Community Partners E-News
May 2017
In Our Communities

Delaware:  Students at Rose Tree Day school had a special guest reader during April's Month of the Young Child who read the PA One Book selection. The reading didn't stop there, but instead motivated the students to create their own poem. Find out what it says.

Erie: Erie Together, in partnership with Emerge 2040, has successfully launched the "Erie County Education and Training Consortium," a group of high ranking officials from pre-K through post-secondary education and training entities and other community leaders to identify the region's top education and training-related priorities and rally efforts and resources to address them. 

  Keystone STAR Family Child Care Home provider, Sue James, has found a creative way to promote early literacy with the children in her care. Sue and the children are preserving the stories she has shared over the years by creating books. Beginning with a rough outline, the stories are fine-tuned until an agreed upon product is reached and then professionally edited and illustrated. My Bumblebee and Me, a picture book for ages six through 10; The Little Big Car, a counting book for ages two through six; and the newest book, The Cat Who Wants to Fly are the titles to date. The books are currently available on Amazon. For more info, contact Sue James at

Juniata: Success By 6 and Juniata County School District are hosting Family Fun Nights on March 14th and March 21st, parents and children who will be coming to kindergarten in the fall have an opportunity to participate in fun hands on kindergarten readiness activities. For more info, contact Cristy Yoders at

Mifflin: Success By 6 and Mifflin County School District have been partnering to offer four Kindergarten Readiness Workshops for families who have children entering kindergarten this fall. Parents receive lots of great information and children receive manipulatives to use while preparing for school. Transition packets have been mailed to all children registered for kindergarten. Each packets includes a book, school district information and school readiness materials. To date, approximately 260 packets have been mailed. Each child attending kindergarten registration will also receive packets in April and June. For more info, contact Cristy Yoders at

Northampton: Forks YMCA Education Center's annual art show will take place on May 25, 2017. This year's theme is A Night at the Museum and the children will be displaying the works they created in the gymnasium at the Family YMCA of Easton. Children, birth through fifth grade, work year round with their classroom teachers to create art based on a theme. The pieces the young artists created will be on display and auctioned off to raise money for scholarships. For more info, contact Jan Marie Schwartz at

Share your outreach on PA's Promise for Children website! 
Submit online  or send to Mary at

Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week

Teachers play an important role in shaping the lives of Pennsylvania's youngest learners. They work with families, children and partners to ensure that each child has opportunities to learn and grow.

PA's Promise for Children is collecting stories from families and teachers to share during National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-12). 

Are you a parent or family member whose child loves their teacher?
  • Your child's favorite teacher's name and early learning program or school
  • Why he or she is your child's favorite teacher-why is this teacher special?
  • A picture of your child and their favorite teacher!
Are you a teacher who loves your job?
Share your story, too!
  • Where you teach and what ages/grades
  • Why you love teaching-what's the best thing about teaching?
  • A picture of you! (If there are children in your pic, please make sure you have a current signed consent form to use their picture.)
Email your story to Mary at or  click here to submit online.

Get your story submitted by May 7 to be highlighted on the PA's Promise for Children website and/or PA's Promise for Children Facebook page   during Teacher Appreciation Week!

Although Teacher's Appreciation Week runs May 7-12, stories will continued to be published as they're received.

Thank You PA One Book Readers & Host Sites!

During April, more than 190 volunteer readers visited over 290 early learning host sites throughout Pennsylvania in support and promotion of early literacy using the 2017 PA One Book selection, Daniel Finds a Poem by author and illustrator, Micha Archer. 

Community members who visit early learning classrooms are instrumental in promoting the importance of early literacy, as well as establishing and strengthening the important link between those living and working in the community with the early learning opportunities for children and their families. 

See the pics of the readings in:
  • Adams County
  • Allegheny County
  • Beaver County 
  • Centre County
  • Dauphin County
  • Delaware County
  • Jefferson County
  • Lackawanna County
  • Lancaster County
  • Lebanon County
  • Lehigh County
  • Montgomery County
  • Northampton County
  • Northumberland County
  • Philadelphia County
  • Pike County
  • Tioga County
  • Union County
  • Westmoreland County
Take a look at more on the PA One Book's Facebook page. Were you a reader or did you host a guest reader? Send the pic to Mary at

Helping Families Find Child Care in Your Community
The new COMPASS early learning program search,, offers a simple zip code search for families to quickly find programs near them, or a more advanced search to meet their specific needs. Search for a variety of early learning programs, like
          • Regulated child care and Keystone STARS programs, Home Visiting programs, Head Start, Early Intervention, and PA Pre-K Counts.
          • Get directions to programs.
          • View inspection history of child care programs.
          • Filter by financial programs accepted, like Child Care Works or scholarships.
          • Add programs to your List to compare and create a personalized summary report.
          • Search for programs that offer overnight care.
Print the one-page flyer (PDF) or the bookmarks (PDF) to distribute to families in your community.

