SPECS Publishes the Official Research Report Detailing the 3-Year Results of Pre-K Counts in Pennsylvania. 

The report entitled “Pre-K Counts in Pennsylvania for Youngster’s Early School Success” documents the very positive developmental and early learning outcomes for over 10,000 at-risk children in 21 school-community partnerships across Pennsylvania. Pre-K Counts partnerships involved 500 classrooms and teachers. The overall results demonstrated that high-quality classrooms and effective instructional and management practices by teachers enabled children to succeed .through preschool and the transition to kindergarten. 

View the full report and the executive summary of the SPECS for Pre-K Counts research report on the attachments. In addition, review media reports and editorials on Pre-K Counts and the SPECS research. Finally, note the Pittsburgh region forerunner of Pre-K Counts in Pennsylvania, The Early Childhood Initiative (ECI).

The SPECS Research (1997-2009) has been generously funded and supported by the Heinz Endowments ( (contact Marge Petruska, Heinz Endowments for more information on the foundation’s enduring missions and advocacy for high-quality early care and education and systems reform efforts in Pennsylvania).

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ECP Awarded 3-Year Federal Funding to Research the Impact of Mentoring on the Effectiveness of Head Start Teacher's Practices and Children's Learning

Dr. Bagnato is a recent recipient of a 4-year research grant ($700,000) from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE). The grant entitled COMET: Center on Mentoring for Effective Teaching is designed to conduct community-based research on an innovative model of individual mentoring to enhance the instructional and management behaviors and overall professional development of Head Start teachers and assistants using an experimental-control group design. The COMET model and research focuses upon Head Start programs in the underserved and underresourced areas of our Appalachian region in Beaver County, Westmoreland County, and the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. In addition, Dr. Bagnato recently received a 2-year supplementary grant from the Heinz Endowments ($100,000) to develop and disseminate the COMET mentoring materials in both hard copy and on-line.

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Dr. Bagnato and his team have published new editions of his widely regarded and used textbooks and resource books in early childhood intervention:
  • Bagnato, SJ, (2007). Authentic assessment for early childhood intervention: Best Practices (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Bagnato, SJ, Neisworth, JT, & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2010). LINKing authentic assessment and early childhood intervention: Best measures for best practices (4th Edition). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing.

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SPECS for Include Me from the Start (IMFS)--Inclusion Support for Children with Severe Disabilities

ECP in collaboration with the Office of Child Development of the University of Pittsburgh announces the awarding of 2-year program evaluation research grant (2010-2012) from The Arc of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to study the impact and outcomes of an intensive, on-site mentoring and consultation model to enhance the competencies of kindergarten and first grade teachers to make accommodations and to increase their instructional and management expertise to include children with significant disabilities into their general education classrooms.  SPECS will analyze the impact and outcomes of the The Arc Include Me from the Start mentoring model on teachers, parents, children, and school district administrative support in 60 districts across Pennsylvania for 300 children and families.  The grant and the model are outgrowths of the Gaskin settlement which advocates for the preparation of school districts to better accommodate the needs of children with significant disabilities in regular classrooms.  The SPECS evaluation research is intended to provide evidence-based information to inform future policy and professional practices about inclusion supports.

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