Leadership Academy
Leadership is the KEY to a
Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD)
The need for expanded early intervention services for infants and toddlers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) continues to grow as infants and young children with diverse needs are identified as being eligible for services under Part C and Part B (619). The state administrators of these programs have the complicated task of building, maintaining, and evaluating systems that serve infants and young children with disabilities and their families. COVID-19 has made this task more complicated, stressful, and challenging. Among the most important challenges is the recruitment, retention, and support of the personnel.
The Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC) is funded to provide evidence-based technical assistance to state leaders in Part C and Part B (619), higher education faculty and students, and families to facilitate the implementation of Comprehensive Systems of Personnel Development (CSPD) for all disciplines serving infants and young children with disabilities and their families. A CSPD is a primary mechanism by which a state ensures that infants and young children with disabilities and their families are provided services by knowledgeable, skilled, competent, and highly qualified personnel and that sufficient numbers of these personnel are available in the state to meet service needs. The CSPD is comprised of six interrelated components as identified in the graphic below. Leadership Coordination and Sustainability is at the top and is the lynchpin of all CSPD activities. 
High-quality leadership should be developed and supported at all levels of service systems in early intervention and early childhood special education under IDEA. These service systems are highly complex and are composed of a single entity or multiple entities. EI/ECSE program administrators and practitioners are expected to work collaboratively across systems, disciplines, and program boundaries to support the optimal development of young children who have or are at risk for, developmental delays/disabilities and their families. All must be supported to learn and demonstrate individual and collective leadership skills, as high-quality leadership enhances the ability of an organization, agency, or program to meet its goals (Kagan, 2013).
Leadership is defined as the proactive process of influencing others “to act for certain goals that represent the values and motivations—the wants and needs, aspirations and expectations—of both leaders and followers” (Burns, 1978) (p.19). The goal of EI/ECSE is to assist infants and young children with developmental delays/disabilities and their families to meet developmental and behavioral outcomes that will enhance their quality of life (Bruder, 2010).
ECPC Leadership Academy
The ECPC Leadership Academy is an intensive technical assistance initiative for state IDEA Part C and Part B (619) Coordinators and Administrative Staff. The purpose is to provide training, technical assistance, and follow-up support for participants in their acquisition of knowledge and practice skills to enable them to lead systems of EI/ECSE. The knowledge and skills were developed by state Part C and Part B (619) coordinators over a two-year period and refined after our first cohort of leaders completed the ECPC Leadership Academy
Hear what some of the Cohort #1 Coordinators shared about the benefits of participating in the Leadership Academy: 
"The ECPC leadership cohort has given me the opportunity to develop relationships with colleagues from all over the United States. The discussions we have had and knowing we can reach out to this network to discuss items in the future is invaluable."Kristy (Illinois)
"I have a much higher self-awareness of my current skills and abilities and how these make me a better leader, how to utilize my team, and how to seek help in the areas where I need more support." Jenn (Rhode Island)
"Getting to meet and work with some amazing Part C and 619 coordinators and incredibly knowledgeable presenters helped me to frame a detailed plan that is going to positively affect my team and school program leaders." Suzy (Arizona)
"The Leadership Academy has been invaluable to implement a Connecticut-based Leadership Academy and has helped me personally and the State of Connecticut’s Part C and Part B systems." Nicole (Connecticut)
"As a Coordinator or leader, my #1 benefit from participation was the number of resources and tools I was able to take away and use in my daily work! This process has helped me grow as a leader and support my team more effectively." Alicia (Arizona)
"Besides all of the wonderful resources and knowledge provided to me through ECPC Leadership Academy, making connections with other Part C and 619 coordinators, who do the same day-to-day type of work as myself, was the #1 benefit to me!" Julie (Kansas)
Leadership Academy Action Plan & Capstone Project
The outcome of the academy is an action plan and capstone project demonstrating a system change effort addressing workforce in their state. Below are a few examples of the projects:
  • Development of a professional development plan for early childhood special education and early intervention leaders aligned with the State’s Comprehensive System of Personnel Development Plan. 
  • Development of a Part C multi-tiered state leadership program for Part C personnel and families, utilizing national research, stakeholder input, and current in-state resources and opportunities.
  • Development of a state leadership academy modeled after the Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC) Leadership Academy and ECPC’s Knowledge and Skill Statements to develop leaders and succession plans.
  • Development of a professional development program to increase the leadership knowledge and skills of the State Department of Education’s Part B Section 619 special education specialists to support and provide quality technical assistance to their local preschool program personnel.
  • Development and implementation of a system to understand and use statewide indicator B6 data to influence preschool inclusion initiatives.
Each coordinator developed a comprehensive action plan addressing a systemic issue confronting them in their role as an IDEA Part C or a Part B (619) Coordinator. The capstone projects are designed to encourage coordinators to
  • think critically,
  • solve challenging systemic issues in their work and
  • demonstrate their new knowledge and skills obtained during the year enrolled in the ECPC Leadership Academy. 
Participants shared the following about their projects:
“Creating an action plan during the leadership academy helped me to prioritize, sequence, and take a more focused approach to my work. The process of creating the leadership plan was an opportunity to see similarities in efforts and intentionally build on what is currently in place and envision and work towards a sustainable system.” Sue (Minnesota)
“The action plan process has benefited me as a 619 coordinator by providing a framework to achieve one particular goal and help keep me accountable to that goal. Feedback from experts in creating action plans has helped me to think critically about my goal and the steps needed to get there.” Kristy (Illinois)
“Leadership Skills: Pass Them On! The skills I learned are only beneficial if others also have them, so I decided to make it my focus for the next couple of years. I’ve been highlighting the skills, the techniques, the tools, and supporting staff to coach and facilitate conversations with the programs in most need.” Suzie (Arizona)
“Developing the action plan during this leadership academy taught me to think about, and work through, all the components necessary to ensure success. This activity not only gave me an opportunity to create a plan for something that has been on my "to do" list but has taught me how to approach large projects in the future.” Jenn (Rhode Island)
“The action plan has benefited me as the Assistant Part C Coordinator to operationalize the project I would be implementing.  Additionally, the action plan provided a way to be supported by experts and my peers, gaining valuable insight and feedback into the plan.” Nicole (Connecticut)
As a result of learning the Action Planning Process, I have been able to use the method in developing action plans for my internal team, measure progress toward goals and identify additional gaps in our system. This process has supported our Part C program to make progress in the quality of our work and enabled us to report within our Department and to key stakeholders. Alicia (Arizona)
The process of writing and refining the action plan helped me, document my day-to-day work and also look at my work on a deeper level. It helped me think of the work in a sustainable way while pushing me to keep the goals at the forefront while looking at them from different perspectives. Julie (Kansas)
Join the ECPC Leadership Academy
ECPC is excited to open the application process for the ECPC Leadership Academy Cohort #2.

ECPC will host an informational session on Friday, October 29, 2021, at 3:00 pm ET for any Part C or Part B (619) Coordinators or administrative staff interested in learning more about the Leadership Cohort. Zoom Registration Link (once you register, you will receive the zoom link).

Time commitment:
  • Approximately 25 hours per quarter
  • Additional limited independent study time required

  • Attend all sessions (both virtually & in-person)
  • Develop a systems change capstone project to address one component of a comprehensive system

IDEA Part C and Part B (619) Coordinators and other lead agency administrative staff are invited to apply. 

2 cohort options are available:
  • Foundational (for newer state administrative staff or staff interested in developing leadership skills)
  • Strategic (for experienced state administrative staff, with more than 5 years in current role)

The deadline for applications is Friday, December 2, 2021.
Applicants will be notified about acceptance by mid-December.

Cohort #2 will begin in January 2022 and will run for 10 months.

ECPC Leadership Tiers; each tier includes knowledge and skill competencies you will achieve by participating in the Leadership Academy.