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Early Learning Challenge

In December 2011, Rhode Island was one of nine states awarded grants from the $500 million Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge fund, a competitive grant program jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Rhode Island was awarded $50 million over four years to improve early learning and development opportunities for Rhode Island's young children.

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) was the lead agency for this initiative. The partnership includes the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), the HEALTH Department, and the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). The Rhode Island Early Learning Council provides ongoing leadership for Rhode Island's Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge effort.

As part of the grant implementation process, seven Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge projects were created, each focusing on distinct areas highlighted in Rhode Island’s grant application. The projects – Early Learning Workforce Development, Program Quality Improvement, Program Quality Standards Alignment and Measurement, Early Learning Standards and Development, Child Assessment, Early Learning Data System, and Grant Management – were each led by designated state department staff and are supported by a corresponding RI Early Learning Council subcommittee.