SRCD State Policy Fellow Portfolio Abstracts: Nneka Ibekwe, M.S.W., Ed.M.


2018-2019 State Policy Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Delaware Department of Education, Office of Early Learning


Portfolio Entry 1: Kellogg Evaluation Plan

Project Overview:

Background:  The W.K. Kellogg Program is designed to expand access to high quality early learning opportunities for infants and toddlers by developing a professional development pathway that will ensure access to required education coursework, in order to obtain the Child Development Associate. The Child Development Associate online courses through Quorum will provide foundational information on the eight Child Development Associate subject areas and serve as one of the prerequisites to obtaining the Infant/Toddler Child Development Associate Credential. Through practice-based coaching, the Child Development Associate online courses, and monthly cohort meetings, the Office of Early Learning is hoping that teachers in the program will have improved understanding of effective teaching practices and obtain new teaching skills.

Goal(s):  To develop an evaluation plan that will assess if teachers in the program compared to those that did not enroll in the program have demonstrated improved teaching practices over the course of one year.

Contributions of Fellow:

  • Developed the evaluation plan
  • Developed the logic model

Activity Focus Keywords: Evaluation, Grant Application Development, Strategic Plan
Policy Area Keywords: Teacher Professional Development

Portfolio Entry 2: Preschool Development Grant

Project Overview:

Background:  The Office of Early Learning was appointed the lead entity that applied for the Preschool Development Grant, Birth through Five opportunity. The proposal was submitted in efforts to help the state further align their early childhood mixed delivery system (which emphasizes parent choice). Through the grant, Delaware seeks to understand the experiences of parents and early childhood professionals navigating the existing birth through five mixed delivery system. Delaware’s grant application was framed around four priorities: 1. Coordinated services across the birth through five delivery system, 2. Birth through five data integration, 3. Tools to foster parent knowledge-building and choice and 4. Professional learning across sectors using a shared whole child development language. The state was awarded $4.2 million dollars to execute their strategic plan.

Goal(s):  To develop an inclusive integrated early childhood mixed delivery system that provides high quality services and supports the growth, development, and learning of all children, birth to age five.

Contributions of Fellow:

  • Developed sections of Activity One, the needs assessment
  • Contributed to Activity Five, improving overall quality
  • Edited and developed research questions
  • Assisted with the development of the logic model

Activity Focus Keywords: Cross-Agency Collaboration, Document Review, Grant Application Development
Policy Area Keywords: Preschool Development Grant B-5

Portfolio Entry 3: Early Learner Survey

Project Overview:

Background: The Delaware Early Learner Survey (DE-ELS) is a customized tool through which kindergarten teachers observe and record children demonstrating skills that lead to success in school and life. DE-ELS was first implemented statewide in Fall 2015. Children received the survey within the first 30 days of kindergarten. DE-ELS is a developmentally appropriate, strengths-based survey administered during typical daily instruction. Kindergarten teachers observed and recorded information on children’s knowledge, skills, and behaviors in six developmental domains: cognitive, language, literacy, mathematics, physical and social- emotional. Children who reached a threshold, or a cut score for widely held expectations of five- year-old children, were considered “accomplished” in the domain indicator. Children who were still developing toward the expectations are considered “emerging” in the domain indicator. The Delaware Department of Education used data from DE-ELS to inform their ongoing efforts to improve educational quality in classrooms, districts and charters and throughout the state.

Goal(s): To examine patterns in students’ DE-ELS accomplished and emerging data in each domain across different student populations and to develop professional development opportunities.

Contributions of Fellow:

  • Collected the data
  • Analyzed the data
  • Developed the policy report
  • Developed dashboards
  • Developed presentations

Activity Focus Keywords: Data Analysis, Data Collection, Disseminate Findings, Presentation, Written Report
Policy Area Keywords: Kindergarten Outcomes, School Readiness, Professional Development