Making Access Happen

The Making Access Happen program at Johns Hopkins University School of Educa-tion, in collaboration with the Maryland State Department of Education, is designed to increase the participation of three- to five-year-old children with disabilities in public and private community-based early learn-ing and development programs through the delivery of job embedded professional development. At the heart of expanding access in the Making Access Happen program is developing practitioners’ skills in universal design for learning (UDL) and collaborative practices to close the achievement gap for ALL children. UDL in this context is the intentional design of early intervention programs that enable all children to access and engage in all learning opportunities based on their individual strengths and abilities.

Thanks to the leadership in the Maryland Department of Edu-cation, Division of Special Education and Early Intervention Services, Maryland jurisdictions will have the opportunity to increase knowledge and develop skills intended to address the state’s goal of narrowing the school readiness gap for young children with disabilities. Read on to learn more about how the Making Access Happen program is being delivered in Maryland jurisdictions and the resources  available to early childhood specialists and other practitioners.

Tiered levels of technical assistance and coaching support will be provided to the selected birth through five staff so that the staff may build capacity within inclusive early childhood environments. This project is being funded through the  Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Intervention/Special Education with Federal Race To The Top (RTTT) grant funding. Dr. Linda Tsantis is the Principal Investigator and Dr. John Castellani, Co-Principal Investigator on this project. Both are Associate Professors in the School of Education. Dr. Beth Boyle is the Project Director.


October 16 2013 – Ocean City Professional Learning Institute Conference Presentation

October 17 2013 – UDL Checklist/Observation form for Early Intervention Classrooms

October 17 2013 – Montgomery County Public Schools UDL walkthroughs (an exemplar for UDL observations in K-12 Public Schools)

Components of the Making Access Happen program

  • The Making Access Happen program will collaborate with all MSDE Educational Jurisdictions to provide customized technical assistance and consultation, support and resources to a cadre of early childhood special education teachers, administrators, parents and service providers who will be prepared to use coaching and mentoring with adults in early childhood environments, in order to promote inclusion for young children with disabilities.
  • The Coaching and Mentoring Project will offer job-embedded, professional development activities, technical assistance, and web-based resources including related links to appropriate education agencies and associations and current research on emerging educational practices. The project will build upon current models, such as the Results Matter model.
  • The project consultants will work with experts in coaching and mentoring strategies to create a high-quality “Just-in-Time, Just Enough, and Just for You” training model customized to meet individual participant’s professional needs.
  • The coaching and mentoring training will be aligned to goals and objectives of each county.

Evaluation Measures

  • Pre-surveys to determine specific needs of group
  • Pre and post-tests of program content on coaching/mentoring strategies and data collection methods
  • Pre and post-tests of attitudes and beliefs toward current practices
  • Fidelity of implementation measures
  • Feedback post-program measures
  • Outcome measures:  Maintenance of coaching practices, measures for confidence and mastery for capacity-building practices
  • Secondary outcomes for children with disabilities served in participating programs

Key Elements of the Coaching and Mentoring Project

  • Develop Trainer of Trainer Groups
  • Collaborative planning, development, and evaluation with participants
  • Provide Online Web-based information, support, and resources
  • Develop County specific Coaching and Mentoring ToolKit for continuous training

Anticipated Coaching and Mentoring Formats

  • Face-to-face and Video on-site observations
  • Face to face and online meetings with individual teachers, administrators, service providers, parents & groups
  • Access to online websites for Coaching and Mentoring resources and activities
  • Planning meetings with administrators, teachers, parents, service providers
  • Evaluation, Needs Assessments for Participants
  • Coaching and Mentoring Retention and Continuous Improvement Strategies