AEM Blue

AEM provided leadership as well as the necessary hands-on support to ensure an effective Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance (RTT-ELC) program.

Through a comprehensive approach, we provided critical technical assistance and resource development support for 20 RTT-ELC states. We assisted states in building statewide systems that increased access to and raised the quality of their early learning development programs.

We designed many activities for this program. For instance, we conducted needs assessments and developed TA plans to meet specific state needs. We worked directly with project leads or their respective state teams to help them meet their goals. We used strategies such as communities of practice, including collaborative working groups, topic-based meetings, and conferences to solve complex and often persistent problems. We facilitated peer exchanges, ensuring grantees could communicate needs and learn from each other. We developed best practice guides, toolkits, and webinars. We created and hosted the Early Learning Technical Assistance Consortium, where more than 40 technical assistance organizations, both federally and privately funded, met monthly to share their work and best practices with each other. And—of course—we provided onsite technical assistance whenever needed.

AEM’s team received positive feedback from many states. As one example, Kentucky’s RTT-ELC award allowed Kentucky to redesign their Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System to include all public child care, public preschool, and Head Start programs. The grantee shared: “While faced with challenges, the AEM staff provided technical assistance on planning implementation efforts, on creating and aligning standards across programs, and on how to communicate to key stakeholders. The hands-on technical assistance provided by AEM is one of the key factors to the upward success of our grant.”