State Highlights 02/01/10 to 09/30/10

Wyoming is the ninth largest state in the country, with the lowest population and fewer than five people per square mile. There is, however, a small and very dedicated group of people who have carried forward the SpecialQuest Birth– Five vision, and are supporting professional development on inclusion.


The Wyoming vision is to build inclusive communities that open the doors for all children and their families to all aspects of the community and lifelong learning.


From the beginning, the Wyoming State Leadership Team saw the need to coordinate with other early childhood initiatives and activities in the state, and to target their SpecialQuest action planning at the community level. Wyoming was in the planning phase of the Wyoming Early Childhood Partnership, modeled after Smart Start in North Carolina. The Wyoming child care system was enhancing their training capacity with support from the National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC), and the Child Care Administrator was chairing the Early Childhood workgroup under the Wyoming Partnership initiative. Several State Leadership Team members served on the Wyoming Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention (0–5), and others shared key positions supporting early childhood services through the University of Wyoming, Head Start, special education, and family support agencies.


Two of the seven SpecialQuest graduate programs in the state of Wyoming, Shoshone/Arapahoe Head Start, and Wyoming Child and Family Development, Inc., were selected to serve on the State Leadership Team and received quarterly on-site visits and support from SpecialQuest and the State Leadership Team. During the second year of the SpecialQuest grant, these two Community Teams were allocated funds from the State Leadership Team subaward to support implementation of their action plans as pilot communities. These Community Teams successfully embedded the SpecialQuest approach and materials in their work.


From the beginning, the State Leadership Team included other communities to support their work on inclusion, including Laramie County Head Start in Cheyenne, and Sweetwater County School District in Rock Springs. In addition, the Wyoming SpecialQuest Ambassador from early intervention—who also served on the State Leadership Team— facilitated the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices (CPIP) process with the Early Learning Center community in Jackson. Together, these three communities participated in the CPIP process over three years and developed annual action plans to address areas for change and improvement.


The Shoshone/Arapahoe Head Start Community Team implemented several action plans after completing three years of the CPIP and two SpecialQuest Intensive training opportunities. They have enjoyed many accomplishments, particularly in the development of leadership skills, collaboration, and professional development using the SpecialQuest approach and materials. Their action plans resulted in the community participating in a variety of training events, which include:



Shoshone/Arapahoe Head Start is one of three communities that received the Wyoming Partnership Regional Planning Grant. They completed a community needs assessment under this initiative that identified many unmet needs of children with disabilities and their families. SpecialQuest parent and community training and collaboration have helped to fill those needs. They are also working with State Leadership Team members to help staff attain Associate degrees at the community college.


The Wyoming Child and Family Development, Inc., Community Team developed and implemented several action plans as part of the CPIP process and have been successful in embedding the SpecialQuest approach and materials in their ongoing Child Development Associate (CDA) and Mental Health trainings. The SpecialQuest Coach helped them develop a crosswalk of how specific materials—including the new Preschool Inclusion Series—could be inserted in existing CDA and Mental Health coursework to strengthen the learning outcomes for participants. The Wyoming Child and Family Development Inc., Community Team was successful in implementing these changes. They regularly shared their experiences with State Leadership Team members, who are now spreading this into other communities. Other successes include:



Laramie County Head Start team members in Cheyenne have been very successful in implementing the SpecialQuest approach and materials in their ongoing staff development and community collaboration. They hosted several of the State Leadership Team meetings and are active in sharing lessons learned. The Wyoming SpecialQuest Ambassador also facilitated the CPIP process with the Laramie County community and is involved in making linkages with other communities and colleges regarding SpecialQuest.


The Wyoming State Leadership Team has been supportive of community efforts to embed SpecialQuest in their professional development on inclusion. They developed a brochure and SpecialQuest training materials for team members. They presented SpecialQuest sessions at regional and state conferences, paired up as cross-system training teams, and looked at how to broaden the diversity of roles in their audiences at conferences. They shared Christopher’s Story at the Region VIII Head Start conference in 2008. Other SpecialQuest sessions were included in the annual Stand and Celebrate child care conferences in 2009 and 2010. Last year, SpecialQuest State Leadership Team members provided training at the event where over 800 participants attended Stand and Celebrate, and more are expected to attend this year.


A major accomplishment of the State Leadership Team was the three-day Wyoming SpecialQuest Intensive that supported plans to sustain their work. State Leadership Team members were responsible for the registration, logistics, and funding of participant travel and lodging. Participants were targeted individuals across systems and families from communities across the state. Seven community-level action plans and one state-level plan were written. All plans were shared with the State Leadership Team and as a result, the team developed strategies for providing individual follow-up and support to participants around their goals and activities.


The State Leadership Team has recently broadened membership to include more individuals who can promote ongoing training using the SpecialQuest approach and materials. New members represent families, child care, and adults with disabilities contributing meaningful, fresh perspectives. They have begun a series of trainings with the State Interagency Training Library Quick Start Guide. The State Leadership Team has also begun implementation of their sustainability planin three areas:



State Highlights 04/01/09 to 01/31/10

The Wyoming State Leadership Team currently has 18 members. The Wyoming team is focused on the following major areas:


Recent highlights of the Wyoming State Leadership Team:


The SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities in Wyoming are Shoshone and Arapaho Early Head Start/Head Start Program in Richmond, and Wyoming and Family Child Development, Inc. in Guernsey. The communities receive quarterly site visits from the SpecialQuest Coaches.


Recent highlights of Shoshone and Arapaho Early Head Start/Head Start Program:


Recent highlights of Wyoming and Family Child Development, Inc.:



State Summary 10/01/08 to 03/31/09

The Wyoming State Leadership Team has had a few changes in team membership and is exploring additional representation. The team continues to benefit from the support and guidance of the Liaison in planning and implementing state and community activities, in collaboration with the SpecialQuest Coordinator and Coaches. There have been some challenges in getting everyone together and scheduling meetings. No SpecialQuest State Leadership Team meeting was held in the Winter 2008 quarter. While team members see each other in other state planning meetings, they have not met as SpecialQuest workgroups in between quarterly meetings.


The Co-Liaison and SpecialQuest Ambassador have continued to support the planning, problem solving, and implementation of SpecialQuest activities with the Liaison. The Liaisons participated in a national presentation on SpecialQuest with two other SpecialQuest State Leadership Teams at the National Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) meeting for the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) in November 2008. The State Liaison is also a member of the SpecialQuest Birth–Five Advisory Committee and attended the March 2009 meeting. In addition, the Wyoming SpecialQuest Ambassador has actively reached out to all of the SpecialQuest Graduate Team Communities and is supporting implementation of state- and community-level action plans.


State-Level Action Plans

  1. Public Awareness (updated November 2008).
  2. Professional Development (updated November 2008).
  3. Support for the two Graduate Team Community pilots (developed November 2008).


Wind River (Shoshone/Arapahoe) Community Action Plans

  1. Awareness by embedding the SpecialQuest approach and materials in staff training and parent meetings (updated February 2009).
  2. Training plan to strengthen relationships with Early Head Start/Head Start and community partners to identify strategies to support families to help meet their needs.


Wyoming Child and Family, Inc. Community Action Plans

  1. To embed the SpecialQuest approach and materials in Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) training (November 2008)
  2. To embed the SpecialQuest approach and materials in Mental Health training (November 2008)


The Wyoming State Leadership Team met for the fall on-site meeting in November 2008. Representatives from the new Smart Start Initiative, entitled Wyoming Partnerships, were invited to participate in the meeting. Representatives shared information on the new planning initiative and there was some discussion of where the SpecialQuest work on inclusion might intersect. Wyoming Partnerships were also present at the Region VIII Head Start conference in October 2008, where State Leadership Team members presented on SpecialQuest Birth–Five work in Wyoming, and the Wyoming Partnership shared information on their work.


Prior to the November meeting, State Leadership Team members reviewed sections of the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library, and then shared back how each could bring the SpecialQuest approach and materials from the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library into their work. State-level action plans were reviewed and updated with suggestions made for expanding state-level team membership and outreach regarding inclusion. One of the exciting opportunities to introduce the SpecialQuest materials was in Regional Trainings across the state, with child care providers. Eight of 11 regional trainings have been completed, for 127 participants to date, introducing inclusion and family support, for families from diverse cultural backgrounds. The childcare providers were introduced to the session on "Listening to Families," which includes "Family Voices" and "Aracelly and Elizabeth" videos at the Regional Trainings.


From the community level perspectives, Wind River and Wyoming Child and Family, Inc. Graduate Team Community members shared the results of their Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices (CPIP) processes and distributed copies of the action plans they each developed. The State Leadership Team agreed to support the implementation of these action plans as pilots, with the hope that these activities could later be shared and replicated in other Wyoming communities. An additional state-level action plan was developed to support the specific pilot activities for both of these communities. 25 percent of the subaward money has been allocated to each of the two Graduate Team Communities to implement their plans; with SpecialQuest consultant resources allocated to support the Wind River training plans.


In February 2009, the Wind River community, with support from the SpecialQuest Coach, Coordinator, and Liaison, developed a more detailed plan for implementing SpecialQuest training across the reservation, within the three smaller tribal communities of Shoshone, Arapahoe and Ethete. Further planning will take place over the next few months to refine plans for the trainings to be held in August/September 2009.


The Wyoming Child and Family, Inc. Graduate Team Community members, with support from the SpecialQuest Coach, have explored ways to embed the SpecialQuest materials and approach in their community CDA and Mental Health trainings. They have accessed subaward monies for stipends to support participation of Early Head Start/Head Start staff and childcare providers beyond their typical work hours.



State Summary 04/01/08 to 9/30/08

The State Leadership Team in Wyoming currently has 19 members. Five team members are also family members of persons with disabilities. Three team members are SpecialQuest graduates and five Early Head Start/Head Start programs have representation on the team. Membership on the State Leadership Team is composed of key players who are committed to the SpecialQuest Birth–Five activities. There are a small number of people doing this work in the state, so the relationships among the members and their commitment to the entire process are key. Two quarterly meetings of the full State Leadership Team took place in April and June.


In June of 2008, one action plan, developed at the National Leadership SpecialQuest focusing on Guiding Principles, was replaced with a plan on Public Awareness, since the original focus did not adequately represent the team’s intent. A second plan on Professional Development was also developed in June 2008. Professional development activities include learning more about the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library and resources; reviewing and revising the STARS Core Knowledge competencies; and piloting the cross-agency professional development work, using the SpecialQuest approach, materials, and resources, with the two targeted graduate communities on the State Leadership Team. The team has begun implementation of their action plan steps.


Team members who bring the family perspective have played a valuable role in state meetings and at the National Leadership SpecialQuest in May 2008 in Dallas, Texas. During meetings, family members on the team who have children or siblings with disabilities shared their personal stories that contributed positively to the motivation and inspiration about inclusion for this team.


The two SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Communities are Shoshone/Arapaho Early Head Start/Head Start in Fort Washakie, and Wyoming Child and Family Development, Inc., in Casper. These two communities are working to expand the SpecialQuest approach birth-five and complete the Community Perceptions of Inclusive Practices annually. The communities receive quarterly site visits from the SpecialQuest Coaches and are represented on the State Leadership Team.



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