Early Learning Coalitions
The primary role of Florida's Early Learning Coalitions is to develop and administer a comprehensive, integrated system of early care and education to prepare children to succeed in school and in life. (School Readiness Act of 1999, Florida Statute 411.01 as amended). In addition, it is the intent of legislation that the Coalitions will build upon existing services and work in cooperation with other programs for young children. Under this statute, it is the responsibility of the Coalitions to provide unified leadership, support, and guidance to ensure that children have the opportunity to benefit from developmentally appropriate, research-based School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) programs, while respecting the role of the parent as a child's first teacher.
One of the ways that Coalitions in some Florida counties are directly addressing the goals of preparing children for school success and providing a system of high-quality services within their programs is through the use of systematic program assessment. Research in early childhood education has shown clear links between the quality of children's instructional and classroom environments and their achievement in terms of developmental outcomes. Toward that end, the planned, systematic use of the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) has been shown to be an effective model to improve the quality of early childhood classrooms. When classroom quality increases, children show improved outcomes.
Children's Services Councils
Through voter-approved funding in eight Florida counties with Children's Services Councils (CSC), similar initiatives are taking place with regard to program assessment in early learning classrooms. In these counties, the CSCs work in conjunction with Coalitions and other partnering agencies to ensure that classrooms are meeting certain standards of practice. Often, these initiatives are part of a larger Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) or a related quality-improvement program.
The Forum supports the use of program assessment through the Program Assessment Center by maintaining a cadre of trained and reliable classroom assessors using both the ERS and the CLASS instruments. If you would like more information about our Program Assessment Center, please contact Debbie Conley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program Assessment Center
2807 Remington Green Circle
Tallahassee, FL 32308
Telephone (850) 681-7002
Fax (866) 956-9513