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Special Education

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Centers of Excellence for Young Children
with Disabilities Project

Regional Network of Professional Development and Technical Assistance


Early childhood professionals will have the knowledge, skills and supports necessary to be effective in their respective roles in order to increase the probability that young children with disabilities and their families achieve positive outcomes. 


Each of the existing economic development regions will house a Center of Excellence for Young Children with Disabilities.”  
The centers will provide a high quality, comprehensive, coordinated system of professional development that includes regionalized support, technical assistance and training.  

 The Centers of Excellence will support learning opportunities that incorporate follow-up, mentoring and coaching provided to practitioners, utilizing evidence based practices that enhance effective adult learning.  The Centers of Excellence will also be incorporating technology resources that will assist in building a robust professional development system to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of all practitioners in MN, regardless of location.

Celebrating the Power of Experience, Serving Members for over 31 years!

Target Audience

ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education )
ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education)
Head Start & Early Head Start
Child care providers
School Readiness professionals
CCR&R professionals (Child Care Resource & Referral)

What’s Happening Now

1.)  TACSEI (Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention).  Minnesota is one of two states selected to partner with TACSEI in the first round of TACSEI’s  five-year technical assistance grant. 

The goal of the State/TACSEI partnership is to plan, implement and sustain a professional development system to enhance the knowledge and skills of the early childhood work force in meeting the social emotional needs of young children, particularly those with or at risk for delays or disabilities in inclusive and natural environments. 

TACSEI is implemented through a Pyramid Model.  There are currently 16 Master Cadre members and 3 TACSEI Demonstration Sites going through training with Lise Fox, our national expert on TACSEI.  The Centers of Excellence have started implementing professional development opportunities throughout the state, with a “train the trainer” approach, and geared to professionals working with young children birth to five years of age.  Detailed information related to TACSEI can be found at: www.challengingbehavior.org

2.) FGRBI (Family-Guided Routines Based Intervention).  The Centers of Excellence have recruited practitioners to participate in the FGRBI Master Cadre.  Dr. Woods is the national consultant for this cadre and detailed information about her
work can be found at http://fgrbi.fsu.edu/.  Dr. Woods is currently providing intensive training to these practitioners, who will be expected to develop regional capacity related to FGRBI related to   children birth to three years of age and their families.

3.) CLD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse).  The Centers of Excellence are working to build regional capacity towards “Serving Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Families:  Assessment, Evaluation, and Intervention Practices” for children birth to three years of age and their families.  The Centers of Excellence have recruited Master Cadre members comprised of selected practitioners who are currently participating in training and coaching with Dr. Lillian Duran, who is a national expert in working with CLD families.  After going through training with Dr. Lillian Duran, professional development opportunities will be provided to practitioners throughout the state, on a regional basis.

Would You Like Assistance in Enhancing Professional Development in Your Region Around any of the Following?

  • Inclusion
  • Cultural Diversity
  • IFSP Guidance
  • Evaluation & Assessment
  • Assistive Technology
  • COSF Ratings
  • Communications options for children with hearing loss
  • Challenging behaviors
  • Infant Mental Health
  • Categorical disabilities and intervention practices
  • IFSP, IEP, and IIIP writing
  • RTI and PBIS as they relate to early childhood
  • Transition requirements and practices

Who Should I Contact In My Region?

If you have further questions about the Centers of Excellence or have training or technical assistance needs, please contact:

Your Professional Development Facilitator can also help:

  • Build collaborative relationships across agencies and programs
  • Serve as a liaison between your region and the Department of Education related to ECSE and Help Me Grow Professional Development
  • Help identify key stakeholders and experts in your region
  • Develop materials and professional development modules for statewide use, and
  • Identify priorities for Professional Development content in your region.

Contact Information
Hope Brandt

Donna Miller
612-638-1500 | Donna.Miller@metroecsu.org