Equity Head Start IL Practice Place-Based Public Policy
Trust for Learning
Toscha Blalock, Chief Learning and Evaluation Officer, [email protected]

Trust for Learning created a Strategic Planning Framework to assist early learning providers who would like to adopt ideal learning. This resource identifies areas and elements for providers to consider when planning to adopt an ideal learning approach. While specific goals and objectives will vary by program, this tool can help guide providers think through the overall scope of their plan and prepare for what may be involved in their transition.

Please use this planning framework as a resource when developing the goals and scope of work for your project. You may wish to address some or all of the elements listed below in your overall project plan. Please note that specific goals and deliverables will vary depending on each individual grantee.

I. Vision

  • Explicitly articulated rationale for the program and its value for all partners
  • Explanation of how the program will address students’ and families’ needs
  • Clearly articulated leadership structure with identified roles and processes
  • Timeline of project including significant milestones


II. Community Engagement

  • Plan for how the grantee will communicate with community stakeholders (i.e. parents, teachers, etc.) to establish support
  • Relationship-building process with Head Start staff, leaders, and families to ensure they are informed and understand the transition


III. Partners

  • Recruitment of additional partners as needed for effective implementation
  • Development of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to clarify the terms, roles, and responsibilities of each partner
  • Description of the role the Parent Advisory Council will play


IV. Research

  •  Review of the evidence base for the approach with the specific population to be served
  • Establishment of a research plan or partnership to evaluate program success
  • Collection of demographic data for future analysis


V. Environment

  • Inventory and purchase of needed supplies and materials to establish authentic learning environment
  • Analysis of available program space and how it will be used
  • How the quality of the environment will be measured


VI. Learning Outcomes

  • Analysis of how the new approach aligns with Head Start Performance Standards
  • Review of the curriculum with state early learning and development guidelines
  • How student progress will be measured and what assessments will be used
  • Description of program’s early learning goals and its definition of school readiness


VII. Finance and Operations

  • Development of annual budget
  • Creation of a long-term financial model to ensure sustainability of the program
  • Plan for contracting with other organizations for required services and supplies


VIII. Educator Training

  • Training of program leaders, teachers, and staff in new approach
  • Plan to provide ongoing professional development for staff
  • Review/piloting of specific tools and interventions to improve teacher practice

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