New Mexico


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

In the summer of 2007, prior to SpecialQuest Birth–Five, several members of the New Mexico State Leadership Team attended a SpecialQuest Training of Trainers session at the Inclusion Institute in North Carolina. A few additional early childhood stakeholders were added to the original eight-person team, and they began to meet monthly to determine how to embed the SpecialQuest approach and materials in their professional development system. This team-based collaboration resulted in increased efforts to share information across systems that provide training and technical assistance to early childhood providers and families and led to the development of the following shared vision in the state:

 

All families of young children (birth through five) receive quality supports, services and systems of care that are accessible to all groups, respectful of individual and family choices, child and family-centered, culturally competent, and within community-based systems working together to enhance positive outcomes for families and children in New Mexico. —New Mexico’s vision for high quality professional development for inclusion, 2007

 

In 2008, New Mexico was selected as a SpecialQuest Birth–Five State Leadership Team. The state was also awarded the National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI) grant. Initial collaboration across these two initiatives led to a coordinated plan of action so that each initiative has separate workgroups that focus on specific priorities using the various resources available. Many State Leadership Team members serve on both SpecialQuest and NPDCI workgroups and participate in collaborative activities.

 

The New Mexico State Leadership Team is now comprised of 26 team members. The team membership has always reflected the diversity of families and agencies in early care and education. The State Leadership Team has a very respectful and relationship-based way of working together. Beginning in 2008, the State Leadership Team members completed the State Perceptions of Inclusive Practices (SPIP) process for three years. They attended National Leadership SpecialQuest events in 2008 and 2010, and participated in planning and implementing the New Mexico SpecialQuest Training of Trainers in 2009. The team used the lessons learned from the SPIP process and training experiences to develop action plans each year to guide their work. Action plans have fallen into four areas: policy and systems, professional development and dissemination, NPDCI supported activities, and sustainability.

 

The Policy Workgroup focused on several key areas including: clarifying requirements for provision of specialized services to children ages three through five on Indian reservations, developing a crosswalk of laws, and impacting policy. The team worked to assure that preschool children with disabilities on the reservations received preschool special education services. A “Q & A Guidance Document regarding New Mexico LEA Responsibilities Regarding Child Find for Preschool Students Who Reside on a Reservation Within LEA Jurisdiction” helped to clarify questions. It also served as a template for developing new Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between the tribes and local education agencies in New Mexico. Positive outcomes have emerged in how services are provided on Indian reservations for children eligible under the IDEA Part B system. This effort is also having a ripple effect in other states. The policy workgroup also developed and disseminated a “crosswalk of laws” document that compares laws and regulations across the various systems and agencies that provide services to young children with disabilities and their families. In addition, members of the group were successful in making changes to strengthen language on inclusion in child care licensing regulations. Recommendations were also sent to Cabinet members suggesting that “disability and inclusion” should be incorporated in any future RFP language so that it they are always addressed. The policy workgroup is continuing to explore other legislative advocacy related to inclusion.

 

The Training and Dissemination Workgroup has accomplished a great deal. They developed a statewide SpecialQuest brochure, which has been disseminated and used as a model for other State Leadership Teams. This workgroup also created a training template for New Mexico SpecialQuest PowerPoint presentations, which has been adapted by team members in various outreach efforts throughout the spring and summer. Team members have effectively embedded these materials within their own systems and are sharing the SpecialQuest approach and materials at local, state, national, and international conferences. The Training Workgroup developed the action plan for implementing the New Mexico SpecialQuest Training of Trainers in 2009, and held a follow-up meeting in 2010. Both events had active State Leadership Team involvement, support, and follow-up. The team has developed an effective tracking mechanism to document the use of the SpecialQuest approach and materials by participants of the Training of Trainers, State Leadership Team members, and others who are trained.

 

NPDCI has sponsored several activities during the past two years. One group has conducted workshops and is providing follow-up to Early Childhood Special Education consultants on a consultation model/approach to service delivery. NPDCI supported a statewide Summit in May 2010 to review the Division of Early Childhood/National Association for the Education of Young Children (DEC/NAEYC) definition of inclusion with 100 stakeholders. Another focus with NPDCI has been support to various groups to embed SpecialQuest and other resources in required coursework for child care providers. They also conducted a Faculty Summit to explore opportunities to strengthen inclusive practices in early childhood coursework.

 

Two SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities have several members that participate actively on both their Community Team and the New Mexico State Leadership Team. The Community Team members from Alamo Navajo Early Childhood Program in Magdalena and La Clinica De Familia Early Head Start in Las Cruces have shown strong leadership in sharing strategies for using the SpecialQuest approach and materials in professional development at the local, state, and national level. They have been active in planning and implementing New Mexico SpecialQuest State Leadership Team presentations for the National Indian Parent Information conference, Kellogg Foundation conference, Birth–Three Institute, Division for Early Childhood (DEC) conference, New Mexico Native American Head Start Regional meeting, and the Region VI Head Start conference. Both Community Teams participated in three years of completing the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices (CPIP) process and developing action plans to address areas of concern or challenge.

