Fall Newsletter!
Did you know?
The Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC) is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs to assist states to develop, implement, and evaluate an integrated and comprehensive system of personnel development (CSPD) for the early childhood workforce so that young children with disabilities and their families receive effective early childhood intervention.
 
Focusing on the Personnel/Workforce component of the Early Childhood Systems Framework, the ECPC supports states to develop a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) for state systems serving infants and young children with disabilities and their families. 
A CSPD is a framework used to improve the quantity, quality, and effectiveness of the early childhood intervention workforce who provide services and interventions to facilitate the development and learning of infants and young children with disabilities and their families. The CSPD has a prominent history in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the CSPD is a statutory requirement for early intervention programs for infants and toddlers, known as Part C of IDEA.

This month we spotlight Minnesota’s CSPD
The Minnesota team began their journey by attending a Cross-State Leadership Institute in CT. A leadership team consists of representatives from Part C, Part B/ 619, Families, Higher Education, Early Childhood State Staff, and the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) to attend and complete the Personnel/Workforce component of the Early Childhood Framework. The team explored the opportunity to develop a CSPD, using the Readiness Tool. Determining that Minnesota was indeed ready to begin the CSPD Strategic Planning Process they completed a memorandum of agreement with the ECPC to enter into formal intensive technical assistance.
 
As the lead agency for Part C and Part B, Section 619 programs, the Minnesota State Department of Education receives intensive technical assistance from the ECPC to support the development of an integrated and comprehensive system of personnel development. Using the CSPD Strategic Planning Process, the Leadership, Coordination, and Sustainability Workgroup completed the ECPC CSPD Self-Assessment and created a personalized vision and mission statement for the Minnesota CSPD.
Minnesota Vision Statement:
Each and every child gets the great start needed to succeed from their families, communities, and early learning experiences.
 
Minnesota Mission Statement:
Because each and every child, prenatal to 5, and their families deserve high-quality early care and education, Minnesota will integrate and align existing systems of personnel development in order to empower practitioners to implement and sustain the use of evidence-based practices.
The Minnesota CSPD workgroup members, comprised of key partners from cross-sector early childhood stakeholders interested in improving outcomes for children and families, include the following:
  • Minnesota Department of Education Staff including Part C and Part B 619 coordinators
  • Higher education faculty preparing personnel to serve young children and their families
  • Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB)
  • Family members from across the state
  • PACER Center staff, the parent training and information center
  • Minnesota Centers for Excellence professional development trainers
  • Child Trends staff member
  • Child Care Aware staff
  • Institute on Community Integration, Minnesota’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)
The importance of involving families
Minnesota’s CSPD prioritized recruiting family members to each workgroup. Listen to Sue Thomas, Minnesota’s Part B/619 Coordinator, as she shares the importance of involving families within the CSPD process for early childhood.
Family members are vital to the success of the Minnesota CSPD workgroups. Minnesota purposefully contacted statewide agencies such as the Pacer Center, MN Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities: Partners in Policy Making graduates, and the Minnesota Interagency Coordinating Council to assist in recruiting families.

A formalized system for onboarding families, including a presentation and time for questions, was developed to be part of the Minnesota CSPD process to support families interested in joining a CSPD workgroup. This onboarding process allows families to make informed decisions about their role within the Minnesota CSPD.

Two of the Minnesota CSPD workgroups are led by family members, and through the Department of Education, Minnesota has developed a policy for reimbursing family members for their time attending meetings and engaging in the work of the CSPD. Additionally, Minnesota created a family member position on the DOE team specific to the work of the CSPD, highlighting their commitment to involving families in the state CSPD.

This is an example of what states can do to support family involvement in the CSPD process! 
Minnesota: CSPD Subcomponent Workgroups
Using the ECPC CSPD Self-Assessment, workgroups first identified the changes or outcomes, they wanted to see, specific to their CSPD subcomponent (preservice, in-service, recruitment and retention, personnel standards, evaluation, leadership, coordination, and sustainability). Together, members of each group worked to develop an action plan with specific goals and objectives to accomplish the identified outcomes. Each goal included measurable action steps, which were accomplished during the monthly workgroup meetings.
Implementation Phases to CSPD

Currently, Minnesota’s CSPD is in phase three and planning for phase four of the phases to develop a sustainable CSPDBelow are examples of Minnesota’s workgroup action plan goals and activities.
The Preservice Training subcomponent Quality Indicator 6 states that institutes of higher education (IHE) programs and curricula address early childhood development and discipline-specific pedagogy.

