Frequently Asked Questions about Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program (MECLP)

What is MECLP?

MECLP is a workforce development initiative designed to accelerate cross-sector leadership in early childhood. MECLP Fellows are poised to affect state-level change in systems, policies, legislation and programs in Maryland. One of the ways to improve outcomes for all of Maryland’s young children, families, and communities is to support more highly qualified, experienced early childhood education leaders through leadership development.

Participation in MECLP includes a variety of components, including SHER 601, a 12-month graduate-level 3-credit course offered by UMBC in partnership with the Institute for Early Childhood Leadership and Innovation (IEELI), the opportunity to join MECLP’s Community of Practice, and participation in numerous opportunities for leadership in early childhood based on the needs and creativity of the network of fellows.

Who is eligible to participate in MECLP?

MECLP seeks highly qualified early childhood professionals who want to advance their careers and the early childhood field in Maryland. We welcome early childhood professionals representing diverse ethnicities, regions, and early childhood sectors in Maryland who are eager to lead innovation and change in early childhood systems and programs. Early childhood professionals include family- and center-based professionals, Head Start and Judy Center staff, Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers and administrators, Special Education and ELL staff, CCRC and Family Support Center staff, ECAC and LECACs members, mental health, family engagement professionals, and other practitioners that support young children and their families in Maryland.

How long is the program?

Participation in MECLP offers fellows a lifelong connection to MECLP and ECE leaders In Maryland and in the nation. Once accepted into MECLP, fellows are enrolled in the SHER 601 course, Leading for Change in Early Childhood Education, a year-long course. After completion of the course, MECLP Fellows are invited to join the Community of Practice, which provides continuous engagement with members of other cohorts, MECLP Advisory Committee Members, and other ECE leaders from Maryland and beyond. MECLP is creating a pathway to a six-credit graduate Endorsement in Early Childhood Leadership from UMBC upon completing SHER 602 – Policy and Advocacy for Systems Change in Early Childhood. With the development of 6 additional graduate credits in early childhood leadership, students (fellows) will receive a 12-credit Certificate in Early Childhood Leadership from UMBC.

What is the structure of the SHER 601 course?

The 12-month, Leading for Change in Early Childhood Education course (SHER 601) is a cohort-based, 3-credit post-baccalaureate course that includes six in-person daylong learning sessions on Saturdays, which include guest presentations, six asynchronous online learning sessions, individual and small group assignments, and a capstone project focused on a self-selected issue specific to early childhood in Maryland. The course uses a highly interactive approach that centers on the leadership development of cohort fellows in the context of the programs/settings in which they work, providing them with a deeper understanding of themselves as agents of change in their fields.

Is there a minimum academic and GPA requirement to enroll in SHER 601 and SHER 602?

Participants (fellows) must hold a Bachelor’s degree and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

What is the cost of the program?

The tuition for SHER 601 and SHER 602 is underwritten through grant funding. For each course, Cohort members are responsible for paying a one-time materials contribution of $275 to cover the cost of course texts and materials.

What is the application process timeline?

The application for cohort participants will be released May 10th. The application and support documentation for Cohort V is due at the end of June 2023.

What documents are needed to apply?

Applicants must submit the application, a resume, an unofficial university transcript, and two letters of recommendation. 

How can I stay connected to MECLP?

You can subscribe to MECLP’s updates and newsletters by visiting our website https://meclp.umbc.edu/.

How can I contact MECLP?

If you have further questions, please email meclp@umbc.edu