Projects

Continued implementation of Children Study Their World and development and implementation of Children Explore Their World

CECEI is implementing a multi-phased project, which brings standards-driven, project-based learning to preschool (defined as those who are in three and four-year-old classrooms) children throughout the State of Maryland. The multi-phased project will have the dual focus of: (1) expanding the implementation of Children Study Their World: A Curriculum for Four-Year-Old Children (CSW) and (2) developing and implementing Children Explore Their World: A Curriculum for Three-Year-Old Children (CEW). 

The overarching goal of the project is to utilize evidence in the research literature to design and implement standards-driven, project-based learning experiences, grounded in Maryland’s Early Learning Standards and Early Learning Assessment, for three and four-year-old children throughout the state. 

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Evaluation of the Governor’s Young Readers Program 

The Governor’s Office for Children and Children’s Cabinet, in partnership with the Banneker-Douglass Museum Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, offer the Governor’s Young Readers Program to the residents of Baltimore City. Through this program, children from birth through their 5th birthday are mailed a free book each month regardless of family income. The purpose of this evaluation project, conducted in partnership with CECEI, is to evaluate the implementation of the Young Readers Program (YRP). As such, information will be gathered from a cross-section of participating families with regard to perceived strengths and benefits of YRP. Results will serve as the basis of recommendations for broader dissemination of the program to children throughout Maryland. 

Funder: Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention (State of Maryland)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

Co-Investigator: Dr. Gregory R. Hancock

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Elevating Fully Inclusive Early Education Experiences 

This project will focus on inclusive early education experiences to include where services are provided, as well as documenting the attitudes and beliefs of early childhood general and special education coordinators/supervisors around full inclusion. This work will be completed over three parts: 

In Part 1, CECEI will design (in collaboration with the Birth to Five team at MSDE DEI/SES) and then disseminate a survey for the early childhood special and general education coordinators/supervisors in each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. The survey will focus on the scope of opportunities for three and four-year-old children with an XIFSP/IEP. In Part 2, we will use the results of Part 1, as well as a review of relevant research literature, to design and disseminate Natural and Inclusive Learning Environments Landscapes for each jurisdiction. In Part 3, we will compile all data into a technical report for MSDE. The report will include responses to each question by jurisdiction. 

Funder: MSDE Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services (DEI/SES)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy for Teachers of Young Children, Phase IV

In Phase IV of this project, Improvement Science serves as the framework for the implementation of the Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy (TSP) curriculum in an urban elementary school with a large population of English Learners. A team of administrators, specialists and teachers will use school-based case studies to work toward their identified goal of “Increasing access to quality trauma informed support structures for students, staff and families.” The primary driver has been identified as “building a supportive community” and the secondary driver of focus is the students.  

Funder: Bainum Family Fund

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Evaluation of the Implementation of Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s Quality Improvement Network to Improve Early Learning across Washington, D.C.

The Washington, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) was recently awarded a five-year Early Head Start (EHS) - Child Care (CC) Partnership grant to improve the quality and quantity of infant/toddler child care slots in the city via the development of a Quality Improvement Network (QIN). CECEI will evaluate the implementation of the QIN initiative.

Funder:  Bainum Family Foundation and W. K. Kellogg Foundation

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Brenda Jones Harden

Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

External Evaluation of the Efficacy of Maryland’s Early Childhood Family Engagement Initiative, Phase II

CECEI conducted the external evaluation of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Grant (Phase II) project, which supported the expansion of Maryland’s Family Engagement Initiatives both within Maryland and across other states. The evaluation informs the public about the extent to which the implementation of family engagement strategies in the State has improved the quality of family engagement among parents and family members. In addition, researchers evaluated the fulfillment of the three following intended outcomes of the project: 1. To improve school readiness of vulnerable children by improving family engagement practices and supporting service providers to better recognize and meet family needs, 2. To create a cohort of parent advocates and leaders to improve parental leadership skills, helping parents to be more informed and engaged in children’s learning and experience a diminished sense of isolation, and 3. To improve state family engagement practices through a State Consortium on Family Engagement. 

