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Advancing Early Childhood Policy and Programs through Strategic Use of Integrated Data
August 2016—May 2021

About ECDataWorks

ECDataWorks is an innovative initiative designed to provide selected states with technical, financial and infrastructure support to conceptualize and develop new tools and strategies to advance their existing early childhood integrated data systems (ECIDS).

This three year project is led by Principal Investigator and CPRE Senior Researcher Phillip Sirinides and Co-PI Missy Coffey. Project team members are Ruth Lett, Kate Grannemann, and Ross Gilliland. ECDataWorks collaborates with states to help attain their early childhood education goals through the innovative use of integrated data. To this end, the ECDataWorks team uses the following strategies: provides comprehensive assistance to states to identify unmet analytic data needs; examines why gaps in early childhood data use exist, what the major elements of the gaps are, and what specific strategies might help close the gaps in a practical manner; creates innovative tools to support advanced analytics; empirically identifies characteristics of effective and sustainable data use; and recommends strategies for building organizational analytic capacity.

Project Activities

The ECDataWorks team works collaboratively with states to create tools to facilitate the organization, delivery, and use of existing early childhood (EC) data. States are selected through a competitive application process. Rather than a singular approach to the design, development, and implementation of new tools and features, a highly customized plan is established with each state. The ECDataWorks strategy to support the states includes rigorous inquiry into the state’s technical and organizational capacities for analytics. The implementation experiences of participating states provide lessons for the field that are shared through policy briefs and professional meetings. The ECDataWorks team is pleased to highlight the ongoing work with state collaborators. To read more about ECDataWorks and learn which states are currently collaborating, please visit:


ECDataWorks Community blog & podcast series

Curated by CPRE’s ECDataWorks project team and its state partners, the ECDataWorks Community will feature partner-created blogs and podcasts covering a wide range of early childhood integrated data systems (ECIDS) topics — common challenges faced by ECIDS managers and staff, navigating organizational change, promoting stakeholder engagement, organizational design, shared leadership among state agencies, and much more.

The blog and podcast series, produced with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation, is designed to help states and stakeholders (from all career stages) understand and respond to some of the most persistent challenges facing the field, to adopt strong, resilient approaches to drive the ECIDS field forward.

"In recent years, America has seen a renaissance in early childhood data use," said Phil Sirinides, principal investigator for ECDataWorks and director of the Institute of State and Regional Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. "The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has cast that work in a new light. Never before have we seen a clearer need to understand where our children are, how they’re faring at home and in their communities, and what supports they need to grow, thrive, and succeed in the coming years."

"Whether you’re new to the ECIDS field and learning the ropes or an organizational leader seeking new approaches to long-standing challenges, we believe this series will offer you a valuable opportunity to learn, share, and help drive the early childhood data field forward," said Missy Coffey, co-principal investigator for ECDataWorks and director of early childhood technical assistance with SRI International.

In its inaugural podcast, The History and Evolution of Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems, CPRE Senior Researcher Philip Sirinides (Penn State University – Harrisburg) and Missy Coffey (SRI International) dive into the history of state-led ECIDS in the United States. Guests on this podcast include Richard Gonzales, Preschool Development Grant project manager with the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families; Albert Wat, senior policy director with the Alliance for Early Success; and Tate Gould, former senior program officer for the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program.

Accompanying its podcasts, the ECDataWorks Community also includes a blog section — a place where state partners and experts can share their personal experiences in the ECIDS field and offer some important lessons-learned for states, organizations, and other early childhood stakeholders working to improve their own systems.

ECDataWorks Community is a Heising-Simons Foundation supported multimedia initiative from ECDataWorks featuring some of the nation’s leading voices in the early childhood data community. Podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and anywhere else podcasts are found. Blogs and podcasts are available by visiting

Consortium for Policy Research in Education

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