Logo representing Southeast Children's Fund located in Washington, D.C.

DC LEAD

Administered by Southeast Children's fund

DC Leading Educators toward Advanced Degrees (DC LEAD) is a program that is focused on supporting scholars that are pursuing degrees in early childhood education (ECE)

Program Overview

The DC LEAD grant aims to provide the District’s child care educators with the knowledge, skills and credentials needed to work with DC’s youngest learners and increase the number of high-quality early childhood professionals in the District through scholarships for postsecondary degrees. Southeast Children’s Fund (SCF) is the recipient of the DC LEAD grant through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) Division of Early Learning (DEL) and will administer the grant program.

 

Through SCF, the DC LEAD program provides scholarships and incentives to child care educators in the District of Columbia to complete coursework toward an associate and/or bachelor’s degree in ECE to: 

  • Improve child development program services by ensuring high-quality early care and education for young children and families; 
  • Earn credentials and increase capacity to improve practices in the field of ECE; 
  • Meet the current minimum education requirements
  • Improve staff retention; and
  • Increase compensation.

 

The DC LEAD scholarship and incentive program was launched on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Child care educators can access the DC LEAD scholarship and incentive application by visiting the DC LEAD webpage on the OSSE and SCF websites. The OSSE and SCF websites also provide more information about the DC LEAD scholarship and incentive program eligibility requirements and directions on how to apply.

*Available in English, Spanish and Amharic

For questions related to DC LEAD or resources for child care educators, please contact the DC LEAD team at DCLEAD@sechildrensfund.org or at (202) 561-5500. You may also contact the OSSE ECE Help Desk at ECEhelpdesk@dc.gov or (202) 478-5903.

Scholarship Eligibility Policy

To be eligible to receive a scholarship through the DC Leading Educators toward Advanced Degrees (DC LEAD) grant program administered by Southeast Children’s Fund (SCF), a child care educator must meet the following requirements:  

 

  1. Be employed in a child development facility licensed by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE):

               a. Employment confirmed through staff record in Division of Early Learning Licensing Tool (DELLT).

               b. Must be employed on the date the child care educator completes the application form.

Note: Staff in facilities not licensed by OSSE are not eligible. If more child care educators apply for scholarships than there are funds available to support, priority will be given to current lead teachers who do not meet the minimum education requirement.

 

      2. Have a high school diploma or GED.

 

      3. Complete an employer agreement form (if applicable).

 

      4. Commit to working at your current child care facility throughout the DC LEAD scholarship contract year.

 

      5. Be in a program working to meet the minimum education requirements or interested in enrolling in a program to meet the minimum education requirements for your current position or a position you are interested in obtaining. 

 

      6. Submit a completed DC LEAD application form

Incentive Eligibility Policy

In order to be eligible to receive an incentive of up to $3,000 based on funding availability through the DC Leading Educators toward Advanced Degrees (DC LEAD) program administered by Southeast Children’s Fund (SCF), a child care educator must meet the following requirements:

 

  1. Be employed and remain employed in a child development facility licensed by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for one year:

               a. Employment will be confirmed through a staff record in the Division of Early Learning Licensing Tool (DELLT) at the time of application, after six months (when the initial payment will be made) and at the end of one year; 

               b. Must be employed on the date the child care educator completes the DC LEAD incentive application form; and

               c. Remain employed with the current employer for one year from the date the incentive agreement is signed.

                Note: Staff in facilities not licensed by OSSE are not eligible.

 

      2. Be employed in an eligible position:

               a. “Staff Type” must be one of the following:

                     i. Center Director

                    ii. Teacher

                   iii. Assistant Teacher

                   iv. Expanded Home Caregiver

                    v. Home Caregiver

                   vi. Associate Home Caregiver

 

      3. Be enrolled in a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or an associate/bachelor’s degree program to meet the OSSE minimum education requirements or already meet the OSSE minimum education requirements for their current position based on the “Staff Type” above. 

               a. Current position will be confirmed through staff records in DELLT.

               b. See Table 1 for minimum education requirements timelines. 

Table 1: Minimum Education requirements

Position

  Minimum Education Credential Required

  Effective Date

  Center Director

  Bachelor’s degree (BA) in early childhood education (including early childhood development, elementary education or early special education) or a bachelor’s degree in any subject area with at least 15 semester credit hours in early childhood education.

  December 2022

Teacher

  Associate degree (AA) in early childhood education (or early childhood development, child and family studies or a closely related field) or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area with at least 24 semester credit hours in early childhood.

  December 2023

  Assistant Teacher

  Child Development Associate (CDA) or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area.