 

Alamo Navajo Early Childhood Program has an effective system for collaborative child find and outreach to identify in a timely manner young children with disabilities or those at risk. They also have a history of high quality special education services provided on the reservation for children ages birth through five. The team has parent member who was recognized for having a strong voice for her child and family and was recently highlighted in the Education for Parents of Indian Children (EPIC) newsletter.

 

La Clinica De Familia Early Head Start’s vision is that, “ALL children, birth through five, become an integral part of inclusive educational and social environments driven by integrated services through dedicated partnerships with families and community systems.” The team has expanded from six members to over 40 members, broadening their partnerships to include families, several Head Start programs, early intervention and preschool programs, university faculty, and other community partners. Together, they hold a strong passion and commitment to children and families. They have incorporated ongoing learning about the SpecialQuest approach and materials in their meetings and have used their networking to secure joint funding for other collaborative early childhood efforts.

 

Both Community Teams are recognized as models for extending this work into other communities.

 

The State Leadership Team has developed several new action plans:

 

 

The State Leadership Team will continue to use the SPIP and action planning processes to guide their work and are considering other ways technology might support team participation. The State Leadership Team anticipates there will be new action plans written in the same focus areas of policy, training, and evaluation. They have also explored bringing new families and providers on board, cross-systems funding, and shared leadership to continue their collaborative efforts. One team member shared, “We really like one another and we’d really miss this if we weren’t continuing to work together.”

 


 

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

The New Mexico State Leadership Team currently has 25 members. New Mexico is working with the National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI) and SpecialQuest, and their State Leadership Team represents both initiatives.

 

The New Mexico team is focusing on four major goal areas:

  1. Impact Policy and Funding Mechanisms;
  2. Communicate Principles of Inclusion through Dissemination of Information;
  3. Develop and promote statewide coordinated training on inclusion for young children (0–5) and families; and
  4. Develop and promote statewide coordinator training on inclusion for young children (0–5) and families.

 

Recent highlights of the New Mexico State Leadership Team:

 

The SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities in New Mexico are Alamo Navajo Early Childhood Program in Magdalena and La Clinica De Familia Early Head Start in Las Cruses. The communities receive quarterly site visits from the SpecialQuest Coaches and are actively involved in the State Leadership Team meetings. Representatives from both teams participated in a session at the National Birth–Three Institute in June 2009 with the State Leadership Team Liaison and SpecialQuest staff. They replicated the session at DEC in October 2009.

 

Recent highlights of Alamo Navajo Early Childhood Program:

 

Recent highlights of La Clinica De Familia Early Head Start:

 


 

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

New Mexico's State Leadership Team currently has 19 members who are actively involved in quarterly meetings and SpecialQuest Birth–Five activities. New Mexico also has the National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI) grant, so considerable efforts have been put into coordination activities this period related to getting the focus of the work clarified and determining how all the pieces fit together. The Liaison, with support from the SpecialQuest Coordinator and Coaches, meets with the New Mexico steering committee before and after each quarterly meeting to collaboratively plan for and debrief SpecialQuest, as well as NPDCI related activities. Workgroups meet several times in between quarterly meetings to implement action plans. A new workgroup was formed to address the NPDCI priorities and activities in February 2009. Considerable work went into planning for how to avoid duplication of efforts and to look at how the various activities can build on one another or bridge a sequence of activities to promote inclusive practice in New Mexico.

 

There have been considerable changes in membership on the State Leadership Team. In August 2008, the Head Start Collaboration Director resigned and has not to date been replaced due to a statewide hiring freeze. The team member from the Office of Child Development is also acting as Interim Head Start Collaboration Director at this time. The SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Community members participating on the team continue to bring perspectives and resources that benefit the State Leadership Team in their efforts to promote community collaboration, and the use of SpecialQuest approach and materials in professional development activities. There are at least two members in each community Early Head Start/Head Start program that alternate to cover all the meetings and support the continued work. In addition, in February 2009, a new Ambassador was identified for New Mexico. She has been part of one of the Graduate Team Communities and has joined the State Leadership Team and several workgroups to share her expertise and enthusiasm for SpecialQuest. There is also an ongoing interest in effectively recruiting and supporting additional family members for the State Leadership Team and workgroup activities.

 

The New Mexico State Leadership Team now has four action plan areas and meets in three workgroups to implement these plans:

 

  1. Impact Policy and Funding Mechanisms
    This workgroup has drafted a crosswalk of laws and regulations that will be used in future communications and presentations with providers, families, and individuals in policy level positions, to clarify some of the cross-systems requirements. They are also looking at the Request for Proposals (RFP) process and how information on inclusion and disabilities is incorporated into new grants for Early Childhood services.

