Policy Resource

California Takes on the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

Nov 13, 2017

In December 2011, California was awarded a four-year Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant.

Highlights of the work they achieved include the following. The state invested nearly 77% of its RTT-ELC grant at the local level to support a voluntary network of 17 Regional Leadership Consortia to develop and operate local QRIS. The Consortia agreed on a points-based hybrid rating system approach and developed three common tiers that all local QRIS will use. The elements and points for the common tiers are outlined in the Quality Continuum Framework Consortia Hybrid Matrix. The Consortia also created a corresponding Quality Improvement and Professional Development Pathways document. Work on the QRIS continued after the ELC grant ended. Learn more about that here.

The state provided infant-toddler trainings to home visiting program staff; provided training on developmental screening for local Consortia members; developed several online courses providing overviews of the California Collaborative for the Social-Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (CCSEFEL) teaching pyramid; enhanced the California Department of Social Services (DSS), Community Care Licensing Division (CCL) website to include educational and training materials; updated the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) to accommodate the Kindergarten entry assessment information; provided train-the-trainer instruction on the Program Administration Scale (PAS) and Business Administration Scale (BAS) for mentors; developed online training materials for existing content; and provided coordinated training for early intervention program staff.

Additionally, California expanded the core early learning curricula offered at state community colleges. Seven courses have been developed covering three specialization areas: infants and toddlers, program administration, and children with special needs.

Learn more about California and how other states used their RTT-ELC funds to strengthen their early childhood systems in ZERO TO THREE’s papers: How Are Early Learning Challenge Grant Targeting Infants and Toddlers and The Early Learning Challenge Grant Is Helping States Better Serve Infants and Toddlers.

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