Office of Early Learning Frequently Asked Questions
- How will federal Race to the Top (RttT) funds support NYS’s youngest students (Preschool - Grade 3)?
Answer: A portion of the RttT funding has been used to establish the Office of Early Learning (OEL) to specifically manage Priority Three of the State’s RttT application - Innovations for Improving Early Learning Outcomes. Areas of focus for this office include:
- Developing practices, strategies and programs that improve educational outcomes for Preschool - Grade 3, particularly in high-need environments.
- Enhancing the quality of preschool programs.
- Establishing world class internationally benchmarked early learning standards for early learners to improve school readiness and facilitate greater success with the transition between preschool, Kindergarten, and early elementary education.
- How exactly will RttT support improvements in school readiness and programmatic quality for the NYS’s youngest learners (Preschool - Grade 3)?
- The OEL is developing guidance for implementation of the Common Core and PreK Learning Standards and aligning this with the Teaching Standards.
- Data on student readiness indicators is being collected to help teachers better prepare students for kindergarten.
- An RFP for the development of Curriculum Models will be issued to provide world class curriculum resources for Preschool – Grade 3 that are aligned with the Common Core and PreK Learning Standards, including ongoing assessment strategies and resources for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities.
- The OEL is working to coordinate professional development resources for literacy, math, and social-emotional development. These resources will include supports for our earliest learners, beginning with preschool.
- Formative assessment guidance and tools to assist teachers in measuring student progress in the early grades are being researched and developed. These tools will assist teachers in making informed decisions about how to modify instruction based on student specific need.
- What data is being collected under RttT and how does it support the Regents Reform Agenda?
- The OEL is coordinating the expansion of the Department’s current data collection to include more Preschool - Grade 3 students with the goal of achieving a more comprehensive picture of early childhood education.
- As the Educational Data Portal (EDP) is developed, the OEL will collaborate with other State agencies to develop an early childhood database to better meet the needs of our youngest citizens receiving State services. It will also allow teachers and administrators to utilize formative assessment data to inform instruction and monitor student progress, ultimately enabling many more students to achieve college and career readiness.
- How will development of assessment protocols for early learners support improved educational outcomes for high-needs students, in particular when they reach grade 3 and must take State mandated exams?
- The assessment protocols will be a resource for educators in modifying instruction to better meet the needs of students.
- Assessment protocols will allow districts, schools and teachers to measure student learning in early grades.
- These protocols will support the alignment of standards in the early untested grades.
- These protocols will provide early indicators for students in need of additional support to ensure progress.
- Assessment protocols will make it easier for teachers to monitor student progress and consistently tailor instruction to meet student needs.
- These protocols will support teachers in meeting needs of all students, particularly those in stressed environments and with limited resources.
5. How will the RttT resources assist parents in identifying high quality early learning programs?
Answer: SED plans to provide resources to enable all parents to identify the best early learning programs for their children and for districts to target professional development.