Evaluative Processes for Quality Improvement
To keep the NA updated Buffet Early Childhood Institute (BECI) will integrate the work with the Performance Evaluation. BECI will convene and lead these efforts and will implement processes for data-sharing. BECI will also track evaluation results to update the research base on the programs being implemented through the grant. For the ongoing Performance Evaluation to succeed, Nebraska will need to build out its data capacity (including through the Early Childhood Integrated Data System) and provide adequate staffing to ensure stakeholders can access the data. The Performance Evaluation project lead will coordinate those efforts and monitor data from the emergent integrated data system, project implementation, NA, program evaluation, and community systems.
Evaluation methods will focus on refining, enhancing, and/or implementing the Performance Evaluation to align with the most current needs assessment findings and strategic plan. The Performance Evaluation will include information that details how states will leverage data to examine the implementation, outputs, and costs of strategic plan activities and support continuous quality improvement
- Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) Buildout: Finish the planning, development and implementation of an expanded data system. In the first year, a plan for the system design and governance structure will be completed. A full-time staff person housed at Nebraska Department of Education will be hired to lead the work with additional contractual support. This NeKids Expansion Product Owner (NEPO) will be a senior leader responsible for driving proposed efforts; the NEPO will work across agencies to ensure necessary interagency agreements, both to create a centralized governance structure and to guarantee appropriate data use.
- Governance and Financing Task Force: In 2020 the state will launch a task force to study the redesign of Nebraska’s Early Childcare governance structure and relevant financing mechanisms. The primary goal of the task force is to eliminate categorical barriers to offering full-day, year-round, high-quality affordable Early Childhood Care and Education for children 0-5 and their families, regardless of the setting.
- Performance Evaluation Committee: To keep the NA updated, the Buffett Early Childhood Institute (BECI) will integrate the work with the Performance Evaluation. Institute leadership and communications staff will also provide support. BECI will convene and lead these efforts and will implement processes for data-sharing and turnover of the data to the appropriate state agency at grant completion and will also track evaluation results to update the research base on the programs being implemented through the grant.
- NAESP Leadership Academy: Launched in 2019 in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), this initiative provides training and ongoing support to principals to support effective transitions. The Academy will be expanded to include partners from Early Childhood programs. The training is appropriate for both groups, and having cohorts that mix K-12 and EC leaders will improve transitions systemically.
- Communication and Dissemination: Aims to increase the visibility, reach, and impact of the initiatives supported by continued PDG funding by publicly representing the PDG as a coordinated, cohesive effort of systems, services, and initiatives to address the needs of Nebraska’s children and families. Support from the Renewal Grant will build on the initial grant communication infrastructure to engage a wider range of partners, emphasizing those that have significant contact with vulnerable populations. Policymakers will be kept abreast of progress; a wider range of content will be developed for marketing to target audiences; and efforts will take advantage of existing events to share resources and stories that communicate the impact of Early Childhood Care and Education and of the PDG itself.