Grant Awarded to Expand Delaware’s Early Learning Data Systems

February 10th, 2014

Category: Early Childhood Education, News, Student-Centered Learning

Last week, the Delaware Department of Education announced that Delaware received a $1.5 million grant from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to expand the state’s Education Data Warehouse and Insight Dashboard to include data on children from birth through pre-kindergarten. This grant will be a valuable tool for helping to link the extensive work being done in both the early learning and the K-12 systems, providing data which can help facilitate seamless transitions for children between the systems.

Delaware’s system is already being recognized nationally as one of the strongest K-12 databases. Just last month, Delaware was recognized by the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national leader in data systems, as one of just two states nationally that has all 10 of the core elements DQC has identified for a strong data system. This grant will only continue to strengthen the Delaware dashboard.

Currently, the dashboard is a web-based system that provides educators with a comprehensive look at each of their students, such as attendance and disciplinary issues, in addition to information that can help manage academic performance. This data can help educators identify the needs of students, and to develop individualized approaches and learning plans. The Dell Foundation grant will preserve the benefits of the current system while also expanding the dashboard to provide a crucial link between early learning, and the K-12 system, a link that has been difficult to make in the past. Like K-12 teachers, early childhood providers will benefit from the consistency of information. The system will not only make it possible to track the results of early learner assessments, but also will make it easier to track developments in social skills and other areas. The extension of this system will be another great addition to the many tools being used to bolster early learning in Delaware.

The expansion will be especially helpful because it will extend the tool to include data from across systems. For example, the new dashboard will include information from the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families; the Office of Early Learning; and the Department of Education. Having all of this information in one place will further encourage new and innovative ways to improving the education of Delaware’s students.

The introduction of birth through pre-kindergarten data into the system, may initially be difficult to implement, as there are less reporting requirements for early childhood education providers. However, the ability for agencies to come together to make this opportunity possible, demonstrates the hard work being done throughout the state to better align the system. This is just one of many examples of Delaware’s stakeholders working together to align Delaware’s initiatives. Systems such as this will help improve work being done across the state in all policy areas, while also serving as a model for other states to follow.

Jenna Ahner



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