Ohio

 

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

The Ohio SpecialQuest State Leadership Team effectively actualized their vision that,

 

…greater numbers of early care and education professionals in all settings gain knowledge, confidence and competence in serving young children with disabilities and their families in inclusive settings as a result of the commitment and efforts of local professional development providers to develop effective cross-agency communication, planning and collaboration.

 

This was accomplished by designating 16 regional cross-agency professional development teams, establishing leadership and expectations within contractual language, endorsing SpecialQuest materials as approved training content for agency credit, and offering annual SpecialQuest Training of Trainers events and follow-up support to regional teams.

 

The Ohio State Leadership Team and the state’s three SpecialQuest Ambassadors were unique in that they independently planned and implemented their first statewide SpecialQuest Training of Trainers event in March 2009. The purpose of the event was to provide an introduction to the essential elements of the SpecialQuest approach in order to establish cross-systems inclusionary practices at the local level, specifically targeting collaboration among Head Start/Early Head Start, preschool special education, child care, and early intervention while also encouraging parent leaders to participate.

 

A total of 87 people attended the initial Training of Trainers event, representing the 16 regional teams across the state of Ohio. Participants represented Child Care Resource and Referral, State Support Teams (educational school improvement technical assistance), Head Start Disability Coordinators, Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities, and Help Me Grow (Part C). Each regional team developed action plans as part of the training. The action plans addressed two goals: 1) developing a regional team, and 2) planning and implementing two SpecialQuest trainings by September 30 and two additional trainings by December 31, 2009.

 

Prior to the event, members of the State Leadership Team worked with the Ohio Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and Step Up To Quality (the child care registry) to endorse four specific sessions from the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library: Creating Bright Futures, When Concerns Arise, Enhancing Staff Comfort and Confidence, and An Inclusion Story. These four sessions were approved as training curricula within the state registry for child care and other early childhood entities across the state. SpecialQuest trainings are posted on the Ohio Professional Development Network website (registry) at http://www.opdn.org/?wid=31& and are available for state required credit.

 

Another significant pre-Training of Trainers planning step on the part of the State Leadership Team was to revise contractual language between the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the educational school improvement technical assistance State Support Teams, specifying their role as leaders in the implementation of this SpecialQuest effort within each of the 16 regions. This formal designation of leadership has helped to provide clarity for the regional teams as to where the responsibility lies regarding assurance that the effort is sustained.

 

Follow-up activities provided by the State Leadership Team after the initial Training of Trainers event included a survey to determine progress in action plan implementation and technical assistance needs of regional teams, conference call networking, and sharing a Tips for Trainers document developed by the State Leadership Team members.

 

In March 2010, the Ohio State Leadership Team hosted their second annual Training of Trainers event for a total of 91 participants with a significant increase in parent participation. State Leadership Team members—including SpecialQuest Ambassadors—trained on an additional four SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library sessions: Just Do It, Listening to Families, Planning to Serve the Diego Family, and Building Relationships. The State Leadership Team also made arrangements for two SpecialQuest Consultants to train on the four new Preschool Inclusion Series sessions, bringing the total number of Ohio approved SpecialQuest sessions up to 12. Each regional team again developed action plans as part of the training.

 

Community Level Work

 

The targeted audiences of the State Leadership Team’s efforts have been regional and community programs. As a result, SpecialQuest trainings have been held across the state since the summer of 2009. One of the regions (which included the counties of Erie, Huron and Lorraine—Region 2) has developed a Facebook fanpage to help facilitate networking, not only within their region, but with anyone who may be interested in their work: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Special- Quest-Erie-Huron-Lorain/125788844105772

 

The two Ohio SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Community Teams, Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership and Wood, Seneca, Ottawa, and Sandusky (WSOS) Community Action, have proven to be active leaders in using SpecialQuest to promote community partnerships. Ohio is fortunate in that these two Community Teams employ SpecialQuest Ambassadors who are strong advocates for SpecialQuest and inclusion. Both Ambassadors not only fully embrace and actualize the SpecialQuest approach but also work diligently to promote family leadership within their communities and at the state level.

 

More general community-level impacts include:

 

 

Future Plans

 

In June 2010, individual State Leadership Team members volunteered to serve as ‘shepherds’ to follow up with and mentor the efforts in each of the 16 regions.

 

In August 2010, the State Leadership Team met the Director of the Early Childhood Cabinet within ODJFS to share successes of the State Leadership Team and promote the sustainability of SpecialQuest in Ohio. The State Leadership Team illustrated ways in which the SpecialQuest approach and resources directly support the Center for Early Childhood Development (CECD) being planned for implementation in 2010, highlighting impact at the local level.

 

In 2009, the Ohio State Leadership Team developed and distributed a survey to two- and four-year faculty on the ways in which they address early childhood inclusion in their coursework syllabi. The results of this survey will be integrated into a training symposium for higher education faculty planned for 2010-2011, of which a portion of the content will be on the SpecialQuest approach and materials.