To learn more about the early childhood content of Minnesota’s IHEs who are preparing early childhood personnel, the Preservice Workgroup developed and disseminated a survey to program directors who prepare students to work with young children with disabilities and their families. The purpose of the survey was to gather data about the use of the ECPC Cross-Disciplinary Competencies and the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices.
Results of this survey suggested that program directors/directors of field placements in higher education programs are unfamiliar with the ECPC Cross-Disciplinary Competencies and how to include the competencies in curriculum planning. Survey results also indicated an inconsistent understanding and application of the DEC Recommended Practices.
Using the results of the survey, the preservice workgroup developed an infographic with links to information and resources to support the preparation of students for interdisciplinary work in early childhood settings. The intent of the infographic was to share high-quality resources with programs preparing early childhood personnel. Resources include the EI/ECSE Personnel Preparation Standards, the DEC Recommended Practices, the ECPC Cross-Disciplinary Competencies, and other relevant EI/ECSE resources and websites, including Minnesota-specific resources. Click on the interactive graphic to view content.
In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), the Personnel Standards workgroup is focused on Quality Indicator 3 which states that state personnel standards across disciplines are aligned to national professional organization personnel standards.

Using the ECPC crosswalk of standards, the workgroup and stakeholders conducted a systematic review and comparison between the current Minnesota state standards and the Division for Early Childhood’s Initial Practice-based Professional Preparation Standards for Early Interventionists/Early Childhood Special Educators (2020), referred to as the EI/ECSE standards. The workgroup and stakeholders reached consensus to take steps to fully adopt the EI/ECSE standards as the Minnesota state standards for licensure. The group continues this work and will present their justification documents to the state legislature, followed by a public comment period, in the fall of 2021.

Minnesota demonstrates the power to the profession and the importance of the new EI/ECSE standards by adopting the EI/ECSE standards as their state standards!
The recruitment and retention workgroup developed a survey to address Quality Indicator 9 which states that comprehensive recruitment and retention strategies are based on multiple data sources.
The purpose of the survey was to learn more about the practices used to recruit and retain Minnesota’s early childhood workforce. The survey was distributed to early childhood professionals who may have worked in early childhood special education roles, either currently or in the past. The survey was open from January through May 2021: 467 individuals responded to the survey. 
The map represents the home zip codes of the respondents, which depicts the statewide representation.
Respondents identified a variety of reasons behind their decision to leave the early childhood profession:
  • Low compensation
  • Lack of growth opportunities
  • Retirement
  • Lack of respect for the profession from others
  • Lack of paid time off
  • Health insurance or other benefits
  • Financial debt
  • Lack of professional supports in the job
  • Family and my own children
  • Went back to school
  • Accepted a different position in education, outside of early childhood
  • Never my career path
With the help of a workgroup member from ChildTrends, the workgroup continues to analyze survey data as well as focus group data. Focus groups were held with groups that were not represented in the respondents to the survey. As next steps, the workgroup intends to highlight possible solutions to the barriers identified through the use of the survey to share with Minnesota’s early childhood systems. 
With a focus on Quality Indicator 7 and the Minnesota statewide system for in-service personnel development, the workgroup has developed resources and materials to support the use of the EI/ECSE standards within their existing Minnesota Centers for Excellence State Innovations professional development training.
The Innovations were previously aligned with the DEC Recommended Practices (2014). Using the ECPC Crosswalk of the EI/ECSE Standards and the DEC Recommended Practices, the workgroup developed alignment tools to embed the EI/ECSE standards within the Innovations. Refer to the example from the Pyramid Model Innovation training. 

Click on the graphic to view.
What is your state doing to develop and sustain a CSPD? Are you ready to work on your CSPD? If so, there are resources to get you started. 
For CSPD resources or to request assistance, visit the ECPC website for more information!