Northeastern California County Offices of Education: Region 2

The Rural California Early Childhood Education Professional Development Program (CAL-NET) is a research-based, model program that provides sustained, intensive professional development to over 500 early childhood educators serving in 250 early childhood programs located in nine rural California counties. CAL-NET is to assist early childhood educators in the development of important competencies related to school readiness. The project builds upon the best available research of early childhood pedagogy and child development including age-appropriate development of oral language skills, phonological awareness, print awareness, alphabet knowledge, and numeracy skills.

CAL-NET's participating early childhood educators are from preschools that serve only low-income children, many of whom are limited English proficient and/or have an identifiable disability.

CAL-NET has the following components:

  1. Four accredited online courses focusing on early childhood education pedagogy, curriculum development, early reading, and numeracy.
  2. Ongoing intensive monitoring systems including peer-coaching and classroom practicum.
  3. A comprehensive electronic teacher portfolio system, "ClipBoard".
  4. An innovative, online child profile system, "Schoolgate" with multiple measures linked to California's preschool and school-age standards and a summer transition program.
  5. A comprehensive intensive early reading program, linked to California's preschool content standards, that integrates innovative curricula and scientifically-based strategies to address: a)oral language skills, b) phonological awareness, c)print awareness, d) emergent writing skills, e) motivation to learn, and f) appreciation for literate forms.
  6. A homebase early reading program, Libros Y Más (Books and More) that assists early childhood educators in extending literacy learning into the homes of their preschool children.

Participating teachers will make measurable changes in their attitudes, knowledge and behaviors related to promoting early reading and numeracy skills. Participation in CAL-NET will lead to significant positive changes in preschool-age children including mastery of state preschool standards and pre-reading/numeracy skills. Long-term outcomes include children that are proficient readers and who excel academically. Rigorous process and experimental evaluations provide information to assist in the project's continuous improvement as well as compelling evidence of the project’s impact.