Coordinator's Corner

News from MDE - Early Learning Services

Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year!
There is no doubt that our world has changed due to COVID-19. Every program is feeling the impact, likely in similar and unique ways. We will not know the exact impact for a while, but we know there will be a significant financial impact. Of course, it has also impacted our programming. Fortunately, because of our history of working to meet the needs of children and families, we have numerous examples of innovation and responsive, relationship-focused services. Undoubtedly, we will be faced with challenges this school year. The more we come together to support and learn from each other, the better off we will be as we adjust to new realities.

Below are some helpful updates from your colleagues in early learning at MDE. See the MDE Contacts tab if you need to reach us. See the Old News tab for previous updates.

Assessment and Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP)

  1. MDE’s website Assessment in Early Childhood Website contains our recent COVID-19 guidance document COVID-19 Early Learning Assessment Guidance: Required KEP-Approved Assessment Items. While this guidance is specific to Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) and School Readiness Plus (SRP) programs, other early learning programs (like School Readiness) using a KEP-approved assessment may find value in this guidance.
  2. Be on the lookout in late September/early October for a new MDE resource “COVID-19 Early Learning Assessment Resource: Concrete Authentic Observation Strategies to Collect Data for KEP-Approved Assessments, Especially In Hybrid and Distance Learning.”
  3. Remember that there is a cadres of KEP-Assessment Certified Trainers (for each of the four KEP-approved assessments) who can help you with implementation of your assessment (including how to assess students during hybrid or distance learning).

Early Childhood Administration
Challenge yourself this year through self-assessment and goal planning by using the Knowledge and Competency Framework for Early Childhood Administrators. More information can be found on this page Leadership-Administration. Make sure to discuss this tool with your colleagues.

Early Childhood Family Education
Community Needs Assessment (CNA): All district submitted their narrative summaries (two districts do not offer ECFE). Similar to previous years, look for updated guidance on the ECFE-Needs-Assessment page. As a reminder, when submitting your CNA for the Annual Report, approach it like a School Board member or legislator is reading it. Most importantly, work to connect your needs assessment work to other district or community priorities. A great start is connecting it to your World's Best Workforce work.

Early Childhood Screening

Early Learning Scholarships - Pathway II

Early Learning Standards
Revised Early Childhood Indicators of Progress: Minnesota’s Early Learning Standards (ECIPs)
Click Here or

Family Engagement Professional Learning Modules
A new professional learning tool is now available for districts.
Go to the Family Engagement page on the parenting education wiki.

Knowledge and Competencies for Early Childhood Administrators

New Administrators
You will notice that there is a "New Administrators" page on this website. The goal for this page is to provide information for new administrators/coordinators that will give them a useful introduction to the roles and responsibilities of early childhood coordinators. Determining what should be included (and in what order) on this page is challenging, especially if we want to avoid overwhelming people who are brand new to their position. If you have any feedback/suggestions on what should be included (e.g., what is the most important information for new administrators/coordinators?), please let me know (su.nm.etats|nworb.p.ekim#su.nm.etats|nworb.p.ekim).

Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB)
The Board of Teaching is now the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB). Here is their website:

Professional Learning Opportunities
From Crisis to Continuity: Adapting our programming to new realities
September 25, 2020, from 9:00 to 3:30.
Click Here

School Readiness
The School Readiness Program Plan is no longer required. Instead, similar requirements were added to World's Best Workforce. More information on how to include this in your World's Best Workforce plan are forthcoming. In the meantime, see this page of the MDE website:

You will find this document, World’s Best Workforce Goal #1: All Children Ready for School Writing Goals and Strategies to be helpful. Please note the agreed upon expectations of school readiness, designed to highlight children’s right to enter kindergarten:

  • Child is at least five years of age by September 1 of the child’s enrollment year (Minnesota Statutes, section 120A.20).
  • Child has received early childhood screening (Minnesota Statutes, section121A.17).
  • Child has received medically acceptable immunizations (Minnesota Statutes, section121A.15).

Please let Mike (su.nm.etats|nworb.p.ekim#su.nm.etats|nworb.p.ekim) know if your district has included a biennial School Readiness plan (describing how your program meets the School Readiness program requirements in MN statutes) in your district's WBWF plan. We are not monitoring, but want to identify examples to highlight.

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten