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Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

BUILD’s Archived Events

January 14, 2014 Webinar and Resources: State-Level Early Childhood Governance

State-Level Early Childhood Governance

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Webinar and Resources

Presenters: Melvin Carter, Myra Jones-Taylor, Karen Ponder, Elliot Regenstein

Careful and deliberate assessment of a state’s early childhood governance structure is an integral step in reducing fragmentation, uneven quality, and inequity in early childhood programs and services. Webinar participants had the opportunity to hear about state-level governance options from both the author of A Framework for Choosing a State-Level Early Childhood Governance System and leaders of several state early childhood governance offices.

The presenters shared information about their state’s governance choices, including what the state hoped to accomplish with a governance change, what led to the desire, and key values that they hoped the governance change would serve.

Presenters also shared information about the:

  • Cost and timeline of governance changes
  • How these new governance structures relate to previously existing structures and initiatives,
  • What efforts are being made to instill a common, positive culture for early childhood in the new governance entity.

Read the brief: A Framework for Choosing a State-Level Early Childhood Governance System

See the PowerPoint presentation (in PDF format) that accompanied the webinar. (large file, slower loading; download for faster viewing)

View the webinar:


Melvin Carter is director of the Minnesota Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning. Myra Jones-Taylor is executive director at the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood. BUILD special projects team member Karen Ponder is president of Ponder Early Childhood, Inc. Elliot Regenstein is senior vice president at the Ounce of Prevention Fund.

October 2013 BUILD Initiative National Meeting

From the Ground Up ... Families and Communities

BUILD 2013 National Meeting

Early childhood systems builders met in Scottsdale, Arizona, in late October to share local strategies they’ve been using to successfully engage families in improving programs, services, and policies for young children. Representing each BUILD state and others, participants include state education leaders, evaluators, researchers, national systems thinkers, foundation leaders, and nonprofit children’s advocates.

What made news at the meeting?

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for information on upcoming BUILD Initiative meetings and conferences – and on those of our partners and colleagues.


October 7, 2013 Webinar and Resources: Young Children’s Healthy Development ... in a Diverse Society

Young Children’s Healthy Development and Learning in a Diverse Society:

An Overview of What We Know

October 7, 2013
Webinar and Resources

Presenters: Charles Bruner and Eva Marie Shrivers

Over 30 early childhood leaders worked together to produce Young Children’s Healthy Development and Learning in a Diverse Society, a document compiling the current research and evidence in the field on designing culturally and linguistically relevant, responsive, and competent early childhood education systems. In this BUILD Initiative webinar, Eva Shivers and Charles Bruner, two of the coordinators in developing the document, presented its major findings and messages, both in terms of what we know and what we need to learn. The document has been designed to be a living document, which is continually revised and updated.

The webinar provided participants with the opportunity to raise questions and assist in further adapting and developing resources for the early childhood field related to culture, language, and ethnicity.

Read the living document, Young Children’s Healthy Development and Learning in a Diverse Society.

See the PowerPoint presentation (in PDF format) that accompanied the webinar. 

View the webinar:

July-August 2013 QRIS National Meeting

2013 QRIS National Meeting

Moving from What? to Why? and How? The lessons of the past informing the next generation of QRIS 

July 31-August 2, 2013
Washington, D.C.

With a focus on continuously improving the quality of U.S. early learning, which sets the stage for lifelong productivity, more than 350 state early childhood leaders, funders, business supporters, researchers, policymakers and national experts attended the summer 2013 Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) National Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Representing nearly every U.S. state and territory, meeting participants shared the latest thinking and promising practices in QRIS, a method to assess, improve and communicate the level of quality in early care and education settings.

Quality rating and improvement systems are an important tool for helping programs continuously improve the quality of care and education they provide to young children. A QRIS is equally valuable for parents, helping them select the very best possible early learning setting for their children. The 2013 QRIS National Meeting was designed to help state early childhood leaders learn from each other as well as expose them to the latest research to assist them in building a high quality system of early learning for young children and their families.

Access presentations and materials from the meeting on the BUILD Initiative’s QRIS National Learning Network website.

August 21, 2013 Webinar and Brief: Families Know Best

Families Know Best: 

Integrating Parent Knowledge into Young Child Assessment Systems

August 21, 2013 Webinar and BUILD Initiative Brief

Families Know Best and KEAWebinar (view it below)

Presenters: Lindsey Allard Agnamba and Charles Bruner

Family engagement is an important part of all aspects of early childhood systems work. This webinar hones in on one aspect of early childhood work that has gained momentum in states in the last few years – kindergarten entry assessment (KEA). As states develop KEAs and other young child assessment systems, there are opportunities to develop and use these assessments for multiple purposes, including the development of partnerships with families.

Based on the BUILD Policy Brief, Families Know Best, co-authors Lindsey Allard Agnamba and Charles Bruner:

  • Report on the current status of the field in collecting information from families.
  • Introduce a framework and promising opportunities for promoting family engagement in the assessment process.
  • Examine possible next steps for the field in this work.
  • Provide concrete examples of current work in this area, bringing the voices of two leaders who share their own cutting-edge state experience and comment on possible next steps and directions for the field.

