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Early Childhood Program Recognized for Best Practice 2010-2011

Best Practice in Early Childhood Services Awarded for Services 2010-2011

Each year all early childhood programs in the state of Kansas, serving children with disabilities, are asked to submit an application to the State Department of Education. These applications reflect interventions or services conducted in a manner considered a "best practice" in the field of early childhood special education. Each submission is reviewed by a panel of professionals from across the state and scored according to specific criteria.

Two preschool programs were honored for their educational services during the annual meeting of the Kansas Division for Early Childhood, in Wichita on Friday, February 25, 2011. Each program received a certificate of recognition and $1,250 to use as an added resource for their services.

Cottonwood Elementary Early Childhood Special Education Program

The Cottonwood Elementary Early Childhood Special Education Program in Paola, a program of the East Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative, was recognized for application of best practices in the area of transition from Part C to Part B. This program, based on a review of the literature on transition and based on their state transition data, made the decision to focus resources on improving their transition practices. Program staff invested time in applying information from the literature review in clearly defined activities related to transition. Their emphasis concentrated on improving communication and information sharing with families to improve transition and to address concerns of families early in the transition process. Activities focused on improved family-friendly documents for parents to read, a brochure with identified timeline and activities but individualized for each child and family, and an evaluation of the process through a family satisfaction survey.

Contact: Suzy Wilcox, Cottonwood Elementary Early Childhood Special Education Program, 302 N. Oak, Paola, KS 66071, Phone: (913) 294-2303.

Clearwater Elementary Preschool Clearwater USD #264

The Clearwater Elementary Preschool in Clearwater USD #264 was recognized for application of best practice in the area of integrated service delivery. This preschool, through a strong partnership of the school district and special education cooperative, implemented a program designed to meet the needs of all children, including children with and without disabilities, at an individual level and based on individual need. Through focused long-term planning and staff development, they transformed their services. Children's needs are met at an individual level with intentional instruction connected to their curriculum with integrated related services supporting all children. The program has also set in place a data system designed to allow ongoing review of services and programs. And finally, parents of the children have also been engaged to ensure effective communication between the school and home.

Contact: Dr. Diane Nickelson, Clearwater Elementary Preschool, P.O. Box 248, Clearwater, KS 67026, Phone: (620) 584-2091.

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