Request for Proposals: Early Child Care Education Pathways project

Request for Proposals for a leadership series to foster professional development & continuing education for early childhood care and education professionals


The Early Childhood Care and Education Career Pathways project (ECCE CP) addresses the need to make training and credentialing more accessible and affordable for new and incumbent early educators to ensure quality care for all Rhode Island children. The project intent is to work with institutions of higher education (IHEs) and ECCE training providers to develop innovative solutions that enable new ways of approaching education for working adults, aligned to the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, BrightStars.

To support credential and career advancement of early educators, the ECCE CP is seeking proposals to develop courses for current or prospective early education program leaders to support the development of leadership and business skills. These course offerings should be flexible in nature to support the incumbent workforce – including in course delivery and the ability for these courses to be credit-bearing in degree programs and stackable.

A key component of BrightStars is the qualifications of programmatic leadership within an early childhood care and education setting (Standard Five). To achieve a four-star rating, program leadership (administrators or education coordinators) must have a bachelor’s degree or higher and at least six college credits in ECE or a related field. However, many current or prospective ECE program leaders may not be able to access ECE-related coursework that is credit-bearing, is relevant to their roles, and is structured to meet the needs of working adults. Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (OPC) is offering grants to RI higher education institutions to create credit-bearing coursework for current or prospective ECE program leaders. Key areas for the leadership classes could include, but are not limited to, early childhood program-specific courses on: attracting and retaining talent; reflective supervision, coaching and mentoring techniques; fostering professional development and continuous learning; best practices for operating ECE organizations; budgeting and financing; and more.

Individual grants are available to pay for cross-department faculty teams to develop curricula and gain approvals from the institution to establish these opportunities. The amount awarded will align with the scope and quality of the proposed work. The grant will fund only the course development portion of the work and each institution will need to develop a sustainability plan that details when courses would begin and how they would be continued. Applications that propose to modify existing courses at IHEs to become ECE-specific are eligible. More than one grant may be awarded.

Scope of Work

Required criteria: Applicants must propose to develop credit-bearing coursework that meets the following criteria:

  • Accessible to working adults, such as offering online, asynchronous coursework
  • Award college credit for successful completion of the course
  • Ensure the credits awarded can be applied to the program leadership ECE credit requirements in Standard Five of BrightStars (i.e., will count as an ECE course)
  • Demonstrate alignment with existing and new RI ECCE career pathways to ensure that credits are stackable and support advancement toward a degree or credential
  • Meet the needs of current or future program leaders by focusing on topics relevant to their position, such as coursework related to business practices, budgeting, and staff development and training.

Optional Criteria, in addition to the above proposals may:

  • Make courses available as professional development only, with options for ECCE program leaders to audit
  • Collaborate with other ECCE entities beyond the Center for Early Learning Professionals

Approach: Applicants can propose to develop coursework through any of the following

  • Develop new coursework and gain approval for courses to be credit-bearing
  • Modify existing courses to meet the specific needs of ECCE program leaders
  • Partner with the Center for Early Learning professionals to identify existing professional
    development opportunities that could be eligible for credit for prior learning
  • Partner with the Center for Early Learning professionals to develop alternative delivery
    to enhance the offerings for the incumbent workforce
  • Alternative approaches may be proposed with additional justification for why one of the other approaches was not preferable


  • The creation of at least one new credit-bearing course option that meets all required criteria
  • Criteria for admittance to enroll in the course – with particular focus on equitable access
  • Institutional approvals
  • Implementation calendar and a brief recruitment plan
  • Monthly reports and a final slide deck introducing the curricula

In the application, applicants should specify:

  • The topics and relevance of the proposed coursework to ECCE program leaders
  • How the proposed coursework meets the required criteria
  • What approach will be used to develop the coursework
  • The number of potential college credits that students would receive for successfully
    completing the course
  • How all deliverables will be met within the time limit of the project

Funds may be used to: Convene collaborating faculty, conduct instructional research, develop course modules, identify community partners, gather, and incorporate stakeholder input, and submit curricula for approval.

Review Criteria

  • Identified appropriate target for project: Demonstrate clear understanding of the needs of the early child care workforce staff development and plan to focus on a meaningful project that will engage early educators along a degree or certificate program (15 points)
  • Appropriate and achievable scope: Propose a scope that is comprehensive to achieve the deliverables and address the requirements. Include specifics regarding how many course opportunities will be targeted for this project. (15 points)
  • Equity and access: Demonstrate how the project will address issues of equity and access, including but not limited to ease of use for the entire early child care workforce (including those who primarily speak a language other than English). (15 points)
  • Implementation of course planning: Demonstrate a clear plan of implementation the proposal to plan for coursework that will ensure successful collaboration of the team, the roles and responsibilities, the risks/considerations, and proposed timeline for the planning project. Include the membership of the team and their expertise in ECCE, higher education, and accessible coursework for working adults. In addition, this section should include a description of the level of the authority the team will have to move the project through institutional review and anticipated barriers to review. (15 points)
  • Sustainability plan: Demonstrate a plan for sustainability, such as a mechanism for recruitment, program evaluation or continuous improvement plan (20 points)
  • Budget proposal: Clear budget proposal that is appropriate for the scope of the project with specific costs defined. (20 points)


April 6, 2023, call for proposals
April 7-21, 2023, intent to apply and information meetings for applicant teams
May 8, 2023, applications due
May 19-31, 2023, decisions and agreements
June to September, course work is developed
Final invoice due September 15, 2023

Contact: Christine Grele: christine.grele@riopc.edu

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