 


 

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

The Ohio State Leadership Team currently has 21 members. The Ohio team has the following two major goal areas:

  1. Create and implement a cross-systems professional development plan; and
  2. Sustain local level implementation.

 

Recent highlights of the Ohio State Leadership Team:

 

The SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities in Ohio are Mahoning Youngstown Area CAP in Youngstown, and WSOS CAC, Inc. in Fremont. The communities receive quarterly site visits from the SpecialQuest Coaches.

 

Recent highlights of Mahoning Youngstown Area CAP:


Recent highlights of WSOS CAC:

 


 

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

The Ohio State Leadership Team now benefits from the support of Co-Liaisons from the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness and the Head Start State Collaboration Office. These two individuals work well together and ensure that all details pertaining to the work of the State Leadership Team are covered.

 

The State Leadership Team has continued to meet quarterly with their SpecialQuest Birth–Five Coordinator and Coaches. The team has also taken the initiative to meet independently on a monthly basis in order to effectively plan and implement the activities identified on their three action plans:

 

  1. Lay the foundation for State Leadership Team's collaboration and implementation through the use of probing questions;
  2. Create and implement cross-systems professional development plan; and
  3. Sustain local level implementation.

 

In November 2008, the Ohio State Leadership Team conducted a state-level community mapping activity to assess the relationships between state agencies and their professional development work on inclusion. Topics included agency roles and responsibilities; agency professional development efforts related to inclusionary practices; opportunities for coordination and/or collaboration on how to infuse the SpecialQuest approach and materials; and cross-sector relationships to professional credentialing/requirements.

 

The State Leadership Team is also committed to providing a clear, consistent message to state agency partners about their work with SpecialQuest Birth–Five. The team has drafted a webpage that contains information on the team's membership, vision and activities underway. This information will be posted/linked to all state agency partner web pages and updated on a routine basis.

 

The three SpecialQuest Ambassadors for Ohio continue to be very involved in state-level work. In October 2008, they began offering trainings on the SpecialQuest materials at monthly Ohio Head Start Association, Inc. (OHSAI) meetings. While this work is separate from that of the State Leadership Team, all three Ambassadors also serve on the State Leadership Team and have shared feedback on how these sessions are implemented and received. This information is very helpful to the State Leadership Team as they move forward with planning and implementing state and regional trainings on the SpecialQuest approach and materials.

 

The first such Training of Trainers event organized by the State Leadership Team was held in Columbus on March 19–20, 2009 at a bi-monthly meeting of the State Support Teams (previously known as the Special Education Resource Centers) and was targeted for cross-agency professional development providers statewide, including representatives from Resource and Referral agencies, Head Start Disability Coordinators, Help Me Grow (Part C, Early Intervention) and the Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD). Ambassadors and other State Leadership Team members conducted the training. The content consisted of sessions from the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library as well as time for groups to meet by region and plan together about joint professional development opportunities on early childhood inclusion.

 

The two SpecialQuest Graduate Team Communities, Mahoning-Youngstown and WSOS (Wood, Sandusky, Ottawa, and Seneca Counties), Inc., have continued to meet quarterly with their SpecialQuest Coaches. Activities include reviewing alignment of community action plans with results from the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices conducted in the Spring/Summer of 2008 and early stages of planning for regional trainings using the SpecialQuest approach and materials.

 


 

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

The Ohio State Leadership Team is composed of 20 members with strong representation of all required membership roles (Head Start, Child Care, Family Leaders, Part C, Part B/619, and Institutions of Higher Education). In addition, they have representation from the Governor's Early Childhood Cabinet, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, and three SpecialQuest Ambassadors. This team is cohesive and to date, has chosen to work as a large group.

 

The Ohio State Leadership Team is currently working on three action plans:

 

  1. Lay the foundation for State Leadership Team's collaboration and implementation through the use of probing questions.
  2. Create and implement cross-systems professional development plan.
  3. Sustain local level implementation.

 

Efforts planned and underway include: conducting the community mapping activity in order to assess relationships, connections, and strategies (both at the state and local levels); surveying State Leadership Team members on current professional development efforts offered to their providers and identifying opportunities for collaboration; and obtaining on-going feedback from trainings being offered by SpecialQuest Ambassadors (using the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library) between October 2008 and June 2009 to participants at the Ohio Head Start Association, Inc. (OHSAI) meetings. The State Leadership Team members are viewing the OHSAI trainings as a pilot, and plan to learn from those experiences as they move forward and consider replication across all communities within the state.

 

The invitation to all three Ohio SpecialQuest Ambassadors to join the State Leadership Team was a significant addition. The participation of the SpecialQuest Ambassadors on the State Leadership Team has helped to coordinate and solidify the SpecialQuest Birth–Five efforts underway within the state.

 

The two SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities are Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Program (MY-CAP), located in northeastern Ohio, and the WSOS Community Action, Inc., in Fremont. 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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