Implementing, Sustaining and Scaling-Up High-Quality Inclusion

llinois is one of two states selected to take part in the Implementing, Sustaining, and Scaling-Up High Quality Inclusion initiative, which began in 2020. The initiative is co-led by the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center and the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) and includes partners from across the early care and education system. The ISBE and Early CHOICES lead the work in Illinois.

This initiative focuses on the National Early Childhood Inclusion Indicators  with Illinois as a field-test site receiving technical assistance from the ECTA Center and NCPMI.  This work builds on the Illinois Inclusion Vision Statement and the Inclusion in Illinois Birth to 5 Across Systems Strategic Plan.

This document summarizes the process, identifies the sites, and shows how the indicators are used.

The work uses the  Statewide Implementation Guide which is a process for implementing evidence-based practices statewide. The guide includes tools, materials, and examples derived from the Pyramid Model and ECTA’s DEC Recommended Practices implementation technical assistance.

Community Inclusion Teams are a unique strategy to support this effort.  A Community Inclusion Teams Report summarizes the efforts and results of the work through December 2021.  The short infographics highlight key components.

Advancing Preschool Inclusion in Community-Based Early Childhood Education Programs 

This report was commissioned by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and supported by the Center for Early Learning Funding Equity and Start Early. The report builds upon prior work in Illinois focused on promoting inclusion and the project included research to develop recommendations for potential service and funding models to advance quality inclusive special education and related services to preschoolers (3-5 years old) with disabilities enrolled in community-based early childhood education programs.

The recommendations in this report take a systems approach that recognizes the fact that providing early childhood special education (ECSE) and related services on the child’s IEP in community-based early childhood education settings will require changes across a number of systems to ensure services are effective and high quality.

Preschool Development Planning Grant 2023

Children with disabilities are a priority population that face some of the greatest disparities in early care and education access and outcomes of all young children. Needs assessments have noted parent and community feedback indicating a general lack of access to services and difficulty navigating special education services; specifically, assessment and enrollment.

The Preschool Development Planning Grant builds on the B-5 Strategic Plan and the recommendations to improve early childhood special education (ECSE) services by understanding the true cost to deliver the services preschool aged children and their families need and deserve.

Community Inclusion Teams in three communities will be formed to serve as planning pilots for building effective inclusion model in community-based early childhood education settings and provide a model for others in the state. A Community Inclusion Team (CIT) is a team comprised of school district administrators, community implementation program administrators, implementation program staff, family members, and others as appropriate. The CIT implements action plans based on both the Community Indicators of High-Quality Inclusion and Local Program Indicators of High-Quality Inclusion that guide and support the availability of high-quality inclusive early care and education environments throughout the community.


Early CHOICES along with Start Early hosted a launch event on April 28, 2023. Thank you to everyone who supported this event!

If you missed it, we recorded the launch event!  Pass code: 5A9.T1=+

Do you want to start a community conversation about implementing an itinerant model in your community?  We have this toolkit for you.

Early CHOICES hosted an informational webinar about the opportunity to apply for technical assistance and stipend to support three Community Inclusion Teams to plan for supporting preschoolers in community-based organizations. You can watch the recording here.  Passcode: *+wv!7ua

The handout is here.

A Frequently Asked Questions document was created to support those interested.

Ready to apply to the technical assistance and stipend to support your Community Inclusion Team? The application is due June 2, 2023. The rubric for the application is here

Submit applications directly to Ann Kremer at