Early Learning Insights
Newsletter of the Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development
In This Issue
About OECD
Alignment. Quality. Access.
OECD leads the state's initiatives to create an integrated system of quality, early learning and development programs to help give all Illinois children a strong educational foundation before they begin kindergarten.  Learn more.
Upcoming Events
8/15/2016 Executive Committee Meeting

8/29/2016 HVTF's Home Visiting-Child Welfare Subcommittee Meeting

8/31/2016 SIAC Health Subcommittee Meeting

9/14/2016 HVTF's Home Visiting Child Welfare Subcommittee Meeting

9/21/2016 Family and Community Engagement (ELC) Committee Meeting
New Resources
CDC Child Obesity Fact Sheet 
Infant Immunizations
OECD Initiatives

Additional Resources
Contact OECD
Stay Connected
August 11, 2016
Kelley Washington,
 Executive Director
 

 As you may know, I have stepped down from my position in the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development as of July and am returning to my hometown of Reston, VA.  I wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and admiration for the amazing work of our early learning leaders across Illinois.
 
During my time in this role, I quickly came to understand the necessary complexity of our early childhood system- the coordination of education, health, human services, and funding streams to provide the most comprehensive services and opportunities for our most vulnerable children.  I visited multiple early childcare centers and recognized the value of high quality teachers and leaders in an environment that facilitates continuous improvement to ensure the best instructional practices for our youngest learners.  Not to my surprise, I was continuously inspired by the relentless commitment and passion of leaders across the state- in various roles, geographies, and environments- who care deeply about creating a cohesive, high quality early learning system so that our children can grow up to be well-educated young adults.
 
I'd like to say a special thanks to the OECD team for their leadership and support and to our public and private partners for their partnership and commitment in this important work.  I look forward to seeing what the upcoming year brings our children and families of Illinois.
 
Best,
L. Kelley Washington

Top Stories
Illinois' 2015 Annual Performance Report for Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Released
 
The Annual Performance Report for Illinois and 19 other Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant states was released last week, as announced in this article from the Washington Post. For a quick summary of Illinois' progress, check out our state's infographic .  

With more than $1 billion in Federal investments ($52.5 million for Illinois), RTT-ELC has enabled states to develop and enhance crucial infrastructure to expand access for children with high needs to high quality early learning and development programs. Linda Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development at the Administration for Children and Families described the work of RTT-ELC saying, "It is exciting to watch these states make meaningful improvements as they tackle common & state-specific challenges and share lessons learned". 
 
 Illinois' report for 2015 can be found here and a report on the impact of the RTT-ELC grant as a whole can be found here .  
Innovation Zone Spotlight: Cicero

schoolbus-line.jpg Funded through the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant and supported by Illinois Action for Children, early childhood collaborators in eleven Innovation Zones in Illinois are building local systems towards the goal of equal access to early learning opportunities that will ultimately lead to improved child outcomes. 
 
In this Innovation Zone Spotlight, we will focus on the strategies and successes of the Cicero Innovation Zone.   With a history of collaboration and strong local support for strengthening early childhood systems and kindergarten readiness, the community also has providers that have demonstrated an interest in quality improvement.
 
The Cicero IZ team has developed strategies to reach the many high-needs families living in their community, including creating an active Parent Ambassador Program and hosting Pop-up Preschools.  Cicero's 13 Parent Ambassadors promote enrollment in early education programs and attendance at Pop-up Preschools, reaching out to linguistically isolated families at community events and through door-to door canvassing.
 
Over the last year, Parent Ambassadors have connected with nearly 2,000 parents. Pop-up Preschools provide parents an inside look at a day in an early education program, offering opportunities to learn, ease fears and anxieties, and become comfortable with the idea of permanent enrollment for their children. Since Pop-up Preschools began, more than 250 families have attended. These are just two of the successes Cicero has experienced since becoming an Innovation Zone. For more information about Innovation Zones, follow this link.
Illinois Birth Through Third Grade Continuity Conference Held Last Month
 
In June, the Illinois Birth Through Third Grade (B-3) Continuity Conference was held in Bloomington.  The B-3 Continuity Program strives to foster a high-quality, aligned birth to third grade education system to ensure the greatest support and outcomes for young children in Illinois through work in state and local systems. 
 
