Louisiana

 

State Highlights 02/01/10 to 09/30/10

The Louisiana SpecialQuest State Leadership Team was built on long established personal relationships across the state. Since 2008, these relationships have grown stronger, especially around the specific focus of cross-agency professional development on inclusion for all children served in early childhood and education settings.

 

At the beginning of their work together, the team developed the following vision:

 

The team vision for Louisiana is high quality inclusive communities for all children, birth to five years of age, especially including children with disabilities and their families.

 

The team mission for Louisiana is to create a high quality sustainable cross-agency early childhood professional development system supportive of our vision of inclusive communities for young children and their families.

 

The Louisiana State Leadership Team hosted two Training of Trainer events in the state. The participants were from a wide variety of early childhood and education training programs. Parents of children with disabilities were included and supported with stipends for travel, expenses, time, and expertise. This resulted in a large cadre of cross-agency trainers who have access to the SpecialQuest approach, materials, and resources to use in their cross-sector professional development activities.

 

During the application process, two SpecialQuest Community Teams were selected to participate: Saint Charles Parish Early Head Start and West Feleciana Family Service Center Early Head Start. Both teams grew from the original crossagency children’s group and included many more community partners in their area. Both Community Teams have representatives who sit on the Louisiana State Leadership Team. They used the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices (CPIP) tool to highlight their progress and to identify areas of need from which action plans were developed. The community representatives gave vital feedback to the Louisiana State Leadership Team on the implementation of inclusive practices at the local level.

 

One of the first agreements that came out of the Louisiana State Leadership Team meetings was an exchange system of educational credit for professional development. The system was crafted between the Part B representative for their Super Conference and the Louisiana Child Care Resource and Referral Network representative for their statewide conference. Participants may attend either conference and receive credit regardless of the licensure or credentialing system to which they belong.

 

Other accomplishments include the following:

 

 

Of special note specific to Louisiana was the effect of the annual hurricane season, which in addition to causing major damage to property, also resulted in devastating consequences to children and families. Thirty percent of families in some parishes were still homeless after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and hundreds of other families have not returned to their communities. This continues to take a significant toll on the early care and knowledge providers in effected areas.

 

Louisiana, though large geographically, has established trust and open communication among Louisiana State Leadership Team members. This is due, in part, to the fact that the same people sit on many of the same committees, boards, and commissions that work on family and children’s issues. The SpecialQuest Coaches and State Leadership Team co-Liaisons were an intricate part of the team and kept the work moving forward. Parent voices were heard and decisions were made based on their input. All team members contributed time, expertise, and their passion for inclusion and SpecialQuest.

 

For future work, a three-year calendar was developed with agreed upon dates for quarterly State Leadership Meetings designated. The Part C representative assumed responsibility for communications with State Leadership Team members, as well as arranging meeting space. At their last meeting with their SpecialQuest State Coordinator, each member reflected on their accomplishments over the past three years. They planned for the future and committed to continuing the ‘Quest.’

 


 

State Highlights 04/01/09 to 01/31/10

The Louisiana State Leadership Team currently has 32 members. Team members hold a variety of state, professional development, community roles, and include family members of individuals with disabilities.

The Louisiana team is working in subgroups to address:


Recent highlights of the Louisiana State Leadership Team:

 

The SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities in Louisiana are St. Charles Parish Early Head Start in Luling, and West Feleciana Family Service Center Early Head Start in St. Francisville. The communities receive quarterly site visits from the SpecialQuest Coaches, have developed action plans, and completed the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices.

 

Recent highlights of St. Charles Parish:

 

Recent highlights of West Feleciana Family Service Center Early Head Start:

 


 

State Summary 10/01/08 to 03/31/09

Louisiana’s State Leadership Team currently has members who hold a variety of state, professional development, and community roles. State Leadership Team members represent family members of persons with disabilities; SpecialQuest Graduates, Learning Coaches and trainers; and four Early Head Start/Head Start programs. Co-Liaisons for the State Leadership Team are one of the regional Part C Single Point of Entry (SPOE) and the State Part C Training Coordinator.

