The Early Childhood Higher-education Options (ECHO) Consortium is composed of early childhood faculty from colleges and universities across Kansas who are committed to collaboratively support and enhance the development and delivery of teacher training programs to meet the standards for the Kansas early childhood unified license. To meet these ends the consortium has achieved a number of noteworthy accomplishments including: development of a mission statement with guiding principles, redesign of the early childhood curriculum at a number of Kansas teacher training programs, development of multiple matrices comparing early childhood courses with teacher standards, program approval by KDHE of five early childhood teacher training programs, comparing course work across teacher training programs, and identifying and developing 10 courses to be delivered via e-learning opportunities.
These achievements were realized through systemic change created at three levels: a) at the course level through the unification of regular and special education content into new courses, b) at the college/university level through curriculum redesign that will prepare students to meet the new teaching standards and support collaboration between early childhood teacher trainers and early elementary education teacher trainers, and c) at the state level through the development of courses designed to be delivered through a distance education consortium to allow students to access courses at any and all participating colleges or universities.
The proposed project will continue the work of the ECHO Consortium. Specifically, the consortium will continue the development and refinement of course work, continue to take steps in the replication of Great Plains Dean’s Council Model for inter-university course work, and develop a framework for a sustainable infrastructure for inter-university course sharing.