Tribal Early Learning Initiative (TELI) Grantees Reflect on Successes and Plan for the Future

On March 22 - 23, 2017, thirty-nine participants gathered for the Tribal Early Learning Initiative (TELI) grantee meeting in Chicago. TELI is a partnership between ACF and American Indian tribes with Head Start/Early Head Start, Child Care Development Fund, and Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting programs. The TELI In-Person meeting was an opportunity for grantees to come together, share successes and plan for the future. The meeting was rich in peer learning and sharing. The tribal grantees participating included teams from:

  • Cherokee Nation
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Confederated Tribe of the Siletz Indians of Oregon
  • Intertribal Council of Michigan, and
  • Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

Each grantee team included representatives from tribal home visiting, Head Start and Child Care. Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma also included representation from Early Head Start. The Federal staff from each of the related federal program offices, staff from PATH, the programmatic home visiting TA center, and a System Specialist for Region XI AIAN from ICF International also participated in the meeting.

Liz Weaver, Vice President of Tamarack Institute and Kim Bradley, Lead Senior TA Specialist from PATH, facilitated the meeting. Interactive activities supported and strengthened team collaborations through peer sharing and feedback. Amy Thilges, a home visitor from Cherokee Nation, noted that it is “good to have the peer support from other tribes. We are all so different, yet some of the challenges are universal." Grantee teams worked together on "Moving from Planning to Action" and "Defining and Exploring Success." "Sharing Our Message: How to Inform and Inspire" generated peer ideas for grantees about dissemination. Everyone at the meeting participated in the learning and sharing. Ms. Thilges commented that “TELI helps us to gain perspective from all the systems. The team had a good direction but after this (meeting), and the activities focused on this project, it gives us even more of a path to follow."

The purposes of the TELI are to:

  • Support tribes to coordinate tribal early learning and development programs
  • Create and support seamless, high-quality early-childhood systems
  • Raise the quality of services to children and families across the pregnancy-to-kindergarten entry continuum
  • Identify and break down barriers to collaboration and systems improvement