If you are a Child Care Provider, it is imperative that you update your information in the Pelican System. Information in this new search is based on what YOU provide. Child Care Providers can now use Provider Self Service (PSS) to apply for or renew child care licensing, submit online attendance invoices, update provider profiles, and much more. Find out more about Provider Self Services.

Town Hall Talk Highlights Continued Impact of Quality Early Learning

John Pozza, Community Innovation Zone Specialist with the PA Key, presented a town hall talk on the Impact of Quality Early Learning April 13 at the Create Cafe in Brookville. The talk was followed by a question and answer session, all part of Week of the Young Child events. John presented local and state child outcome data, including OCDEL's latest Reach and Risk Report.

Among those attending were Brookville Area School Superintendent Dr. Robin Fillman, K-12 Principal Brigette Matson, Brookville Area School directors Kerith Strano Taylor and Roberta Ganoe, Geri Prinkey of the Clearfield Area Child Care Food Program, Jackie Syktich from Clearfield Co. League on Social Services, Julia Foster from Clarion-Clearfield-Jefferson Child Care Information Services, and Claire Orner from Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School of Country Living.

The evening featured open, engaging and robust discussion. All agreed that additional funding is still needed to meet Pennsylvania's growing demand for quality early learning programs. 

For more info, contact John Pozza at

Understanding Early Intervention
The services and supports a child receives while young impacts a child at a critical point in brain development--when the brain's neural circuits are the most flexible (during the first three years of life). This support strengthens the child's brain and acts as a foundation for their learning, behavior, and physical and mental health. Without this support, these circuits within the brain are "pruned," affecting the child's ability to learn.
Early Intervention builds upon the natural learning occurring in a child's first five years. Early Intervention offers individualized services, such as special instruction, developmental therapies and other support services, and parent education, to meet the unique needs of children who have developmental delays, as well as their families.
When children with developmental delays participate in typical classrooms, all children benefit. Children with developmental delays and disabilities learn age-appropriate communication and social behaviors, while typically developing children learn to understand and accept differences.

Early Intervention:
  • Enhances the families' capacity and confidence to meet the developmental needs of their child in the settings where children would be if they did not have a disability;
  • Helps prevent the need for more and costly intervention in the future by improving child outcomes in the early years;
  • Embeds supports and services within learning opportunities that exist in the child's typical routines and within the home and community activities and/or early education programs; and
  • Builds on existing supports and services in the family, community, and early education resources.
Benefits of Early Intervention for children and their families
While all children grow at their own rate, some children may have delays in their development. Sometimes this can be cause for concern. Early Intervention provides free services for young children who have disabilities or delays in their development.  

If a child has a disability or developmental delay, Early Intervention can help with a child's growing and learning. The program provides supports and resources to children and families at home and in the community. When a child is in a child care program, Early Intervention can partner with teachers to help a child's development. Early Intervention can also link families to community services and supports.  

Child/Family eligibility information
A first step for any family with a concern about their child's development is to call CONNECT Helpline toll-free at 1-800-692-7288 or email They will connect a family to resources like developmental screenings and the local Early Intervention program. The Early Intervention program will determine if the child is eligible for Early Intervention.

Cost to families
There is no cost to families for Early Intervention services and supports. Services may include:
  • Information on how a child can develop skills and abilities;
  • Education and support for families and other caregivers for a child; and
  • Specific developmental therapies.

How to apply

If you or a family has a concern about a child's development, you should first call CONNECT Services at 1-800-692-7288 or email You will be connected to a local Early Intervention program. The local Early Intervention program will determine eligibility and provide guidance for families.


Who is eligible for Early Intervention?
To receive Early Intervention services and supports, it must be determined that a child meets the following criteria.

Infants and Toddlers who have:

A 25% delay or 1 .5 standard deviation below the mean in one or more areas of development


A specialist's determination that there is a delay even though it doesn't show up on the assessments (called informed clinical opinion)


A known physical or mental condition that has a high probability for developmental delays (such as Down syndrome)


Preschoolers who have:

A 25% delay or 1 .5 standard deviation below the mean in one or more areas of development


Any of the following physical or mental disabilities:

autism/pervasive developmental disorder;

serious emotional disturbance;

neurological impairment;

deafness/hearing loss;

specific learning disability;

intellectual disability;

multiple disabilities;

other health impairment;

physical disability;

speech impairment or

blindness/visual impairment;


Are in need of special education and related services.

Resources for families and programs

Why am I getting this email?
OCDEL recognizes that many community based groups across the commonwealth are doing similar work and are comprised of similar team members. This newsletter can be used to help promote collaboration and awareness of others across the commonwealth. The goal is that as groups become aware of each other, events can be coordinated, resources shared and leveraged.  Check your email's in-box for future editions!
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