    One accomplishment of this group with the support of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) team and Part B Coordinator was working through an issue of Part B services not being provided on many rural Indian reservation communities. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the BIE, and the State Department of Education developed an Interagency Agreement to address this need for specialized services for children with disabilities served in tribal communities. This agreement is in the process of being translated to Memos of Understanding (MOU) at the local level with each district.

  2. Communicate Principles of Inclusion Through Dissemination of Information, and Develop and Promote Statewide Coordinated Training on Inclusion (Birth–Five) and Families
    This workgroup has actively developed, disseminated and communicated information and materials on SpecialQuest and inclusion (brochures, PowerPoints, presentation samples, etc.). They are in the process of developing a website page where SpecialQuest information can be easily accessible and planning a statewide Training of Trainers. The SpecialQuest approach and materials have also been disseminated and embedded in the work of the regional childcare inclusion specialists across the state.

  3. National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI)
    The NPDCI steering committee met in February 2009 and has prioritized the following goals:

    • Build the capacity of all higher education programs and program faculty to address inclusion through the content they provide and the instructional strategies they use, and
    • Provide professional development for personnel who work with programs for young children and families across systems to increase their knowledge and skills related to providing effective consultation.

    They also discussed plans for holding a summit to bring stakeholders together around developing a new definition of inclusion for New Mexico, which builds on existing state and national efforts.

 

In addition to the workgroup, steering committee, and State Leadership Team activities, everyone has been involved in promoting the SpecialQuest approach and materials in their work. Many State Leadership Team members have begun to partner and offer cross-systems collaboration in presentations and training activities. Presentations have been delivered to the NM Early Childhood Higher Education Task Force and the NM State Association for the Education of Young Children (NMAEYC) conference.

 

Another exciting professional development outcome of the work in New Mexico was the engagement of the BIE representative to join the State Leadership Team. This new team member promoted SpecialQuest Birth–Five through the annual national BIE/Family and Child Education (FACE) training. The annual meeting of over 300 participants, representing 45 American Indian FACE programs from 11 states, was held in San Diego, California on February 24–27, 2009. The SpecialQuest Coordinator and Family Leadership Coordinator for SpecialQuest were invited to coordinate with the planning team to include a full day focus on SpecialQuest, with content related to the priority outcomes for the FACE audience. It was a wonderfully successful training event that embedded many aspects of the approach and materials through the planning, implementation and evaluation process. Each Graduate Team Community received the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library to take home and use in their work. The BIE/FACE consultants from the Parents as Teacher and Family Literacy Projects will continue to provide follow-up and support to those communities.

 


 

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

New Mexico's State Leadership Team currently has 19 members. At least three team members are also family members of persons with disabilities. One team member has a hearing disability. Four team members represent the two SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities. One additional SpecialQuest Graduate Team member is on the State Leadership Team, but no longer works directly with her graduate community. Two team members are former SpecialQuest Learning Coaches who have worked with a number of New Mexico graduate communities. Five team members participated in the SpecialQuest Training of Trainers session at the National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute in July 2007. Three additional team members representing the Head Start Collaboration Office, the Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD), and the Eastern University of New Mexico (EUNM) faculty, were added to this SpecialQuest team. These members have become the Steering Committee for the SpecialQuest Birth–Five State Leadership Team. The State Leadership Team Liaison has experience with SpecialQuest, Head Start, Disabilities, and Technical Assistance. The State Leadership team uses relationship-based and shared-leadership approaches in their work.

 

There has been general stability of membership on the State Leadership Team during the first six months. New members were added from the Bureau of Indian Education, the School for the Deaf, and the Office of Child Development. The SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Community members participating on the team are viewed as resources that will benefit the State Leadership Team in its efforts to promote family involvement, community collaboration, and the use of SpecialQuest resources in professional development activities.

 

Three action plans were developed at the National Leadership SpecialQuest in May 2008 in Dallas, Texas:

 

  1. Impact policy and funding mechanisms, including
    • Embedding SpecialQuest into the Governor’s Initiatives (ECAN).
    • Increasing support for the workforce.
    • Increasing special education faculty on the Higher Education Task Force.

  2. Communicate principles of inclusion through dissemination of information.

  3. Develop and promote state-wide coordinated training on inclusion (birth–five) and families.

 

In the spring of 2008, the SpecialQuest Steering Committee submitted a second application for the National Professional Development Center for Inclusion (NPDCI) grant (they were not selected in 2007), with the intent that the two projects, SpecialQuest Birth–Five and NPDCI, would work collaboratively together. They were selected by NPDCI in May 2008.

 

The two SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities are La Clinica de Familia Early Head Start in Las Cruces (now referred to as "Dona Ana County" since that is the broader community area they represent), and Alamo Navajo Early Childhood Program in Magdelena. These two communities are working to expand the SpecialQuest approach 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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