The original Preschool Development Grant – Expansion Grant (PDG-EG) was awarded to Illinois in 2015, as part of a federal Early Learning Challenge grant, to enhance its infrastructure to provide high-quality preschool programs, and to expand high-quality full day preschool programs for four year-olds in high-need communities. The Year One grantees were part of the initial federal competitive application and Early Childhood Professional Learning (ECPL) partnered with Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) to support these initial grantees; subsequent years’ programs are selected from a competitive state RFP application process through ISBE. FY21 begins the 6th year of new, additional state funded PFA Expansion grants.
The Preschool for All Expansion Grant Overview
Early Childhood Professional Learning (ECPL) provides technical assistance to the Preschool Development Grant – Expansion Grant (PDG-EG) grantees in multiple ways. Each grantee is assigned a Program Support Specialist (PSS) who provides program support and technical assistance to the Expansion Program Administrator, Instructional Leader, and Family Educator in all areas of implementation with an expanded focus on the Comprehensive Services required by this grant (defined in the ISBE expanded Compliance Checklist). Programs receive both on-site and virtual support from their PSS. In addition to this individualized support, Early Childhood Professional Learning has developed workshops, webinars, and other professional learning opportunities to support high-quality implementation of the Expansion model. Face-to-face workshops are held across the state to bring program staff together in Professional Learning Communities. ECPL has been a partner in multiple state conferences (including the B-3 Continuity Conference) to provide awareness and support of expansion grants. ECPL also contributes to the resources posted on the Illinois State Board of Education PFA Expansion website to support program needs.
"The year has gone very well so far with lots of great things to talk about regarding coaching - our Program Support Specialist was a wealth of knowledge regarding ECERS and the compliance checklist, spent time with each teacher to analyze the environment and teaching strategies, and has an abundance of information regarding family support which greatly assisted our Family Support Specialist – a newly hired position this year."
"I visit regularly (the ISBE PDG website) to view new resources and professional development opportunities."
"The presenters keeping the audience engaged. The materials the presenters provided to support our diverse learners and teachers in the classroom. The overall session had fabulous ideas and information to guide us in supporting the classroom environment for early childhood students."