Community Innovation Zone Grant Program

Providing Pennsylvania’s children with quality early learning experiences is a collaborative effort of families, schools, and communities. Supports at the state level are important, but often the most innovative and successful strategies are borne from local collaboration and solutions. In 2014, Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) was awarded the Federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant (RTT-ELC) and recognized this as an opportunity to create “learning laboratories” where local strategies could be developed, tested, and replicated. OCDEL offered targeted support to 50 communities most likely to benefit from specialized programming. The Community Innovation Zone (CIZ) grants made it possible for communities to implement local strategies focused on three key areas - P-3 alignment, family engagement, and community coordination - to improve outcomes for young children and their families.