Training and Technical Assistance

The CEP uses a data and research-informed, policy and practice-focused lens that frames our training and technical assistance (TTA) approach. We work with state and federal early care and education system leaders, practitioners, and educators to surface and dismantle inequitable policies and practices by critically examining systemic factors that perpetuate and sustain inequities, and identifying and implementing concrete, tailored, and actionable steps to support systemic change. 

Our Framework

We believe that equitable learning environments provide equitable access to resources and experiences including high-quality education that supports children and families’ health and well-being, experiences that are fair, just, culturally responsive, and sustaining, and outcomes that are not associated with children’s or any other demographic. This framing serves as the focus for our TTA that uses a collaborative approach to examine barriers and identify solutions that explicitly embed equity into policies and practices.  It creates a space to engage in democratic discourse on issues of equity, race, and bias - including the impact of historical and institutional racism and resulting disparities on the experiences of children and families from communities that have been historically marginalized.  It dismantles internal power structures by elevating the diverse voices, strengths, and expertise of organization leadership and key stakeholders to collectively identify community strengths, challenges, and needs to co-create tailored solutions to address systemic change.

Our Work

The CEP is part of three federally funded, national training and technical assistance centers. Learn more about our national T/TA work by visiting the Center homepages below: 

Featured resources: 

The CEP also engages in state, community, and program level T/TA focusing on equity data cleaning, analysis and interpretation; strategic planning and policy recommendations; professional development; research and policy evaluation and more. We focus on an array of issues and systems that impact the lives of children and families, including but not limited to: 

  • Early care and education systems (Head Start, child care, pre-K)
  • K-12 education systems 
  • Child welfare systems
  • Health and mental health systems 
  • Economic systems 

We have worked on numerous specific policy and practice issues within these systems, including: 

  • Pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, and instruction 
  • Harsh and exclusionary discipline 
  • Emerging bilingual children and dual language education 
  • Inclusion and supports for children with disabilities 
  • Family engagement and partnerships 
  • Social emotional development and infant and early childhood mental health 
  • Workforce equity

Professional Development

Office of Head Start (OHS) Region V, VIII, IV, and IX Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys (SSRSYAB) and Communities of Practice (CoP)

Lisa Gordon, Professor of Practice and Senior Director of Training, Technical Assistance, and Professional Development co-led and facilitated the OHS Region V, VIII, IV, and IX SSRSYAB in multiple states across the country. These events consisted of virtual convenings, activation events, and Communities of Practice for multiple regions of OHS and all were done as part of the OHS Initiative on SSRSYAB. Session topics ranged from professional development, developing a data-informed culture for decision-making and innovation, evidence-based culturally responsive strategies, health equity, the use of data to inform equity-focused practices in programs, and research-based strategies to support Black boys' development and learning. Hundreds of Head Start program leaders, teachers, family engagement, health, and disability coordinators, parents, Regional TTA, and federal staff participated in the events.

Cultivating Equity and Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Community of Practice

The CEP’s Senior Director for Training, Technical Assistance and Professional Development, Lisa Gordon has been spearheading work on Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys through the CEP’s partnership with the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning. Over 120 Head Start leaders, teachers, family engagement, health, and disability coordinators, and parents representing 28 Head Start programs participated in the virtual events. These events included the launch of the Office of Head Start Region V Community of Practice (CoP) on this issue in Chicago, IL; the launch of the Office of Head Start, Region IX Community of Practice on Cultivating Equity and Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys in Honolulu, HI; and two virtual sessions for the Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys CoP for the Office of Head Start Region V and IX. The sessions focused on topics like research-based strategies to support Black boys' development and learning as well as the discussion and examination of program policies and practices to preserve, protect, promote, and transform the health, economic, education, and general well-being of Black children and their families.

Office of Head Start’s National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (DTL), Early Childhood Specialist (ECS) RAPS Series

The CEP’s Lisa Gordon facilitated a session at the Office of Head Start’s National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (DTL), Early Childhood Specialist (ECS) RAPS series on October 12, 2023. The virtual session, entitled “The Revised Framework for Effective Practice: Implementing Research-Based Curriculum and Teaching Practices” is a continuation of The Framework for Effective Practice series as part of the framework rollout. ECS RAPS is a professional learning community (PLC) designed to support the work of OHS Regional Early Childhood Specialists who provide training and technical assistance to Head Start program leaders, teachers, and staff across the country.

Revised Framework for Effective Practice: OHS Regional Training and Technical Assistance Network Professional Development 2023 Winter Meeting

In February 2023, the Children's Equity Project rolled out a revised Framework for Effective Practice (FEP) at the Office of Head Start Regional Training and Technical Assistance Network Professional Development Meeting, as part of its work with the OHS National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (DTL). The FEP uses a house to represent five integral elements of quality teaching and learning for children ages birth to five. The Children's Equity Project revised the FEP to embed an equity-focused mindset throughout the framework to ensure teaching and learning practices are built on positive and nurturing relationships and interactions, culturally and linguistically responsive, bias conscious, and affirm all aspects of children’s intersecting identities (culture, race, ethnicity). Children's Equity Project Assistant Research Professor Dr. Darielle Blevins and Senior Scientist for Bilingual Learning, Dr. Xigrid Soto-Boykin worked with the Children's Equity Project's Director of Training, Technical Assistance, and Community Engagement Lisa Gordon to revise the framework with colleagues across DTL.