Funder: W. K. Kellogg Foundation

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Early Childhood Professional Development Curriculum

The Professional Development Curriculum (PDC) supports the rollout of the CECEI Children Study Their World (CSW) curriculum for 4- year-old children. The PDC consists of a multi-layered and multi-modal approach, which is grounded in a Training of the Trainers model, supplemented with high quality materials (e.g., video, PowerPoint presentations, webinars, blog posts, online professional learning community, etc.) and supports available to teachers themselves. The grant supported CECEI in delivering multiple initiatives: two Training of Trainers (T of T) sessions in distinct regions of Maryland, a follow-up session to address trainers’ feedback from a needs assessment, and a final session to debrief on the training processes and to provide additional supports, as well as the development and delivery of sustainable resources and technical assistance to support fidelity of implementation, and ongoing technical support for teachers.

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood  

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Evaluation of the CCSSO Early Learning Networked Improvement Community

CECEI served as the external evaluator for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) Early Learning Networked Improvement Community (NIC) project. As such, CECEI researchers examined the Improvement Science (IS) process in four CCSSO partner states: Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Vermont. The final CECEI evaluation report addresses the overall problem of practice (i.e., high-quality early childhood instruction), each State Education Agency’s (SEA) strategic goals, engagement across the four NIC states, and the processes and relationships established between state education agencies and system/school-based inquiry teams.

Funder: Council of Chief State School Officers

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy for Teachers of Young Children, Phase III

In Phase 3 of the Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy (TSP) Project, curriculum materials were finalized and TSP was piloted using Carnegie’s six principles of Improvement Science as our framework. TSP utilizes a hybrid model that combines weekly, synchronous sessions with asynchronous, online, interactive learning modules, and the formation of virtual professional learning communities across schools/systems/states. Early Childhood educators from both MD and PA received a stipend for completing the course. They explored a Problem-of-Practice through the systems of the Bio-ecological Theory using the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle intrinsic to improvement science. The goal of Phase 3 was to evaluate curriculum materials and determine if TSP facilitates pedagogical change at the teacher level through pre/post assessments.

Funder: Bainum Family Fund

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Family Influences on the Effectiveness of the Pre-kindergarten Program in Baltimore City

The goal of this project was to extend the evaluation of Maryland's Pre-kindergarten Expansion program, to determine the benefits of the Pre-K program on low-income children in Baltimore City Public Schools. The specific aims of the Brady-funded project were: 1) to examine the moderating role of family factors (including protective factors) in the impact of Pre-kindergarten on participant children; and 2) to explore if and how the Pre-kindergarten experience buffers children against the impact of toxic stress. This project was consistent with the mission of the Brady Education Foundation in that it examined efforts to reduce the achievement gap between low-income children and their more advantaged peers, and addressed the environmental factors associated with poverty.

Funder: Brady Education Foundation

Principal Investigator: Dr. Brenda P. Jones Harden

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CECEI Study of the Birth to Five Service Delivery Models in Maryland (Phase 3)

CECEI worked with MSDE on a multiphase evaluation of Maryland’s early intervention and preschool special education service delivery models. Phase 3 involved two components. The first is conducting a qualitative assessment of jurisdictions’ choices of service delivery methods. The second component is providing technical assistance and professional development in evidence-based teaming practices and models for the comprehensive delivery of birth-to-Kindergarten services.

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services (pass through funds from the U. S. Department of Education)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Evaluation of Maryland’s Preschool Development Expansion Grant Program

In 2014, Maryland was one of 18 states awarded federal Preschool Expansion Grants, designed to expand public preschool opportunities to more low and moderate-income children and their families. This project examined the reach, impact, and overall satisfaction with Maryland's pre-kindergarten expansion efforts. CECEI’s evaluation addressed a range of questions related to the effectiveness of the preschool expansion from both a descriptive and an explanatory perspective.

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood (pass through funds from the U. S. Department of Education)

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Elisa Klein

Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Brenda Jones Harden

Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy for Young Children: A Curriculum for Early Childhood Educators (Phase 2)

CECEI and Pennsylvania State University faculty are collaborating on the development of a testable trauma-sensitive curriculum that can serve as an important classroom-level intervention by providing educators with the necessary knowledge and skills to address the learning needs of young children who have experienced trauma. In Phase 2 of this project, researchers developed and tested high quality TSPYC curriculum materials. The development and testing process included consultation with both design and technology experts, filming videos, developing content for instructional purposes and piloting materials with educators undertaking a trauma sensitive schools initiative.

Funder: Bainum Family Fund

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin (UMD)

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Preschool Curriculum Project

CECEI developed a preschool curriculum for the State of Maryland. This app-based curriculum, called Children Study Their World (CSW), covers a duration of 10 months and also includes extension opportunities for summer programs. The curriculum is based on principles of project-based inquiry, integrated with learning opportunities that encourage children to explore their worlds, and driven by evidence-based practices that build teacher capacity and support successful implementation.

