RPC’s Early Childhood Education Program Receives High Marks During Recent Federal Review

A young boy playing with toys in a school room

The RPC’s services for children and families in Champaign County continue to excel, according to a recent federal review of the county’s Head Start and Early Head Start program. The Focus Area Two monitoring review of the program conducted from May 2, 2022, through May 6, 2022, found that the program meets requirements of all applicable Head Start Performance Standards, laws, regulations, and policy requirements. The program is administered by the RPC’s Early Childhood Education division.

Conducted by the Administration for Children & Families’ (ACF) Office of Head Start (OHS), the review determined that the program ensures RPC staff continue to receive supervision and support to enhance services available to children and families in Champaign County. During regular meetings with staff, the program’s supervisors used a reflective supervision model to offer guidance, assess individual goals progress, identify improvement areas, and determine training needs.

The OHS also credited the RPC’s program for strengthening staff skills and knowledge by providing training on trauma-informed practices, ERSEA – Eligibility, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance – standards for accurate child and family enrollment, and a social-emotional curriculum to help decrease challenging behaviors. Ongoing feedback and training gave staff members the tools to provide responsive services to children and families.

“I want to thank the employees, the Policy Council members, the RPC Governing Body members, and the County Executive for their participation, dedication, and support during this federal monitoring review,” says Brandi Granse, the RPC’s Early Childhood Division Director. “I am so proud of our program and the services we provide to the children and families within Champaign County. I can’t thank everyone in our program enough for their dedication to our community.”

The OHS pinpointed several other areas of excellence within the RPC’s programs, including:

Education and Services

  • Data analysis efforts helped the RPC design services that promoted children’s progress toward school readiness.
  • The program assisted education staff in using data to individualize learning experiences to improve outcomes for all children.

Health Services

  • The RPC supported the emotional well-being of children and families by contracting with a mental health consultant who was assisted by the program’s social skills and prevention coaches.
  • By pairing staff and family support with professional development opportunities, the program promoted positive social-emotional outcomes for children.

Family and Community Engagement Services

  • The RPC offered opportunities for families to strengthen their parenting skills by implementing a research-based parenting curriculum and offering a virtual parenting group.
  • Family engagement practices helped parents develop leadership skills, establish support networks, and build confidence as their children’s first teachers.

Fiscal Infrastructure

  • The RPC collaborated with its governing bodies to develop a budget responsive to program goals and objectives.
  • The RPC ensured funds were allocated to support quality improvement strategies, resulting in responsive services for children and families.

Eligibility, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance (ERSEA)

  • The RPC provided annual training to ensure staff members adhered to ERSEA policies and procedures.
  • Once children and expectant families were enrolled in the program, RPC staff tracked attendance and supported families experiencing barriers to regular participation, helping ensure the enrollment and participation of eligible children.

“We are so appreciative of the ACF’s findings and the hard work our staff did to prepare for the review,” Granse concludes. “The review reinforces our commitment to Champaign County and the children and families in our care. Excellence in our services is always a priority, and we are determined to continue making this community a safe and educational one for the children whose lives we are influencing.”

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