The conference was collaboratively planned by the Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development (OECD), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and Illinois State University's Center for the Study of Education Policy (CSEP). The goal of the conference was to build the capacity of early childhood and elementary education staff to provide informed leadership about research-based practices to develop an effective system of supports and services for children birth through third grade.
 
To learn more about the Birth to Third Grade Continuum, visit The Illinois Birth Through Third Grade (B-3) Continuity Program website .  Additionally, a 2016 conference webpage is available with materials for those who missed the June gathering.
Illinois Addresses Zika Virus
 
Illinois has been awarded more than $500,000 in Federal funding to prevent and prepare for an outbreak of the Zika virus.  The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) received $350,000 while the Chicago Department of Public Health was granted $200,000.  Zika, spread to people through mosquito bites, expresses symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.  While the virus is not carried through mosquitoes in Illinois, those traveling to regions with carriers are being warned to take precautions and get tested upon return from travel.  Those pregnant or planning to have children must be especially careful since the virus can cause severe birth defects.

As part of IDPH's efforts to prevent Zika, the agency is hosting a webinar, "Zika Virus Briefing for Community Partners: Prevention and Family Planning Messaging for Sexual Transmission".  This webinar will discuss the CDC's guidelines for Zika Virus and how to keep pregnant women and women of reproductive age informed to prevent the disease.  See below for details:

When: Tuesday 16 August 2016, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Registration: 

Event Details:
OECD Says Good-Bye to Anna Colaner, Welcomes Kathy Staten
 
This summer, OECD was sad to see Dr. Anna Colaner, our  Data and Outcomes Manager, leave the office for a new role in the private sector, but is excited to welcome Kathy Staten who will be serving as Manager of Quality Assurance for MIECHV. 
 
Anna Colaner, who has been instrumental in carrying out the work of OECD since October 2013 when she began, left the office saying, "It has been a privilege to work in the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development and with our public and private agency partners.  Illinois' leadership in early childhood has benefited so many children, families, and early childhood professionals. I am lucky to have learned from some of the most hard working, intelligent early childhood experts in this country".   We know Anna will continue to do great work in her new job. 
 
 In her role as Manager of Quality Assurance for MIECHV, Katherine Staten,  hopes to work within the early childhood system to streamline, and unify expectations across home visiting models, and funding streams that will help local providers to enhance the quality of early childhood programs.  Kathy is a human service professional with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the provision and administration of social service programs.  Her experience ranges from trainee, to her most recent position as Associate Director for the Office of Workforce Development at the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Policy Corner
Children's Cabinet Update
  
Governor Rauner convened the second meeting of the Cabinet on Children and Youth in June.  The Children's Cabinet is a high level effort to ensure Illinois is focusing on children holistically and holding ourselves accountable for child and youth outcomes.  It's organized around four primary aims to ensure that Illinois' children are safe, healthy, well-educated, and self-sufficient.  Work groups comprised of leaders from each of the participating agencies on the cabinet are currently working to develop population level outcomes and indicators for each of the four focus areas.  During the June meeting, the cabinet outlined proposed population-based outcome goals and metrics relating to the four aims. 
 
For more information on the Children's Cabinet, visit the homepage here.
In the News
Early Childhood Workforce Index Released

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkley recently released the Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016 report.  The Index is comprised of analyses of the early childhood employment environment and policies in each state.  It also offers policy solutions and guidelines to help address the common concern of low wages for workers in the early childhood field and the scarcity of affordable, high quality early childhood services across the United States. 

To access Illinois' individual state profile, follow this link and to view an interactive map, click here.  
Illinois Education Research Council Releases New Policy Brief

The Illinois Education Research Council (IERC) released a policy brief,  Navigating the Shift to Intensive Principal Preparation in Illinois.  The report was produced utilizing the findings of a two-year study, led by Brad White of the IERC and Amber Stitzel Pareja of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, on the achievements and challenges surrounding Illinois' principal preparation redesign efforts. 
 
Read the full report here.
Fast Fact of the Month
Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) Cost Estimation Tool Now Available for Use

The National Center on Subsidy and Accountability has developed a tool for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grantees to determine the costs and requirements for incorporating EHS services into their child care programs.  You can learn more and access the tool and other related resources using this link .
Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development | | Penny.Segura@illinois.gov | earlychildhood.illinois.gov
160 N. LaSalle St. Suite N-100
Chicago, IL 60601
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