Columbia Sullivan Head Start's Berwick center celebrated apples and pumpkins at a Family Harvest Festival.  The Festival was sponsored by a Farm to Early Care Award from The Food Trust.  Families in attendance had the opportunity to taste a variety of foods created with pumpkin and apple.  Children and their families also participated in many activities incorporating apples and pumpkins with literacy, movement and STEAM.  Memie Christie, Nutrition Educator Advisor with the Penn State Extension, set up a station for families with pumpkin smoothie and apple crisp in a bag.  All children attending received a recipe book for all the foods they tasted and an apple to eat at home.


Would you like to see your program featured in next month's Spotlight Program?
PHSA is looking for submissions for future Program Spotlight features. Tell us about the AMAZING, but everyday things that are going on in your program by emailing


Save the Date!  
Registration for the 2018 Winter Administrators meeting is coming soon! This years meeting will be held at the  Best Western  Premier Harrisburg  on February 27 & 28, 2018. 



Save the date for the 2018 Annual PHSA Conference April 11-12, 2018 at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, PA. Click  here to reserve your hotel rooms. If you would like to submit a workshop proposal, click  here or go to


The  Liaison Project  was started in order to identify advocacy leads in each program who will educate parents and staff on the importance of continued education and advocacy for the growth of Head Start in PA. We now have 24 staff liaisons working hard to mobilize parents and staff to advocate for Head Start in PA and educate the public on the importance of Head Start for our families and communities. To learn more about this project and its benefits for your program, read  here  or contact


The Food Trust and PA Head Start Association are excited to share some exciting developments with our Ready Set, our Grow! community! Read on to explore our  new websitelearn about amazing work happening in the field, and watch our promotional video . Our first Ready, Set, Grow! newsletter was sent out earlier this month with even more information.
If you are interested in learning more about Farm to ECE or to share your programs' Farm to ECE stories contact .


Are you ready?  Is it time for you or someone you know to be recognized as an Exchange Leader?  The act of applying for this designation is profound. 

If you see yourself as a leader, that will change how you think and how you act. Each of us has the capacity to contribute to our field.  Apply for yourself or nominate someone else.   

Go to to learn more or email

I am excited to share the  latest update on the Keystone STARS revisioning. Stakeholder involvement and feedback is important to OCDEL throughout the revisioning process and the recent release, 
Pennsylvania Keystone STARS Revisioning Process: A Process Evaluationshares the involvement of the stakeholders and ways OCDEL can strengthen stakeholder opportunities for input as we move forward. 

Congratulations to the ten Pennsylvania Parents as Teachers affiliates who were selected as Blue Ribbon Affiliates for delivering high-quality services to children and families. Parents as Teachers is an evidence-based program that promotes early development, learning and health of young children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.

Are you ready for the new PD Registry coming after the first of the new year? There are steps you can take now to ensure you're prepared to enjoy the new registry when it's released. The registry team is ready to answer any questions you have at

Finally, we at OCDEL would like to wish all a happy and safe holiday season to all of our partners and families. 


Congratulations to the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center for receiving the PNC Community Champion Award and being recognized for their hard work with Native American families in the Pittsburgh area! They were honored on Heinz Field at the Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game Dec. 10, 2017. 








New: Toolkit to Help Schools Coordinate with Early Childhood Education Programs

Head Start colleagues,
NHSA is pleased to  announce the release of a new toolkit that is the result of a yearlong partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This publication, 
When Congress reauthorized the Head Start Act in 2007, our field was concerned about the one-way aspect of this law's requirement for Head Start programs to form Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with school districts, with many districts not coordinating with Head Start programs because that statute didn't also require school districts to enter into these agreements. ESSA made the coordination agreement requirement reciprocal. Our new toolkit is designed to help districts and other local educational agencies (LEAs) make these agreements a reality throughout the nation. 

With the goal of helping children and families during transitions from Head Start and preschool to kindergarten, ESSA specifies that the coordination agreements must include linking educational and Head Start services, offering joint professional development for teachers, ensuring parent meetings and staff communication, and sharing records. The Head Start Act MOU requirements go beyond these areas and the toolkit encourages school districts to also consider those additional coordination components. The toolkit focuses on the law's intent: supporting children as they enter a more structured learning environment, while helping school leaders understand the developmental needs of young children and their families.   

Although it is LEAs that must comply with this new federal provision, this toolkit is also useful for Head Start leaders as the lead partners in the agreements. Other stakeholders, such as state educational leaders, local and state policymakers, early childhood groups, and education officials can also play constructive roles in this process, and the toolkit discusses productive opportunities for their involvement.

We are excited about this toolkit and expect that it is just the beginning of systems-wide work in support of young children, their families and effective learning for all. We are available to serve as a resource to you on these issues as you and others use this toolkit to make a positive difference.

Scott Groginsky
Senior Advisor for Policy and Effective Practice
National Head Start Association

Measuring What Children Can Do in All Languages:
Bilingual Assessment for Preschoolers

January 09, 2018 | 3:00 pm-4:00 pm

Hosted by: National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning

Location: Online

Participate in this webinar to explore typical bilingual development in the early years. Learn  more about assessment for preschoolers and what it means to assess children who are  bilingual learners. Find out how to engage and support both teachers and families around  their child's bilingual development. Register here.

