The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant has enabled Maryland to create a seamless Birth-to-Grade 12 reform agenda to ensure that all young children and their families are supported in the state’s efforts to overcome school readiness gaps. This has allowed Maryland to move early childhood education from a good system to a great system.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is the fiscal agent for the grant and its Division of Early Childhood Development takes the lead in implementing the funds. The ECAC advises MSDE on the implementation of the RTT-ELC State Plan. Participating state agencies, including the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Department of Human Resources, and the Governor’s Office for Children, collaborate with MSDE in support of the State Plan. Ten innovative projects address the scope of the RTT-ELC State Plan.
The LECACs have a common set of goals:
- To establish annual benchmarks of school readiness skills of children entering kindergarten
- To conduct a periodic local needs assessment concerning the quality and availability of early childhood education and development programs and services
- To develop an action plan for increasing the overall participation of children in existing programs, including outreach to underrepresented and special populations, elevating the quality of existing programs and coordinating the RTT-ELC goals and objectives at the local level
- To coordinate locally the projects in Maryland’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, as well as other early childhood initiatives and reforms
- To report progress or challenges to the Governor’s State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care, including quarterly submission of local council attendance rosters, meeting minutes and an annual report on local council action plans