you, Janika. Let's go ahead and move on now from the -- There we go. Thank you. A little bit of a switcheroo as we move, so thank you for that. If you're not, it is a very, very useful bit of information to have in your mind as you are working to implement something, and, in this case, what we're talking about is designing and implementing a coordinated approach. Some really brilliant people did a massive review of literature of programs and entities that were implementing something new, practices, and what they discovered, in looking through all of the science that had been published around implementing a project or a process or a new tool, a new curriculum, all of that, is that there are four stages to implementation. And those are laid out in the blue bubbles below of exploration, installation, initial implementation and full implementation. But what I really want to draw your eyes to is -- And it's not colorful, so it doesn't really jump out at you, but if you look down at the bottom of the slide, it shows that it can take 2 to 4 years to really solidly move to full implementation of a practice or a new process or something that you're working on. So we won't go through the details of each stage. They are listed there. What does it mean to explore, to install? In terms of implementing what you are doing now with not just this but any of the Performance Standards that you are working toward, it's important to think about that as you move through these stages, by the time you are at initial implementation, you should be very close to compliance in terms of getting that Performance Standard implemented.
But I saw someone chat in earlier on something that they were feeling pretty good about it now, but there's always room for improvement. And that's what can get you from initial up to full, implementing something with fidelity and being much more effective with it. So I think one other point that it's very important to bring up on this particular slide is that it's not linear. So even though it does indicate that you started exploration and installation is next, it's also very important to note those really dark blue arrows at the top between those bubbles that point this way and that, and what that tells us is even the best of us when we are implementing something new may move forward a stage and then slip back. So maybe you've had a fantastic relationship with a particular LEA in your program, and that person who has been your primary contact leaves and moves to another district. And so you kind of start over and move back maybe to installation or exploration with a new person. So it's back and forth all the way through, and I think the beauty of thinking about these stages is that it does a little bit of relief that we're not all expected to be perfect immediately, and it takes a bit of a process to get there. So it does take time.
There are four key ingredients that are required for effective implementation of some new process. So one is that it takes time. And then the next is that it takes a village, and it certainly does take a village. We talked earlier about all the many, many, many different people that can be involved in delivering effective services and coordinating those services for children with disabilities. It also takes support, so this is at all levels of the program. So a child needs support to learn. Families need to support to understand their child and their unique characteristics and how to work through IDEA. Education staff needs support in terms of reflective supervision, coaching. You've got a coaching standard that can really help you with your education staff around supporting children with disabilities. And the disability coordinator needs support, and so it just goes full circle. So I think that's very important to keep in mind. And finally, it takes communication and lots and lots of it. So again here, you have teachers, education staff, home visitors, family childcare providers who are all communicating with families and then with their supervisors and then maybe the education staff with the disability coordinator, who's also communicating with the program director, and one or two of those people communicating with the LEA. The program director has to talk with fiscal, and so tons and tons of communication is needed to effectively implement a new process, especially one that's a little complicated like this.
So I think as we think about coordination here, it's important to think about all of these different layers, the time with the stages, the number of people, how they can be supported in implementation and the communication. So there's just a natural alignment with this acknowledgment of how implementation works with the development and implementation of a coordinated approach. So that was much faster than needed to do it justice, but a little bit of an introduction to implementation science. And now we're going to close with some information on MyPeers. I've seen several references to it in the chat, so that's a high five and hurrah for all of you who are already involved. And for those who are not, Sangeeta's going to talk you through it.
Sangeeta: Thank you so much, Val. So I just, you know, want to wrap that up a little bit. I love the implementation science lens. I know it's not for everybody, but I noticed that many of you haven't heard about it before, so I'm really glad we talked about it today. I also want to reiterate something I said earlier, which is that some of you may feel really confident in the coordinated approach, and that's great. Others of you may have a siloed approach right now where the right hand doesn't quite know what the left hand is doing. That's totally fine and understandable, and that's why we're here to support you through the National Center and the federal office. And for some of you, you know, this may be nothing new, or you realize this actually isn't anything new, and hopefully you're feeling a little bit relieved. So, you know, there are different ways to implement the coordinated approach, and we hope that we provided you with some tools today.
But really, as Val just highlighted for us, communication is so important. And we are communicating with you here today, but communicating with your peers, I think, is the most valuable because they're the ones that are living it day-to-day like you are. And that's why we've launched this network called MyPeers. So what we have here is the Head Start Disabilities/Inclusion Network on MyPeers, and it's designed to bring together a community that can utilize this online platform to interact with each other, ask questions, provide peer support and share strategies that work for you. This is not any kind of federal oversight. It's really for you all to communicate with each other. We already have 1,178 members. That is humongous. We have so many people in this particular network. We are very excited about it. It was launched just in November 2016, so that is quite a large number. We've had some really great questions that have come through already around screening, suspension and expulsion. We've had a lot of other topics around social-emotional curricula and assessment, general assessment, screening, violent behaviors and bullying. And so, you know, if you're thinking, "Wow. I could really use some support and tools around this, want to hear how others are doing it," we would really encourage you to join this network. And this is how you do it.
Click on the link provided in the chat box that you see there. Provide your name, e-mail and role, and, within a few days, you will receive an invitation to join via e-mail, and that e-mail will then guide you through the process. And if you are already a current member of MyPeers, the process is pretty simple. You just click on Communities when you get into MyPeers. Select the Head Start Disabilities/Inclusion Network and click on Feeds. And then select Join on the right-hand side of the screen, and you will be part of the very large network that we have.
Valeri: A very large network that is having some great discussions. I just really think that it appears that people are asking questions of importance and relevance to their unique situation, and others are joining in and providing responses. So it's really, really nice. And I like Angela's comment up here that she's digging MyPeers, so maybe we can get the rest of you to dig it, too.
Sangeeta: And, Val, you want to wrap us up here?
Valeri: Sure. I will do that. So thank you all, everyone, for joining us. I've seen -- Oops. We're a minute over now. We want to remind you that a link to the webinar will be posted in MyPeers soon and will be posted on the ECLKC once the final has been made 508-compliant. And again, a reminder that you can stay connected to the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning Disabilities Activities through MyPeers and the live chats and again that final webinar from the federal series that will be presented on March 30th. So thank you very much for your great questions. The ones that we did not get answers to, we will pull together in a document and get posted in MyPeers soon after we get this webinar up. So thank you, everyone. Goodbye.
Sangeeta: Thank you. Bye.Close
Learn how program-wide coordinated approaches can help children with disabilities have full and effective participation in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Review the connections between the Head Start Program Performance Standard regarding disabilities (45 CFR § 1302.101(b)(3)) and current practices. Hear how an implementation science framework may help staff in using coordinated approaches.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Last Updated: August 9, 2021