Funding for the Illinois Birth-to-Third Grade (B-3) Continuity Project ends in December 2019. Funding began in 2015, as the federal Preschool Development Grant–Expansion (PDG-E) funding allowed the state to partner with the Center for the Study of Education Policy (CSEP) at Illinois State University to establish and implement a comprehensive system of supports for birth-to-third grade alignment and the creation of the project.
The B-3 Continuity Project was launched with seven communities that received broad supports from Illinois State. In the subsequent years, the project grew to provide access to varying levels of support through annual conferences, webinars, and technical assistance to over 70 communities throughout Illinois. The end of the PDG-E funding brings an end to B-3 Continuity Project.
The mission of the B-3 state support was to strengthen Preschool Expansion communities’ ability to develop high quality, intentionally aligned education systems from birth-to-third grade. This aligns with the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) belief that high-quality, aligned systems are essential for the success of the State’s highest-need children and their commitment to ensure a high-quality, comprehensive system of teaching, learning, and support for children.
While the project is ending, ISBE, and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development remain committed on working to align and transform state and local systems to assure collective impact across service sectors. This is seen through integration of B-3 strategies into continued PDG funding opportunities, a commitment from ISBE to promote and integrate B-3 activities into programs, and staff devoted to supporting these efforts.
The Center for the Study of Education Policy (CSEP) has appreciated the opportunity to support communities and school districts throughout the state of Illinois during the project. Findings from the project and successful practices taking place in communities can be found in the 2019 Birth-to-Third Grade Continuity Project: Looking Back Moving Forward report. Throughout the project, many materials and resources were curated and developed. These materials and content from previous trainings and conference will remain on the CSEP’s B-3 website. Additional information can also be found on ISBE’s Early Childhood page.
As ISBE continues to fund the Preschool Expansion model through state Preschool for All Expansion funding, CSEP is excited for B-3 alignment to continue to grow and impact more communities. We hope that materials curated through the project will continue to be used for years to come. Final recommendations and project accomplishments can be found in the Maintaining the Momentum document.
Make sure you stay connected with us through the Center for the Study of Education Policy’s The Exchange newsletter for updates about both future B-3 work and other education related news.