  December 2023

  Expanded Home Caregiver

  Associate degree in early childhood education (or early childhood development, child and family studies or a closely related field) or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area with at least 24 semester credit hours in early childhood.

  December 2023

Home Caregiver and Associate Home Caregiver

CDA

December 2023

      4. Complete the DC LEAD incentive payment agreement

               a. In order to receive the incentive, eligible child care educators must sign an incentive payment agreement with the DC LEAD program and their employer. To be paid, the child care educator will be required to provide the required information below to DC LEAD:

                    i. Completed DC LEAD application form

                    ii. Signed DC LEAD contract 

                    Note: If you are a DC LEAD scholar, this will be included in your DC LEAD scholarship agreement

                   iii. Payment Information (Note: There are both banked and unbanked payment options)

      1. Direct Deposit: If you choose to be paid via direct deposit, the following information is required to complete the incentive payment

                               a. Bank name

                               b. Routing number

                               c. Account number

                          2. Check (via mail): If you choose to be paid via check, the following information is required:

                               a. Home address

                               Note: A paper check will be mailed to this address

                    iv. W-9 form

 

      5. Upon DC LEAD application approval, recipients must sign an agreement that includes the following: 

               a. Agreement to remain employed in their current child development facility in a child development facility licensed by OSSE for one year.

 

      6. Incentive payment will only be issued after all required information is provided and the DC LEAD incentive application is approved.

 

A first incentive payment will be made after six months and a second payment may be made at the end of the one-year agreement, contingent on continued employment and availability of funding.

 

Incentive Payment Amount

The incentive payment amount for child care educators who meet the minimum education requirements or are in a CDA or degree program to meet the minimum education requirements for the position they are currently in is up to $3,000 across a one-year period. The incentive payment will be distributed as up to two payments of $1,500.

 

For questions about the DC LEAD eligibility policy, please reach out SCF at DCLEAD@sechildrensfund.org.

Eligibility Policy

DC Leading Educators toward Advanced Degrees (DC LEAD) Incentive Program Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22)

In order to be eligible to receive an incentive of up to $3,000 through the DC LEAD incentive program, a child care educator must meet the following requirements:

1. Be employed in a child development facility licensed by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE):

  • Employment confirmed through staff record in Division of Early Learning Licensing Tool (DELLT)
  • Must be employed on the date the child care educator complete the application form Note: Staff in facilities not licensed by OSSE are not eligible

 

2. Be employed in an eligible role:

  • Eligibility is determined based on “Staff Type” required to meet the minimum education requirements for the early childhood workforce
  • “Staff Type” must be one of the following:

                    i. Center Director

                    ii. Teacher

                    iii. Assistant Teacher

                    iv. Home Caregiver

                    v. Expanded Home Caregiver

                    vi. Associate Home Caregiver

 

3. Be in a program to meet the minimum education requirements or already met the minimum education requirements for their current position based on the “Staff Type” above. Current position will be confirmed through staff record in DELLT.

 

4. Submit supplemental incentive payment request to DC LEAD

  • In order to receive the incentive, eligible child care educator must submit an incentive payment request to DC LEAD that includes all required information:

i. Completed application form

ii. Photo ID

iii. Headshot/selfie

iv. Payment Information (note: payment options for both banked and unbanked)

1. Direct Deposit: If you choose to be paid via director deposit, the following information is required to complete the incentive payment:

      • Bank name
      • Routing number
      • Account number

2. Debit Card: If you choose to be paid via a debit card, the following information is required to complete the payment:

      • Home address Note: The debit card will be mailed to this address

3. Zelle: If you choose to be paid via Zelle, the following information is required to complete the incentive payment:

      • Full name
      • Phone number

4. Cash App: If you choose to be paid via Cash App, the following information is required to complete the incentive payment:

      • Full name
      • $Cashtag
      • Phone number and/or email address associated with the Cash App account

5. Mail-in check: If you choose to be paid via a mail-in check, the following information is required:

        1. Home address Note: The hard check will be mailed to this address

v. Social Security Number (SSN)/Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

vi. W-9 form

  • Incentive payment will only be issued after all required information is provided and the DC LEAD incentive application is approved

 

Incentive Payment Amount

Incentive payment amount for child care educators who meet the minimum education requirements or in a program to meet the minimum education requirements for the position they currently in is up to $3,000. The incentive payment will be distributed in two equal installments identified by DC LEAD.

Requirements for ECE Workforce enrolled in an associate or bachelor’s degree program:

Below lists responsibilities that a scholar must address each semester

DC LEAD Partners

DC LEAD partners with colleges and universities to provide diverse higher education options for scholarship recipients. Below lists DC LEAD’s higher education partners and their contact information.

School Information

Early Childhood Education Programs

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