• The Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013 provides funding to local communities to establish, expand, and support successful early childhood education and development services. In 2013, the legislature appropriated $3 million for the Early Learning Collaborative Act, making it the first-ever state-funded pre-K program in Mississippi. This pre-K law was based on the work of Mississippi First, outlined in a publication entitled, Leaving Last in Line.
    The MS Early Learning Collaborate Act of 2013 was presented by Senator Brice Wiggins during the 2013 Legislative session. This bill, along with a similar House version, introduced by Representative Toby Barker, established a "collaborative delivery model" for a state-funded pre-K program. Although there had previously been numerous attempts to pass pre-K legislation over the years, the 2013 effort received a major boost through bipartisan legislative support, along with endorsements from the Speaker, Lt. Governor, and Governor. The bill passed, and initial  implementation included funding for 11 collaboratives across the state of Mississippi. The Petal Early Learning Collaborative was one of the initial 11 collaboratives funded. In 2016, the legislature approved $4 million for the Early Learning Collaboratives. Funding for the Petal Early Learning Collaborative was extended for another three year grant period.
    The Petal Early Learning Collaborative includes a partnership between the Petal School District, Pearl River Valley Opportunity, and Petal Excel by Five. All classes serve eligible four-year-old children who reside in the Petal School District. Three classes (20 students in each class) are housed at C.H. Johnson Head Start at the Petal School District Center for Families and Children, and one class (20 students) is housed at Petal Primary School.
    The Petal Early Learning Collaborative uses a combination of Frog Street and Creative Curriculum resources to guide the delivery of instruction. All classrooms work to ensure students' mastery of the Mississippi Early Learning Standards. Multiple measures are utilized to monitor individual student performance in growth and proficiency. For example, the STAR Early Literacy assessment is administered in the fall and spring of each year, measuring student's proficiency, related to early literacy and numeracy skills, in the fall and again in the spring. This assessment also reflects the degree of growth for each student in both early literacy and numeracy skills. 
    Because young children arrive at school with a wide range of development in all areas: language, numeracy, motor, social/emotional, etc., an additional assessment is used to provide a more comprehensive overview of each child's overall development. The Learning Accomplishment Profile is used to observe student's growth in numerous areas of development, such as: growth and fine motor skills, pre-writing, cognitive, language, self-help, and personal/social. 
    Finally, because research shows that effective teacher-child interactions improve learning outcomes, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System is used to observe teacher and student interactions within each of the collaborative classes. 
    A combination of performance on each of the assessment tools is used to determine the overall success of each of the collaboratives throughout Mississippi.
Last Modified on December 29, 2016