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood (pass through funds from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

Investigators: Dr. Elisa Klein, Dr. Joan Lieber, Dr. Geetha Ramani, Dr. Rebecca Silverman

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Trauma Sensitive Pedagogy for Young Children: A Curriculum for Early Childhood Educators (Phase 1)

CECEI and Pennsylvania State University faculty are collaborating in the development of a trauma-sensitive curriculum that can serve as an important classroom-level intervention by providing educators with the necessary knowledge and skills to address the learning needs of young children who have experienced trauma. In Phase I researchers undertook a literature review, consulting with experts from the Trauma Learning Policy Initiative (Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Harvard Law School) designing and disseminating a nation-wide needs assessment, conducting focus groups, and consulting with experts on toxic stress and trauma in young children.

Funder: Bainum Family Fund

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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CECEI Study of the Birth to Five Service Delivery Models in Maryland (Phase 2)

CECEI is working with MSDE on a multiphase evaluation of Maryland’s early intervention and preschool special education service delivery models. CECEI has completed the second phase of this project, which involved examining the interventions offered within each delivery model, including an analysis of resource allocations within and across local programs.

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services (pass through funds from the U. S. Department of Education)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

Investigators: Dr. Joan Lieber, Shauna Sweet

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CECEI Study of the Birth to Five Service Delivery Models in Maryland (Phase 1)

The Service Delivery Model study examined how a coordinated and comprehensive system of services for children with Individual Family Service Plans, Extended Individual Family Service Plans and Individualized Education Programs was being realized within each of the twenty-six jurisdictions in the State of Maryland. CECEI has completed the first phase of this project, which consisted of examining and summarizing Maryland's existing systems of service delivery.

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services (pass through funds from the U. S. Department of Education)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Joan Lieber

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Evaluation of the Efficacy of Maryland’s Early Childhood Family Engagement Initiative

CECEI was awarded a grant to conduct an evaluation that would inform the public about the extent to which the family engagement policies and practices have been implemented as a result of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant funded projects and initiatives. CECEI researchers utilized a mixed-methods approach to examine the progress the Division of Early Childhood Development, in the Maryland State Department of Education, made toward reaching the three intended outcomes of the grant:  Service providers will better recognize and meet family needs; parents are informed and engaged in children’s learning and parents will experience a diminished sense of isolation.  

Funder:  Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Development

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Strategic Collaborations Focused on Promoting Family and Community Engagement in the Lives and Learning of Young Children

The purpose of this project was to continue the development of the Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education (EC/ECSE) Baccalaureate degree program at the University of Maryland (UMD) through the establishment of high quality partnerships with the Early Childhood Centers (ECCs), Infant/Toddler programs, and the Judy Centers in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). This UMD/PGCPS strategic collaboration focused on increasing the placement of UMD teacher candidates in PGCPS early childhood settings, developing Professional Development School partnerships and promoting coordinated and responsive engagement of families whose children have a diagnosed disability and/or who are at developmental and/or environmental risk. 

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services (pass through funds from the U. S. Department of Education)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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Summer Institutes for Early Childhood Educators in Prince George's County: Translating Research into Practice

CECEI secured funding to support the offering of two four-day-long summer institutes for Early Childhood Educators in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). CECEI designed the content of the institutes based on the needs identified by PGCPS teachers to specifically address their most pressing concerns, and focused on the dissemination of sound research from the University of Maryland. The collaboratively-developed institutes strengthened the continuing relationship between CECEI and PGCPS as partners for the success Maryland students.

Funder: Bainum Family Foundation

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin

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CECEI Evaluation of the Efficacy of Maryland’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant

The RTT-ELC evaluation measured the extent to which Maryland’s early childhood system has been improved as a result of the implementation of RTT-ELC. CECEI evaluated the effectiveness of ten RTT-ELC projects and reported whether or not RTT-ELC has improved the quality of early childhood programs and the workforce, as well as the school readiness outcomes for children.

Funder: Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Development (pass through funds from the U. S. Department of Education)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christy Tirrell-Corbin 

Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Joan Lieber

Investigators: Dr. Kelli Cummings, Dr. Elisa Klein, Dr. Brenda Jones Harden, Dr. Rebecca Silverman