State education agencies (SEAs), including independent early learning offices, play an essential role in developing policies that support young children’s school readiness and success. Yet nationwide, the busy early childhood specialists who work in SEAs need support to integrate research-based practices into their policymaking.

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) was charged with providing this support. As the managing partner of CEELO, EDC worked to help specialists ground state policy and practice in research, promote sustainable change, foster innovation, and reflect and respect diversity. Over seven years, CEELO provided hundreds of resources, as well as tailored trainings and consultations, to early childhood specialists in all 50 U.S. states and territories.

Key Activities

The CEELO project team carried out the following activities:

  • Worked with federal, state, and local partners to use data, authentic assessments, effective professional development, and outstanding instructional practices to support learning opportunities for children
  • Created the Cost of Preschool Quality and Revenue Calculator
  • Helped states and territories advance strategic objectives in early childhood education
  • Designed and led CEELO Leadership Academies, strengthening specialists’ leadership competencies
  • Built the capacity of early childhood specialists to provide informed leadership about research-based practices that impact children’s development and learning


  • Developed and disseminated hundreds of publications, including policy briefs and rapid response documents for state policymakers. These included CEELO 2030, a vision statement and video series, and the Leadership Toolkit.
  • With the Center on School Turnaround, co-published Incorporating Early Learning Strategies in the School Improvement Grants Program, which was distributed at the 2014 White House Summit on Early Education
  • Organized six annual meetings for hundreds of specialists
  • Responded to over 500 TTA requests and over 225 requests for information from early childhood specialists
  • Over five years, saw 38 CEELO Fellows graduate from the CEELO Leadership Academy
  • Helped Nevada develop a strategic plan and operating procedures for the newly established Office of Early Learning and Development
  • Helped develop program guidelines for grades 1–3 and improve quality of teaching in New Jersey

Learn More

Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO)
U.S. Department of Education

Rutgers University, National Institute for Early Education Research; Council of Chief State School Officers; National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education