Early Intel Logo

Early Childhood Data Coaching, Training, Staffing, and Practice Groups

Early Childhood Data Resources:

Early Intel offers a range of services to strengthen your Head Start organization’s work with data. These services are designed to drive quality improvement and boost your staff’s confidence working with early childhood data.

Data Leadership Training –

Building your team’s capacity

Early childhood data is often treated as something to collect and report, but often not used for learning and improvement. Early Intel’s training program is designed to help your team harvest the value from your data, meet federal standards, and better serve your community.

All of these offerings

are available online:

Effective Data Organization

Optimizing data workflows, organizing staff data responsibilities, analytics, data stories vs. anecdotes, and effective data dialogues.

Preparing for a Head Start Federal Review

Conducting mock reviews and understanding FA1 and FA2 expectations, as well as how data drives this process.


Identifying the right data based on organizational priorities and needs, to track strengths, weaknesses and progress

Data Quality Assurance

Designing an optimal process, identifying the right reports, and managing the team to assure clarity and full compliance .

Quality Improvement

Learning the the methods of inquiry that address systemic quality issues and methods for implementing new solutions.


Showcasing data-driven solutions that Head Start programs have developed to a range of issues including chronic absence, child enrollment challenges, staff retention, and more:

Our training team is composed of national experts who have run Head Start programs, supervised federal review teams, and led quality improvement. Presentations regularly feature peer programs with real life case studies of successful data implementation.

Our training team is composed of national experts who have run Head Start programs, supervised federal review teams, and led quality improvement. Presentations regularly feature peer programs with real life case studies of successful data implementation.

Early Childhood Data Coaching:

The critical ingredient

Training is much more likely to stick when it is accompanied with coaching. That’s why programs offer practice-based coaching for teachers. But what about program managers? Mastering data is challenging, and early childhood data coaching can help guide successful implementation.

Data coaching enables managers to understand and analyze data in a nonjudgmental way, enabling guidance and new learning that builds confidence.

Coaching offers hands on assistance around real-life situations:

Expand and strengthen your data sources

When Head Start managers hear the word “data,” they typically think of ChildPlus or COPA reports and deadlines, percentages, and errors. For some early childhood staff, this creates stress and anxiety. But these are really just the tip of the iceberg, with the greatest power of their data lying below the surface.

Early childhood data comes from many sources (CLASS, family surveys, teachers turnover, child incident reports, etc.) that provide a three-dimensional view of children and families. Data can include benchmarks, visualizations, interviews and predictive analytics that empower Head Start managers. Data coaches help to identify and incorporate these other resources.

Facilitate Data Reflection & Dialogue

Historically, early childhood data has been used more for reporting and accountability than for reflection and learning. It was largely compliance-driven. Stepping up to new federal standards requires managers to analyze and discern their Head Start data story. It demands a change in how managers think and work. Part of this process is effective reflection and dialogue. 

Our early childhood data coaches can help facilitate effective dialogue in several ways:

  • Make initial observations about the data without judging. Coming to data reflection with a “noticing” rather than a “judging” mind, enables more effective inquiry and insight.
  • Exploring possible causes before making conclusions. A discussion of Inferences enables exploration without prematurely coming to judgment. A data coach can protect the discovery process, to ensure that important information is included in the discussion.
  • Engaging and bringing in multiple perspectives. Avoid having the most confident voice dominate the conversation, and encourage managers who are less familiar with data inquiry. A data coach promotes effective listening and models effective facilitation.

Design effective data workflows

In order to step up to new federal requirements, early childhood programs need to rethink their data workflow. New data tools can be powerful, but only when they are incorporated into the workflow. This means rethinking how a program conducts its business – how it disseminates and absorbs information. 

An early childhood data coach can help programs rethink the kinds of analysis they produce, staff responsibilities for data, and how particular information is shared and considered. Every early childhood program is different, so a data coach will help a program to develop a workflow that reflects its unique internal processes and needs.

Continuous Quality Improvement

Implementing continuous quality improvement (CQI) as required by federal standards means working with data differently. CQI coaches bring expertise and organizational skills that enable teams to tackle their big challenges. Drawing on an assortment of inquiry practices, strategies for collecting information, facilitation of discussion and visually mapping a team’s analysis, they tackle problems such as chronic absence, low enrollment and staffing turnover.

CQI requires incremental and measurable change over time. It does not replace traditional quality assurance, but builds on it. Because the thinking and approach to CQI is so different from traditional compliance practices, it represents a major change in how early childhood programs think and work together. While training in CQI is a great start, data coaching helps accelerate successful implementation.

There are many ways to deploy data coaching. If you would like to explore options, let us know and we can talk through a strategy that will address your needs.

Data Staffing – Fractional and Interim Solutions

Hiring data and quality managers is a challenge for early childhood programs. The required training, knowledge and experience is hard to find, and programs can struggle to recruit or develop the necessary talent. As a solution, Early Intel offers fractional data and quality manager staffing.

What is Fractional Staffing?

Fractional staffing is an increasingly popular HR strategy for small to mid-sized organizations seeking expertise on a part-time basis. Initially offered for finance and technology positions, the variety of fractional specialties is growing. Fractional staff can deliver services on a temporary or permanent basis, and the services are typically delivered remotely, with on-site visits scheduled as needed.

Why Hire a Fractional Data Manager or Quality Lead?

There are many reasons to hire fractional staff

Recruitment and Screening

Early Intel has a national pool of experts in early childhood data and quality. We can save you time and headaches, by connecting you with qualified talent.

Support and Supervision

As a leader in early childhood data and quality improvement, we provide the support and supervision to ensure that your staff operate at the highest level.

Capacity Building

A fractional leader can help develop your team and your internal systems, and even train their replacement if you have identified someone internally. 


Many early childhood programs only need a part-time data manager, but it is hard to fill positions on a part-time basis and often doesn’t easily combine with other roles. Fractional staff solves this problem. You also have the flexibility to fill a position on a short or long-term basis.

What Would This Look Like For Us?

Fractional staffing is scoped to meet your early childhood data and quality priorities. Our first step is to conduct an assessment where we will meet with you and review your data systems and needs. Based on that assessment and your goals, we will identify options for your consideration. 

To bring on a fractional staff person, your organization contracts with Early Intel. The fractional staff person is an employee of Early Intel, which is responsible for employer taxes, employee benefits and related requirements.

Interested? If you’d like more details on our assessment and staffing process, please contact us.   

Practice Groups

Facilitated exploration with peers is an important means to acquire and integrate new knowledge. Early Intel facilitates peer groups of early childhood managers by their area of discipline, including:

  • Program Directors
  • Data Managers
  • Quality Directors
  • Education Managers
  • Family Service Managers
  • Health Managers

In the Q.I. network each of these groups explores how they advance data use and quality improvement within their area of specialty. Early Intel staff facilitate these sessions, ensuring that topics are relevant and that discussion is supporting local implementation.

An effective data culture is built through shared goals, candor and dialogue. Our Practice Groups create an environment where leaders are able to share their challenges, progress and solutions and support one another on their early childhood data journey.