Technical Assistance Efforts
The US Office of Special Education (OSEP) in the Department of Education has specified three categories of technical assistance (TA): 1) universal or general, 2) targeted or specialized, and, 3) intensive or sustained. National early childhood technical assistance centers have adopted the following definitions for each.
- Universal, general TA is designed for independent users who are seeking information through their own initiative. It involves minimal interaction with TA center staff, primarily providing information to the client. It includes TA strategies such as developing and disseminating resources, conducting national webinars and conference presentations, and responding to individual requests for information by telephone or email.
- Targeted, specialized TA is based on needs common to multiple recipients and not extensively individualized. Targeted TA is usually provided to a group of clients with opportunities for individualized TA including tailored support and consideration of state context. The TA, while related to a need common to multiple clients, can be delivered to either cross-client groups or to a single-client. A relationship is established between the TA recipient(s) and one or more TA center staff. TA strategies are primarily distance and supported by remote technology and may include limited onsite consultation. TA strategies might also include developing products related to the TA topic common to multiple clients.
- Intensive, sustained TA involves an ongoing relationship between TA provider(s) and the client and is designed to result in changes to policy, program, practice, and/or operations that support increased recipient capacity and/or improved outcomes at one or more systems levels (state, regional, local). Intensive TA is provided through a process that may begin with an application process. TA strategies are extensively tailored to client context and supported both by remote technology as well as on-site, face to face activities.
The PELE Center provides all three types of technical assistance (TA) and training to a variety of audiences on effective practices and policies for the promotion of optimal outcomes for young children, their families and those who serve them. Much of the TA and training is related to two national centers with which the PELE Center partners. The two national centers are the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center and the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI). Each is described below.