January 20, 2022

Rapid Response Team: Reducing Expulsions and Suspensions in Early Childhood Education

Join Trying Together for an upcoming professional development session, “Rapid Response Team: Reducing Expulsions and Suspensions in Early Childhood Education”.

This session will discuss the ongoing and growing issue surrounding expulsion and suspension in early childhood education that have been linked to staff implicit bias, challenging behaviors, and staffing issues. The presentation will guide parents, caregivers, directors and staff working with children ages 0-5 on how to prevent expulsion and suspension in early childhood education. The session will discuss ways to implement evidence-based strategies to promote positive behavior support, self-regulation, and positive mental health. We will share community resources and programs for children and families in Allegheny County.

UnConference: Creating a Safe Place with Trauma-Informed Care

This session is a part of Trying Together’s upcoming UnConference. Between February 8-18, expert-led workshops will share content related to trauma-informed care. We begin the UnConference with keynote speaker Dr. Veirdre Jackson and dive into how we can create an environment of healing through equity and trust. Following the keynote, workshop sessions include how to identify family stressors, how to provide responsive care-giving for children experiencing trauma, and an overview of the recently launched Rapid Response Team from Trying Together.

Individuals can learn more and register on Trying Together’s website.


October 26, 2020

Reducing Suspensions and Expulsions in ECE Programs

A child’s first five years are the most critical for neurological development.

This is why responding to young children’s behaviors by suspending or expelling them from early childhood education (ECE) programs threatens their well-being during a critical period of learning.

To highlight ways in which ECE professionals should work to focus on preventative and responsive strategies for healthy child development, Trying Together has released a white paper entitled, “A Pathway to Reduce and Eliminate Early Childhood Suspensions and Expulsions.” This white paper is meant to provide guidance for stakeholders at all levels – teachers in the classroom, directors of programs, early interventionists, quality coaches, mental and behavioral health specialists, advocates, families, and policymakers.

Trying Together maintains that the elimination of suspensions and expulsions in early childhood settings must simultaneously occur with policies that increase resources and support for educators. 

The white paper provides researched recommendations including:

  • Establishing developmentally appropriate policies
  • Addressing implicit bias
  • Strengthening family engagement
  • Utilizing developmental screening tools
  • Promoting professional growth opportunities

The new white paper is a continuation of Trying Together’s efforts to encourage ECE programs and professionals to set developmentally appropriate expectations and establish preventative solutions. Other resources include Trying Together’s white paper entitled, “End Early Childhood Suspensions and Expulsions: Developmentally Appropriate Practices and Policies For Addressing Behaviors in The Early Elementary School Grades” and a supplemental document entitled, “Addressing Suspensions and Expulsions: A Guide for Families,” which provides helpful tips family caregivers can employ to address their suspension and expulsion concerns.

For more information, read the new, complete white paper.


July 31, 2020

New Process to Prevent Suspensions and Expulsions

Effective August 1, a new process to request support for a child with unique needs or challenging behaviors to prevent suspension and/or expulsion from early learning programs is available for families and early learning professionals.

How to Request Support

To request assistance from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), early learning professionals and families can complete a new online form entitled, “PA Key Expulsion/Suspension Support Request.”

Circumstances for Alternative Support

More Information

For more information, view the Developing Suspension and Expulsion Policies document.