Important Message from Tanya Vasquez, Director,
Bureau of Certification

Subject: New Vendor for Digital Fingerprinting and What It Means for You

The Commonwealth has transitioned to a new vendor for digital fingerprinting. The new vendor, IDEMIA, is now accepting registrations and completing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprinting for Pennsylvania agencies.

You are required to pre-register before you go to your fingerprinting site. Once pre-registered, you may walk in during a location's posted hours of operation or you can schedule an appointment in advance. You do not have to schedule an appointment, however, scheduling an appointment may lead to lesser/no wait times.  

To pre-register for an FBI Background Check and find a fingerprinting location, applicants should go to .
IDEMIA uses Service Codes to identify the reason an applicant is being fingerprinted. This Service Code is required to complete the pre-registration process. For Child Care and other Early Learning Program Professionals, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has provided the following clarification identify the Service Code to be utilized.
If an applicant does not have a service code, this information, along with the description of other DHS service codes, are available on under GET A CLEARANCE .
How to Pre-Register for Fingerprinting
  1. Enter your zip code into the box labeled Find the nearest IdentoGO Center .
  2. Select the location most convenient to you. (You will have a chance to change this later in the process).
  3. Click Schedule an Appointment located in the blue box on the right-hand side of the page. An appointment is not required, but it is recommended.
  4. Click on Digital Fingerprinting on the lower left side of the page.
  5. Enter the appropriate code from below.
    Service Code
    Applicant Type
    DHS Volunteer
    Department of Human Services
    Unpaid individuals who are not included in the regulatory ratio in child care and other early learning programs.  The Volunteer Clearance cannot be used later for evidence of a clearance for employment purposes.
    Child Care Services/Program Employee or Contractor
    Department of Human Services
    Child Care Center and Group Child Care Center/Home Staff operating under 55 PA Code Chapters 3270 or 3280.   
    Family Child Care Home Provider
    Department of Human Services
    Family Child Care Home Staff operating under 55 PA Code Chapter 3290.
    Employee >=14 Years Contact w/ Children
    Department of Human Services
    Early Learning Programs such as Family Center, Head Start, or Home Visiting.
    Individual >=18 Years in Licensed Child Care Home
    Department of Human Services
    Non-staff persons who reside in the residence where child care services are offered under 55 PA Code Chapters 3270, 3280 or 3290.

After selecting the Service Code:
  1. Select Schedule or Manage Appointment on the new screen.
  2. Complete the fields for your name and contact information. Then click on Next until all registration pages are complete.
  3. Select the Location and Time if scheduling an appointment. Appointments are not required, but are recommended.
  4. Select which documents you plan to use on the day of your appointment. Make sure you have them when you go for your fingerprinting.
  5. Payment is due at the time of fingerprinting. When pre-registering, indicate what form of payment you will be using at the fingerprinting site.
  6. Money order, certified check, cash or credit card are accepted. Certified checks and money orders can be made payable to MorphoTrust.
  7. IMPORTANT! When you go to be fingerprinted, you will receive a receipt with your name, amount paid, and authorization number printed on the receipt. The receipt includes the date and time you were fingerprinted. The authorization number that prints on the receipt is the number that you can use to check their status on the IdentoGO site. This receipt can also be used as verification that you have applied for your FBI clearance.
Those without internet access can call 1-844 321-1201 to pre-register for fingerprinting.
Program Self Assessment Checklist to Support Certification Compliance
OCDEL has released new user-friendly tools, designed to assist Child Care Center, Family and Group Child Care Home Providers in performing periodic reviews of their facility operations to achieve compliance with OCDEL certification regulations. When used regularly, these checklists can help to identify program strengths and gaps in the understan ding of and compliance with OCDEL regulations.   View the Self Assessment Checklists and supporting webinar recording.

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning supports families
and their children, from prenatal through school age, by using data, research and
stakeholder guidance to assure high quality services.


The Evidence-based Home Visiting Expansion RFA has been posted to the eMarketplace website. It can be found  here.

Please read through the RFA in its entirety to ensure you qualify before applying. Please also  review the schedule below regarding the RFA The  C o mm o n w e alth  wi l m ake  e ve r eff o r t ad h e r to  the  f o l l o wing  sc h ed u l e. 

Questions regarding the RFA should be directed to the RA account  ( with the subject titled Home Visiting Expansion RFA Question. Submitted questions cannot and will not be answered until the pre-proposal webinar. Questions answered verbally during the webinar will need to  be confirmed in writing. Confirmed answers will be posted to the eMarketplace website at the date listed below. 

Please feel free to share this opportunity with agencies who may qualify.
  • Deadline to submit questions via email to RFA Project Officer: Wednesday, January 3, 2018
  • Pre-proposal Webinar: Thursday, January 4, 2018. Register here. Webinar ID: 401-898-115
  • Applications must be received by the Issuing Office at: Department of Human Services, Division of Procurement & Contract Management, Room 402 Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120


PHSA Web Site
2018 Winter Administrators Meeting

February 27 & 28, 2018
Best Western Premier Harrisburg, PA

Registration coming soon!

2018 Annual PHSA Conference

April 11-12, 2018
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Seven Springs, PA


Get Involved!


Michelle Smith
Pennsylvania Head Start Association
415 Market Street
Suite 206A
Harrisburg, PA 1710
717-526-4646 (o)
717-508-4681 (c)



Milton Hershey School is a proud sponsor of the Pennsylvania Head Start Association.
Learn how you can open new doors for children