Bidder’s Conference for PreK Special Education Needs Assessment RFP

Okay, welcome to the webinar you’re all on
this WebEx because you want to find out about a needs assessment that we are have an RFP
out for the needs assessment is for pre-kindergarten programs for children three, four and five
years old in which individual education programs are implemented and the funding is expected
to go from August 1 of this year to January 31 of 2020. So, let’s see if I get my slide to advance
here and it’s not advancing. I spent technical support here so… there
we go. Okay. This question is specific to program quality
and not IEP implementation. As some of you know CT’s starting age for
kindergarten is for children that are 5 on or before January 1st off of the particular
school year. As a result, we have four months of five-year-olds
in Connecticut that are kindergarten eligible. For the purpose of this RFP only three, four,
and five-year-olds in pre-k should be considered. We’re seeking information about pre-k quality
only, not kindergarten. The Department of Education, at this time,
has not defined quality. Applicants are encouraged to use the literature
to determine which proxies for program quality are recommended to give CSDE the best overall
picture of quality in programs in which three, four, and five-year-olds with IEPs served. For example curriculum, and assessments that
are being deployed and the use of the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards. Keep in mind that the examples I just gave
you are just that and not an exhaustive list. The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood,
which is a separate agency from the Department of Education, is in the development process
of a quality rating and improvement system and is aware of this artistic rfp. Leadership at the Office of Early Childhood
has changed since the development of this rfp and specific information about the direction
of QRIS is not available at this time. If you have any specific questions about Connecticut’s
QRIS work to date you can email me at [email protected] and I’ll forward the inquiry to the appropriate
person at the Office of Early Childhood to get you an answer. Additionally, the Office of Early Childhood
has general policies, some of which address quality and programs funded by the OEC. They can be found on the OEC website. If you go across the top there’s a drop-down
menu and you can go to grants. If you click on any grant program you will
be able to see the general policies. There is currently not a requirement for program
quality data to be collected from programs that serve young children with IEPs. The exception to this are programs that also
receive state funding. So, in Connecticut that would be School Readiness
or Smart Start. Those programs are required to meet the state
quality requirements noted in the OEC general policies and there are overlaps between those
programs and the kiddos that I’m asking, through this RFP, that we locate some of the quality. Connecticut State Department of Education
does not currently collect information about young children age three, four, and five that
have IEPs other than what is collected, oops go to the next slide, other than what is collected
on IEPs. We’re seeking to find out more about the programs
that these children are served in. We would like a high-level idea of what programs
in general, in Connecticut, are doing well, for example the majority of programs are using
the Early Learning and Development Standards, and areas that may need more development and
examples could be planning for classroom instruction based on IEP goals and not general best practice
using the Learning and Development Standards. Please note that these are only examples and
they shouldn’t be considered as fact. I was just using them as examples. Please note that Connecticut has 169 school
districts and would expect a representative sample for whatever methodology is chosen. There are approximately five thousand five
hundred three, four, and five-year-olds in pre-k with IEPs. Not all of the students on IEPs are in programs,
some have itinerant services only. The primary purpose for finding out more about
the quality of programs in which three, four, and five-year-olds with IEPs are served is
to more effectively deploy state supports, training technical assistance etc., as well
as funding opportunities to improve program quality for children attending these programs. The Department of Education does not expect
specific recommendations for program improvement as a result of this project. Applicants may choose to make general recommendations
for quality improvements. For example, which areas of improvement are
high leverage areas for technical assistance. The applicant should propose a sampling methodology
that will provide an adequate representative sample for the project. The awardee will be able to submit data requests
for information about specific districts with the exception of you won’t be able to get
information from LEA’s (local education agencies) or school districts with less than six identified
children because that would make it personally identifiable information. You’ll also be able to get information about
regions and statewide. The research should be focused on programs
in which IEP services are implemented. This does not include itinerant services or
programs in which children are enrolled in addition to programs that they receive their
IEP services. For example, a child attends an LEA program
in the morning and receives his or her special education services in that program and then
attends a Head Start program in the afternoon with no IEP services. So, we wouldn’t be interested in finding about
the services in the afternoon for the additional enrollment just for these services in the
morning where that child is enrolled and the IEP services are implemented. The funding stream of the program, however,
is not a criteria, the provision of IEP services is. The Department of Education is not requiring
any specific methodology to answer this question. It’s up to the applicant to propose the specific
method of methodology, as well as the proxies for quality. This should be a high level analysis and will
not be delving into child level data not specific IEPs or child or review the files of specific
children. We’re seeking an entity for this opportunity
that has had experience with needs assessments and familiarity with young children. The entity receiving this award should have
demonstrated capacity in this area as well as the ability to collect and analyze sufficient
data. We would like to find an entity to do this
work that has demonstrated capacity for this type of project as well as staff and infrastructure
to support and manage the project. It’s important to the Department of Education
that the entity demonstrate familiarity with both early childhood best practices and quality,
as well as special education. Once the grant is awarded the Department of
Ed will send correspondence to all Connecticut special ed directors introducing the project
and the awardee and letting them know that the awardee will be gathering information
but will only be sharing de-identified information with the Department of Education. We will make available an email address list
for all special education directors for surveys and correspondence regarding this project. Although not specifically prompted in Appendix
C your answers should include a description of the proposed needs assessment and how it
will be implemented. This can be done in the sections in which
you discuss key stakeholders in the staffing capacity and timeline the project. We would appreciate that narrative stay within
the eight page limit but we won’t penalize applicants if you go over the page limit and
the overage isn’t substantial. As long as the basic template prompts are
used the applicants can feel free to use a Word document to allow for narrower margins. Additionally applicants are allowed to provide
attachments and examples of attachments are CVs, annotated timelines, sampling methodology,
organization charts, logic models, work flow charts, etc. The awardee will not have access to student
level data but will be able to make data requests from CSDE pertaining to specific LEA’s and
again on if it’s less than an N of 6 or less we won’t be providing that data as it would
be considered personally identifiable. Data requests can be made, again, for regions
of the state and statewide data as well. Applications will be scored using the rubric
with each section score holistically by multiple scores. We’re checking to see if affirmative action
plans that are not on the state of Connecticut template are acceptable. In the event that they are, a draft would
need to be submitted prior to the RFP submission deadline to determine if the alternate template
is acceptable. The deadline for the applications are June
28th at 4 o’clock and they should be submitted electronically to [email protected] The cover sheet may be signed by an authorized
individual from the applying entity.

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