School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Institute

In February, the Children's Equity Project's Director for Training, Technical Assistance, and Community Engagement, Lisa Gordon co-led the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Institute hosted by the Office of Head Start (OHS) Region Nine. The purpose of the institute was to: Provide an overview of the Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Initiative; examine key cultural concepts and research related to African American boys, and support programs to begin to plan and discuss ways to implement culturally responsive strength-based strategies into practice and programming to promote African American boys’ strengths and development and learning. A total of 80 participants representing 38 programs attended the session.  

Black Boys Film - Supporting Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Initiative

In March, the Children's Equity Project's Director for Training, Technical Assistance, and Community Engagement, Lisa Gordon was a panelist at the Black Boys film screening in Oakland, CA. The events were sponsored by the City of Oakland Head Start Program, in partnership, with the Office of Head Start Region 9 and the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCEDTL). The events provided a platform to focus efforts to advance equity in early childhood education programs. Lisa elevated OHS’ Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Initiative that she has co-lead through CEP’s work with NCEDTL.

Strategic Planning

Equity In Early Intervention

The CEP culminated its work with the Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program (MCITP) to embed equity into MCITP’s early intervention policies, practices, and procedures. MCITP services children and families across Montgomery County, MD, the largest county in the state. The CEP’s 14 Priorities to Dismantle Systemic Racism in Early Care and Education report and Equity Strategic Plan Template to Advance Equity in Early Care and Education Systems provided the focus for this work. The CEP collaborated with MCITP leadership in March 2022 and led the following efforts: engaged a cross-discipline equity workgroup that examined existing policies, procedures, and practices through an equity lens; conducted an equity audit that included the voices of MCITP leadership, staff, community partners, and families; developed a theory of change to inform a 3-5 year Professional Development Plan for service providers; and developed a Five Year Strategic Equity Plan for MCITP Leadership. CEP’s Senior Director of Training, Technical Assistance, and Professional Development, Lisa Gordon and Dr. Sharissa Blanchard, CEP Partner and Senior Education Researcher led this work.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in Head Start

The CEP’s Lisa Gordon facilitated a session at the National Head Start Association (NHSA) Leadership Conference in Arlington, VA, on September 18, 2023. The NHSA partnered with the CEP and the Equity Research Action Coalition at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, in 2023 to identify how best to advance justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in Head Start through conversations with experts, staff, and grantees.

Research & Evaluation

Center for Excellence on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Virtual Conference
The CEP’s Lisa Gordon and Dr. Evandra Catherine presented at the Center of Excellence on IECMHC virtual conference, Equity From the Start, that was held on November 6th - 9th, 2023. Ms. Gordon facilitated the plenary on day one which featured a panel of IECMHC leaders who engaged in a cross-cultural dialogue that examined equity in IECMHC in our nation's current context. The session looked back on the 2020 COE Five-Part Webinar Series on Equity in IECMHC: "How Did We Get Here", to explore lessons learned, what's working, and perspectives on holding hope for the future for children and families from communities that have been historically and contemporarily marginalized. CEP Director of Disability and Mental Health Policy, Dr. Evandra Catherine, led a presentation where participants engaged in an in-depth conversation about the ways that IECHMC can be a disrupter of bias, specifically through reflective supervision.

The CEP’s Dr. Darielle Blevins, Lisa Gordon, and Dr. Cinthia Palomino also co-facilitated the launch of the Equity in IECMHC ECHO. The virtual ECHO runs from October 2023 through March 2024. The purpose of the ECHO is to explicitly focus on the IECMHC provider’s role in advancing equity in IECMHC to support more equitable systems and strengthen culturally responsive IECMHC practices to reduce disparities and improve child outcomes.

Dr. Catherine also showcased the results of a CoE consensus-building study at a workshop that defined core activities of IECMHC, emphasizing relationships and equity. The workshop presented findings and encouraged attendees to implement equity-promoting actions in their practices, supporting social-emotional well-being of Black, Indigenous, Latine, Asian and other infants and toddlers.

Leading Equitable Learning Communities for all Children

CEP’s Lisa Gordon co-facilitated a session titled “Leading Equitable Learning Communities for all Children” at the Office of Head Start Region IX Communities of Practice (CoP) on Leading with Equity.  The CoP, hosted by Region IX includes leaders representing 14 Head Start programs and Head Start Collaborative Offices from states in the Pacific Coast including  AZ, CA, HI, GU, MP, and NV.