Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Management Bulletin 21-05

Requirements and information for completing the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Program Self Evaluation.

Early Learning and Care Division

Subject:  Fiscal Year 2020–21 Program Self-Evaluation

Number: 21-05

Date: March 19, 2021

Expires: Until Rescinded

Authority: California Education Code (EC) Section 8261(a); California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) sections 18270.5, 18272, 18279, 18280, and 18281

Attention: Executive Officers and Program Directors of all Early Learning and Care Programs


This Management Bulletin (MB) informs contractors of California Department of Education (CDE), Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) of the requirements and instructions for completing and submitting the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020–21 Program Self-Evaluation (PSE) no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

This MB provides:

  • Information on the changes made for FY 2020–21 to the traditional PSE form, which is in survey, rather than narrative format, and addresses topics specific to responding to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)
  • Instructions for completion and submission of the modified PSE form, and a list of the multiple-choice questions that are included in the PSE survey
  • Information regarding the flexibility on the Environment Rating Scale (ERS) requirement as it relates to the FY 2020–21 PSE


The PSE requirements are described in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), sections 18270.5, 18272, 18279, 18280, and 18281.

Pursuant to 5 CCR Section 18279, the annual PSE shall include the following:

  1. An assessment and analysis of the program using the Program Review Instrument for all items applicable to the contract type(s).
  2. An assessment of the program by staff and board members as evidenced by written documentation.
  3. Procedures for the ongoing monitoring of the program to ensure that areas of the program that are satisfactory continue to meet standards, and areas requiring modification are addressed in a timely and effective manner.

Due to the unique challenges presented to contractors and the CDE, ELCD this year, the traditional PSE Form ELCD 4000 has been modified for FY 20–21. Contractors are to complete the modified PSE which consists of multiple-choice survey questions. Contractors are required to submit the PSE Form 4000M (Survey) to the CDE on or before Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at 5 p.m. Contractors must submit the survey electronically to ELCD. All other required documentation completed as part of the PSE process must be kept on-site and available for review upon request


Program Self-Evaluation for Fiscal Year 2020–21

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many new challenges for early learning and care (ELC) programs. Contractors have been required to make adaptations and modifications to the services provided while continuing to follow program requirements and ensure that families’ needs are being met. Per 5 CCR 18279, each contractor shall develop and implement an annual plan for the program self-evaluation process. This requires the following: (1) use the program review instrument to assess your program; (2) identify the areas where you have effective practices; (3) identify where your practices need improvement; and (4) develop an improvement plan that addresses those areas in your summary. In addition, contractors must ensure that staff and board members are included in the PSE process.

Following guidance from The Use of the Environment Rating Scale During Pandemic Conditions located on the Environment Rating Scales Institute (ERSI) website ( the Environment Rating Scale (ERS) tools should not be used under pandemic conditions to assess the quality of a program in an official assessment in which the average overall quality of the program is determined. Environment assessments can and should be used to inform best practices. For FY 2020–21 programs that are open, in part or in whole, must complete the Environment Self-Certification During Pandemic Conditions Questionnaire in lieu of completing an ERS as a part of the self-evaluation process.

For FY 2020–21 contractors will complete the modified PSE form, which this year consists of a multiple-choice question survey. Along with multiple choice options for each question, contractors will have an opportunity to add their own unique experiences, if applicable. The survey will identify how programs successfully responded to the pandemic and identify any challenges in meeting requirements. The following questions will be on the survey in multiple choice format:

  1. How have staff and board members been involved in the program self-evaluation process?
  2. How has the program provided staff/providers with training and tools to support distance learning, as applicable?
  3. How have the program support staff responded to modifications in program requirements and provided additional resources to support the changes?
  4. How have environment/classroom modifications and/or home schedule adaptations been made to meet the 5 CCR requirements for the Environment Rating Scale while maintaining social distancing?
  5. How has the program partnered with families to support their child’s learning and development through use of the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP)?
  6. How has the program ensured that all enrolled families that are not receiving in-person services have access to learning materials, as applicable?
  7. How has the program ensured that all enrolled families have access to health and social services, community resources, etc.?
  8. How has the program collected and utilized feedback from families through the Desired Results Parent Survey or parent survey?
  9. Is there anything else that you would like to share about your program this year?

Contractors are required to submit the survey to the CDE on or before Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at 5 p.m. Contractors must submit the survey electronically to ELCD. All other required documentation completed as part of the PSE process must be kept on-site and available for review upon request.

Background and Authority

All CDE, ELCD contractors including California Alternative Payment Program (CAPP), California Migrant Alternative Payment (CMAP), California Resource and Referral Program (CRRP), CalWORKs Stage 2 (C2AP), CalWORKs Stage 3 (C3AP), General Migrant Child Care (CMIG), California Family Child Care Home Education Networks (CFCC), California Severely Handicapped (CHAN), General Child Care and Development Program (CCTR), and California State Preschool Program (CSPP) are required to complete and submit the PSE by June 1 each fiscal year.

Section 18279 of 5 CCR requires contractors to develop an annual plan for their PSE process. The annual plan must include a self-evaluation based on the use of the Program Review Instrument, the applicable Parent Survey and, for direct service, center-based programs, including Family Child Care Home Education Networks, the Desired Results Developmental Profile, and Environment Rating Scale.

Contractors are required to analyze findings from the self-evaluation and develop both a written list of tasks to modify the program for all areas needing improvement and procedures for ongoing monitoring to assure that areas that are satisfactory continue to meet standards.

Other Relevant Resources

The survey, as well as Frequently Asked Questions, will be located on the CDE Program Self-Evaluation web page at [link no longer available for this fiscal year PSE].

If you have questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your assigned ELCD Program Quality Implementation Office Regional Consultant via the CDE Consultant Regional Assignments web page at, or by phone at 916-322-6233.

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division| 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 27, 2023
Recently Posted in Early Education

  • Early Identification Legislative Report (added 24-Apr-2024)
    Report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Legislature, and the Department of Finance on the Proposed Tools and Process for the Early Identification of Developmental Delays and Learning Disabilities