As a Head Start and ECEAP grantee, PSESD is required to complete an annual self-assessment process, develop an improvement plan, and deliver a report to its funding agencies. Self-assessment is a part of PSESD’s overall continuous improvement process. It is a comprehensive review of the Early Learning Program’s effectiveness and an opportunity to consider potential changes or improvements to the program.
The process focuses on the collection and analysis of data related to long-term priorities, goals, and strategies. It draws on information from ongoing monitoring data and input from partners such as Policy Council and families, PSESD Early Learning staff, Center Leaders, and center/site staff. These are the means to understand how the program is progressing and what can be improved.
The Self-Assessment process is as follows:
1. Establish Self-Assessment Team: At the start of the annual process, PSESD convenes a Self-Assessment Team, comprised of PSESD staff, Center Leaders, families, and other relevant partners. The team reviews data (program goals progress, attendance, enrollment, check points, incidents, etc.), identify and monitor trends, and make recommendations for improvements to help our program be the best it can be.
Individuals serve a one year term for a maximum of two consecutive years and may be eligible to return after a one year hiatus. The team meets four times between August and May.
If you are interested, or know someone that would be interested in participating, please contact Beth Larsen.
2. Refresh Annual Design: The Self-Assessment Team reflects on the previous year’s process, including successes and challenges that were encountered, and suggests potential changes.
Update Self-Assessment Information Needs: To update the information needs, the team identifies information necessary to assess progress toward established outcomes. Information needs can also be identified from our funders’ self-assessment topical requirements. When information gaps are likely to exceed capacity for collecting data, the team prioritizes information needs for the year.
Update Data Collection Methods and Samples: As information needs are identified, data collection methods are determined. Data collection from staff and families combines a broad-reaching survey and regional discussion groups with an in-depth, purposeful sample of sites to balance breadth and depth of information. Data can also be collected through targeted interviews, group discussions, or data/documentation analysis. The team considers whether to expand or modify these approaches each year to fit priorities and capacity.
3. Implement, Analyze and Report: Data are collected in line with the identified information needs. Data are analyzed to identify common themes that include areas of strength, challenges, and suggestions for improvement. The results are described in an annual Self-Assessment Report and shared with partners including Policy Council and families, PSESD Early Learning staff, Center Leaders and center/site staff, and the broader community. PSESD collects partner input to inform an improvement plan, which is written and shared with all funding agencies.
To collaborate on a research project with the PSESD Early Learning program, follow the steps below:
- Send a written description of the project to the PSESD Executive Director of Strategy, Evaluation and Learning. Include a cover letter that addresses how the project will meet the criteria for participation as outlined in the Research Policy and a completed Research Project Questionnaire.
- The Executive Director of Strategy, Evaluation and Learning will do a preliminary assessment of the research proposal.
- For proposals that do not include direct interaction with children, families, or staff (such as requests for existing data that has already been collected), the PSESD Executive Director of Early Learning, and PSESD Strategy, Evaluation and Learning team will decide about the program’s participation.
- For proposals that do include direct interaction with children, families, or staff (such as original data collection), the PSESD Strategy, Evaluation and Learning team, Early Learning staff, and Policy Council Leadership Team will review the proposal and make a recommendation to the Policy Council on participation in the project.
- If the recommendation to the Policy Council supports the program’s participation, a proposal outlining the participation (staff, budget, etc.) will be presented, including an outline of how it met research criteria.
- If the research proposal deadline does not fit with Policy Council meeting timelines, the Policy Council Leadership Team will make a tentative decision on participation and the decision will be brought to the next Policy Council for approval or disapproval.
Fourteen days prior to publication or release of research results, the individuals or organizations collaborating with PSESD Early Learning on the research project will provide the participating program with the results.