The Nebraska Early Childhood Strategic Plan calls for expanding the state’s capacity to support the coordination and alignment of early childhood programs and services through integrated data systems that track outcomes and support decision-making at the state and community levels. The Preschool Development Grant (PDG)-funded Performance Evaluation is addressing this need through two parallel efforts—evaluating how PDG-funded projects are advancing the goals of the Nebraska Early Childhood Strategic Plan; and collaborating with partners across the state to increase statewide capacity to evaluate early childhood efforts with a system lens, with a focus on equity and family empowerment.
Strategic Plan Performance Activities:
- Monthly progress reports gathered data on project progress, barriers, alignment with Strategic Plan goals, and evaluation activities.
- Produced logic models for each of the Nebraska Early Childhood Strategic Plan Goals: Access, Quality, Collaboration, and Alignment. To ensure aligned work we continue to collaborate with the Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan teams to finalize integrated logic models across projects.
- PDG project and early childhood leader interviews are conducted yearly to examine progress, barriers, and alignment in state early childhood systems; project and early childhood efforts’ alignment to the Strategic Plan; equity; and family empowerment.
Capacity Building Activities:
- Munroe-Meyer Institute partners offered technical assistance to PDG-funded projects to develop logic models and evaluation questions.
- Evaluation Network Team (ENT) convened statewide partners focused on the development of equitable evaluation recommendations and practices.
- Development of Advisory Council to guide the direction of ENT; Advisory Council is focused on increasing representation of diverse voices and innovation in early childhood evaluation.
- Refinement of Equity Action Agendas with plans to fully implement in year three with a pilot project. Equity Action Agendas are tools for evaluators and communities to co-create evaluations that drive equity. The purpose of the Equity Action Agenda is to engage a diverse set of stakeholders who will inform the design of the evaluation so that evaluation findings lead to actionable information to improve program quality and equity simultaneously.
- Development of an online Evaluation Resource Repository is underway; materials will include equitable evaluation materials, course modules, presentations, and articles.
- Photovoice training was provided to PDG stakeholders in year two; this learning uses photography to promote positive social change. It can be used for community engagement, program planning, evaluation, or research. Photovoice is a tool to elevate the voices of those who are often unheard.
- Munroe-Meyer Institute partnership with Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago, Neb., to offer pilot equitable evaluation methods courses to students.
Contact: Kathleen Gallagher