Early Childhood Education Distance Partnership Program

Early Childhood Education Distance Partnership Program

The Early Childhood Education Distance Partnership Program (ECEDP) is a unique distance learning program that helps Head Start teachers and Early Childhood Educators complete bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education from Montana State University in Bozeman.  Online course delivery enables ECEDP students to live and work in their home communities while connecting with other Head Start teachers in six reservations in the state of Montana.

About the Program

Federally funded by the Office of Indian Education, the ECEDP covers tuition and fees, a laptop computer, and three years of home internet service for each student participant who has completed an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Successful completion of two years of coursework through the ECEDP earns these students bachelor’s degrees at MSU.

The ECEDP program helps Montana tribal Head Start programs meet the National Head Start Association and Congressional mandates that demand that at least 50 percent of all Head Start teachers obtain a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education by 2013. Initiated by Dr. Laura Massey in 2000 following the 1998 Head Start Act, the ECEDP has already successfully graduated four Head Start teacher cohorts. Approximately sixty Native American ECEDP students have received bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education from Montana State University since the program’s inception.

In 2011, Dr. Massey received another 1.2 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education to fund a fifth cohort of Native students. In the fall of 2011, 70 students applied for the program. Out of those students, 25 were selected from six of the tribal Head Start programs in Montana. Ten mentors, all of whom are prior graduates of the ECEDP program, serve as resources, facilitators, and collaborators to this current cohort of students. On campus Desire 2Learn training for students and mentors was provided by the Burns Technology Center prior to the start of courses in January 2012. Classes for this cohort began in January of 2012. Students are expected to graduate May 2014.

ECEDP Contacts

Dr. Laura Massey is both ECEDP Project Director and an Associate Professor in MSU's Health and Human Development Department. Dr. Massey provides online course delivery, administration, and support for the ECEDP program. Contact Dr. Massey at 406-994-3300.

Rebecca Croghan is the ECEDP Program Coordinator. Rebecca provides administrative support for the ECEDP program and can be reached at 406-994-3246.