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Race to the Top

Early Learning Challenge Grant

In December 2013, the Governor's Office of Early Childhood was awarded a four-year, $44.3 million dollar Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant from the United States Department of Education and the Administration of Children and Families. The grant is to ensure more high-needs children have access to high quality early care and education. The objectives are organized into seven projects. We have three main strategies to achieve school readiness throughout the Commonwealth:

  1. Improving the quality of all early care and education programs,
  2. Engaging families as their child’s first and most important teacher, and
  3. Enhancing our ability to measure the impact of our work by improved data collection and integration.

These objectives are being fulfilled through seven key projects:

  1. Grant management
  2. Redesigning the tiered quality rating and improvement system
  3. Integrate early childhood standards
  4. United Way Born Learning Academies
  5. Kentucky Strengthening Families
  6. Responsive Professional Development
  7. Integrate data into Kentucky Longitudinal Data System

To learn more about each project, read the quarterly reports (see right).

Ninety-three percent of the funds will go to support this enhancement and expansion of the tiered quality rating and improvement system (TQRIS). The new system, Kentucky All STARS, will replace the current STARS for KIDS NOW system in July 2016.

The new system will help families compare the quality of early care and education programs in order to choose the right program for their children, helping more children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.

Race to the Top has helped fund United Way Born Learning Academies across the state. By the end of 2017, the goal is to fund 150 academies. Fifty new sites will be funded for the 2016-2017 school year.

Other components of the RTT-ELC grant include expanding upon Kentucky’s professional development system to make it more robust and responsive, creating a unified early childhood workforce registry system and integrating early childhood data sets into the Kentucky Longitudinal Data System.

The Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant builds upon the ongoing work of the GOEC and our Early Childhood Advisory Council, and Kentucky’s history of putting our most vulnerable children and families first.

For more information about the grant, click here to visit the website for the program description.