 

Action plans are focused in the areas of quality assurances, promoting and strengthening the SpecialQuest team/future collaboration, and professional development. The team has a good understanding of the SpecialQuest approach and materials, since many of their members have participated with SpecialQuest in the past. They are moving forward with ideas of how to embed the SpecialQuest approach and materials into professional development activities within their state. Workgroups have been formed around each of the action plans, and the groups meet during the afternoon of the quarterly State Leadership Team meetings.

 

The State Leadership Team has been meeting each quarter during the year in Baton Rouge. The attendance has been good, and the administrators of agencies represented on the State Leadership Team have been able to attend.

 

Some exciting things have happened due to the work of the State Leadership Team:

 

 

This State Leadership Team’s strong relationships make the meetings go smoothly and keep the team moving forward.

 

Both Graduate Team Communities – St. Charles Parish and St. Francesville have been meeting each quarter with their Coaches. Both teams are writing action plans during the Spring 2009 quarter. The second Community Perceptions of Inclusion (CPIP) for both Graduate Team Communities is scheduled with their Coaches in June 2009.

 

St. Charles Parish

The SpecialQuest Coach met with the large (34 member) St. Charles Parish Graduate Team Community and completed the first CPIP in Summer 2008. A follow-up Community Forum was held in March 2009 with 54 participants. The participants used the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices (CPIP) areas that had lower scores and worked in small groups to generate strategies to address these areas of concern. Over the next quarter, a smaller core group will take the strategies that were generated and form action plans.

 

The March 2009 meeting of this team achieved the following outcomes:

 

 

St. Francesville

During the Fall 2008 quarterly meeting, the team showed a video they had produced several years ago that demonstrated their inclusive program. After viewing the video, the team was looking forward to conducting the CPIP again in Summer 2009. The Winter 2008 quarterly meeting was a small meeting but with key people in attendance. The team is looking forward to the next meeting and possibly developing an action plan based on their CPIP process. They are exploring the idea of expanding their Team Community beyond their center and school district.

 


 

State Summary 04/01/08 to 9/30/08

Louisiana's State Leadership Team currently has members who hold a variety of state, professional development, and community roles. Two State Leadership Team members are also family members of persons with disabilities; six team members are SpecialQuest graduates and/or Learning Coaches, trainers, and curriculum developers; and four Early Head Start/Head Start programs have representation on the team. Co-Liaisons for the State Leadership Team are the Part C Regional Single Point of Entry (SPOE) Coordinator and the Part C Coordinator for Louisiana.

 

Action plans were drafted in three areas:

 

  1. Quality assurance;

  2. Promote and strengthen the SpecialQuest team to support future collaborations; and

  3. Professional development.

 

The team has a good understanding of the SpecialQuest approach and materials since many of their members have participated with SpecialQuest in the past. They have some preliminary ideas of how to embed the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library into professional development activities within their state. As a follow-up to the National Leadership SpecialQuest, a small steering committee meeting was scheduled to refine the action plans and prepare for small group work that was introduced at the quarterly State Leadership Team on-site meeting in July of 2008.

 

Twelve members of the State Leadership Team met in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in July of 2008, with the Coordinator and Coaches for the second quarterly State Leadership Team meeting. The Co-Liaisons facilitated the meeting. Team membership was expanded from the original group that attended the National Leadership SpecialQuest in May of 2008 in Dallas. Workgroups were formed around each of the three action plans. The workgroups finalized their action plans, adding timelines, individuals responsible for specific activities, and evaluation methods for each step. Each group reported back to the full State Leadership Team.

 

This team has long-standing relationships among team members. This trait has been important as they have faced the problems, delays, and hardships caused by repeated hurricanes and tropical storms in Louisiana.

 

The two State Leadership Team Communities in Louisiana are St. Charles Parish Early Head Start/Head Start in Luling, and the Family Service Center Early Head Start, in St. Francesville. These two communities are working to expand the SpecialQuest approach to birth–five and complete the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices annually. The communities receive quarterly site visits from the SpecialQuest Coaches and are represented on the State Leadership Team.

 

 


 

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