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RTT-ELC Implementation

California's Race to the Top -- Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) Grant Award.

California's Approach

California’s RTT-ELC grant implements a unique approach that builds upon a California’s local and statewide successes to create sustainable capacity at the local level to meet the needs of our early learners, with a focus on those with the highest needs. It supports a locally driven quality improvement process that encourages regional assessment, goal setting, and monitoring of progress that leads to tangible change.

California’s application makes the case for a locally driven approach with three key arguments:

California's Award

In 2012, California requested $100 million and was awarded $52.6 million, with $84 million originally intended for local county grantees. The lowered award reduced the local funding to approximately 74 percent of the grant amount. In 2013, The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services awarded California an RTT-ELC supplemental grant award of $22.4 million, of which 83 percent went to the local grantees.

The following is California's approved RTT-ELC Federal Application that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on October 19, 2011:

California's Plan: Local Activities

Local Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

Approximately 77 percent of California’s RTT-ELC grant funding will be spent at the local level to support a voluntary network of 17 Regional Leadership Consortia, each led by an established organization that is already operating or developing a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). As part of this grant, the Consortia will bring together organizations in their region with the same goal of improving the quality of early learning and will expand their current areas of impact by inviting other programs to join their QRIS or reaching out to mentor other communities. With the infusion of RTT-ELC Supplemental funding in 2013, the Consortia will begin to mentor 14 additional mentee counties. Nearly 1.8 million children or 65 percent of children under five in California are potentially impacted by this grant.

By joining California’s Race to the Top effort, the Consortia voluntarily agree to align their local QRIS to a common “Quality Continuum Framework” based on research-based elements and related assessment and improvement tools. They also agree to implement in their QRIS two common tiers using the Framework in addition to locally determined tiers and to set local goals to improve the quality of early learning and development programs. The focus will be in three areas of program quality:

The end goal that unites these Consortia is to: Ensure that children in California have access to high quality programs so that they thrive in their early learning settings and succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

To implement the Quality Continuum Framework, the Consortia have developed the following documents:

California's Plan: State Activities

In addition to an evaluation of the Consortia outcomes, California will use a portion of the RTT-ELC grant funds to make the following one-time investments in state capacity:

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Questions:   Cecelia Fisher-Dahms | cfisherd@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-9739
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