Policy Brief

The BUILD Initiative brief Families Know Best was conceived because state leaders identified the need for better integrating family knowledge at a child’s entry into kindergarten. It includes a set of recommendations  – developed with the input of state leaders – to move forward on an agenda to better gather and use information from families in the KEA process. 

View the webinar:

July 19, 2013 Webinar and Resources: Diversity, Quality, Equity

A Diverse, High Quality and Equitable Early Childhood System

July 19, 2013 Webinar and Resources

This webinar shared lessons learned from the Diversity and Equity Project and examined emerging tools to promote and measure family and community engagement. Participants grappled with the challenging question, What can we learn from these efforts to move inclusive systems building ahead?

As more states see increased cultural and language diversity among their youngest population, early childhood system leaders have focused on strategies assuring a high quality and responsive system for all young children.

The BUILD Initiative and its partners, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have worked to integrate principles of diversity and equity into early childhood systems. What has been learned from the recent QRIS Diversity and Equity Project which offered state administrators and policy makers technical assistance to guide these efforts in their state quality planning? One emerging strategy is the inclusion of a family and community knowledge domain in child development assessments and quality ratings of early childhood programs encouraging improvement to programs, policies and practices.

Watch the webinar now:

Continuous Quality Improvement in QRIS

Learning Table Participants Dig Deep in Baltimore

Continuous Quality Improvement series by BUILD InitiativeEarly childhood state team members from Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin will engage in a four-month Learning Table series being offered by the BUILD Initiative.

The series, the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) in QRIS Learning Table, kicked off with a face-to-face meeting in Baltimore on May 7 and 8, 2013.

The series is designed to explore the role of CQI in defining or redefining the QRIS. Setting and monitoring standards and other accountability structures may not be enough to engage programs, directors and teams to initiate and own the change necessary to improve program quality to a level that will lead to positive child outcomes.

To support an overall CQI approach, states must offer programs, directors and partners a framework and structure that focuses the conversation on a CQI approach at all levels. Watching cross-state teams build their visual framework of CQI in Baltimore emphasized the depth of this important concept and added to the excitement around this work.

Health Equity Meeting

BUILD’s Health Equity and Young Children Meeting

The BUILD Initiative invited four state teams (CO, MI, MN, OH) as well as representatives from four other states (AZ, GA, IL, NY) to participate in a two-day “mock grant opportunity.”

Health Equity for Young Children Meeting by BUILD.The goal of the health equity meeting was to work with each state team to develop an “application” for a $20 million mock grant designed to focus on eliminating young child health disparities. The meeting, held in Denver, CO was designed to:

  • Give states time to work together with their individual teams.
  • Help teams learn from other states in the development of their plans.
  • Provide state teams with expert assistance from key leaders in public health who could provide an immediate response to state planning and proposed strategies.

The Underlying Issue

While there have been major medical advances in the treatment of bio-medical health issues among both children and adults, the major determinants of child health are social and economic in origin. These social determinants include poverty and the impact of poverty upon the availability of resources. They also include social and economic disadvantage and the presence of discrimination, whether personal or institutional.

Speaking to this issue, meeting keynote Dr. Maxine Hayes focused on Righting the Wrong of Social Injustice in Health – Why it Matters? Why Act Now? Other sessions and presentations included Disparities in Health and Implications for Children by Dr. Bernard Guyer, with response from Dr. Steven Poole. In addition, Dr. David Willis discussed Health Equity and Young Children: Overview of Federal and State Contexts, with responses from Carrie Hanlon, Dr. Angela Sauaia and BUILD’s own Dr. Charles Bruner.

Energy and Enthusiasm for Systems Building

While a grant opportunity to eliminate young child health disparities has not yet materialized, we learned from state planning for the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant that even the planning for such a grant can help move a state’s systems building efforts. From the response to this meeting and the energy and enthusiasm of the state participants, this “mock grant opportunity” will hopefully provide similar impetus to state planning efforts.

The meeting was made possible through generous support from The Colorado Trust.


Produced by Charles Bruner and Vivian Day of the Child & Family Policy Center, The Healthy Child Story Book provides policymakers with a review of the role of child health practitioners in improving children’s healthy development.

During his presentation, Dr. Bernard Guyer referenced an article that he coauthored: A New Framework for Childhood Health Promotion: The Role of Policies and Programs in Building Capacity and Foundations of Early Childhood Health.

The presentation Health Equity and Young Children by Dr. David Willis detailed the state and federal contexts of the issue.

A Four-State Q&A {PDF 172KB provides an overview of current state activities and efforts, challenges, opportunities and questions for Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. 

The PowerPoint Righting the Wrong of Social Injustice in Health, presented by Maxine Hayes, MD, MPH., examines why health equity matters and why immediate action is needed. As state health officer for the Washington State Department of Health, Dr. Hayes is Washington’s top public health doctor.

The PowerPoint Health Equity and Young Children: State Context, presented by Carrie Hanlon, program manager, National Academy for State Health Policy, looks at both challenges and opportunities for states.