FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 02/27/14
Contact: LDOE Public Affairs, (225) 342-3600, Fax: (225) 342-0193

STATE ANNOUNCES NEW
EARLY CHILDHOOD NETWORK PILOTS
DOUBLING NUMBER OF DISTRICTS
AND CHILDREN SERVED

Partnering Innovative Communities to Receive
$3 Million to Unify Early Childhood Systems  

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) announced plans to double the reach and impact of the Early Childhood Care and Education Network pilots. Sixteen new communities will join the 13 current pilots, which represent 17 school districts, to take on the challenge of coordinating care and education for all their at-risk children under age five. This brings the total number of school districts represented in the pilot program to 33 or halfway to full statewide implementation. This expansion of the network pilots increases the number of at-risk children who stand to benefit to 145,000.

“By expanding the number and impact of community networks, we will move more quickly toward our shared goal of unifying the fragmented early childhood system,” said State Superintendent John White. “This represents not only a significant investment in building and strengthening these local networks but an opportunity for the state to continue to learn from the field about what works as we implement Act 3.”

The 16 new pilots will receive more than $2 million, subject to approval by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), to unify enrollment and access for families, implement common standards with shared measurement, and ensure equal access to professional development for teachers in all program types to improve the lives of Louisiana’s youngest learners.

“DCFS looks forward to new opportunities through the expanded network pilots to increase school readiness, streamline access to early childhood services, and ensure the safety of children,” said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. “These early years are key to a child’s success in life.”

In 2012, the Louisiana Legislature passed Act 3, creating the network, which calls on the state to take a system of early childhood that is fragmented into multiple, inequitable systems and unify it under one set of standards. The first cohort of pilots launched in July 2013. By fall of 2015, early childhood providers statewide will participate in a unified network.

In addition, the first cohort of pilots will be eligible for up to $1 million in quality expansion funding to partner with new pilots and increase their impact. This funding will allow current pilots to:

Partner with new pilots to share what has worked well and provide assistance for any challenges ahead.

Support instructional improvement through a mentorship program for early childhood teachers.

Continue the creation of a unified, seamless enrollment process for families.

“The members of the New Orleans Early Education Network are delighted to have the opportunity to continue our work to improve the quality of child care and early education for young children in our city and region,” said Anthony Recasner, CEO of Agenda for Children. “This empowers our leaders to provide support to other networks, champion legislation to expand the prekindergarten program, and to provide on-going training to improve the practice of child care and early education professionals.”

The collaboration between current and new pilots will move one step closer to increasing high-quality options for all ages, including ensuring a spot for all at-risk 4-year-olds.

“The Children’s Coalition is excited to partner with Morehouse Parish as a new pilot. With our experience as the coordinating partner in Ouachita Parish, we can build on what we have learned in the first stage of the pilots. Working together with the strong set of early childhood leaders in Morehouse will result in more opportunities for our most vulnerable children,” said Lynda Gavioli, Executive Director of The Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana.

On April 1, the new pilots will officially launch and the funding application will be available to current pilots. However, the work to partner communities and help the new pilots get their networks up and running will begin immediately.

“St. James Parish is excited to be awarded a Cohort 2 Early Childhood Pilot and looks forward to learning from districts in Cohort 1 and networking with all licensed childcare providers in St. James Parish,” said Dr. Lonnie Luce, Superintendent for St. James Parish Schools. “This is an awesome opportunity to all learn together and provide a high quality education for all children Birth to 5.”

The 16 new pilot parishes are:

 

Parish

Coordinating Partner Agency

Allen 1st Years Child Care Resource and Referral Agency
Bienville Bienville Parish School Board
Bossier Bossier Parish School Board
East Baton Rouge East Baton Rouge Parish School Board
Jefferson Jefferson Parish School Board
Jefferson Davis Jefferson Davis Parish School Board
Morehouse Children’s Coalition for North East Louisiana
Sabine Sabine Parish School Board
St. Charles St. Charles Parish School Board
St. James St. James Parish School Board
St. John St. John Parish School Board
St. Martin St. Martin Parish School Board
Tangipahoa Tangipahoa Parish School Board
Vernon Vernon Parish School Board
West Feliciana West Feliciana Parish School Board
Winn Winn Parish School Board


For more information on early childhood education in Louisiana, please click here.

For a presentation on the Roadmap to implementing the Early Childhood Care and Education Network, please click here.

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Louisiana Department of Education Website 

Contact the Louisiana Department of Education