February 2018 edition
An inside look at Pennsylvania's early education system.
What's New for February
Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that Pennsylvania’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan received final approval from the U.S. Department of Education. The new state plan marks the first substantial inclusion of early education in the state plan for education. The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) recently released a policy brief reviewing state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. The review focuses on three key priorities for early learning in ESSA. Read the brief, then visit the PA Department of Education's website for more info. Find out what role early education plays in ESSA .
OCDEL's We Are Pennsylvania Early Care and Education Campaign continues in February. Check out weeks 6-9 where you can get the up close and personal view of Funding , Keystone STARS , Kindergarten Transition and Family Centers . Did you miss weeks 1-4? It's not too late to check them out .
Congratulations to Cheryl Spicer who was named the inaugural recipient of the 2017 Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) Recognition Program . Cheryl is a Nurse Home Visitor (NHV) with Sadler Health Center NFP in Carlisle, PA. In her eleven years as a NHV, Cheryl has completed over 4,000 home visits with over 5,000 hours of face-to-face time with NFP moms. 

Congratulations to Shelley Chapin, EITA consultant, who was was selected to be Pennsylvania’s Ambassador for Learn the Signs, Act Early , a program focused on early identification of autism. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities is seeking to have all states implement the Learn the Signs. Act Early. program of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. As ambassador, Shelly will join the other states selected Ambassadors in March for training on the materials. She will then be supported for two years with materials and technical assistance to promote this program across early childhood and home visiting programs throughout Pennsylvania. 
Early Education in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s Every Student Succeeds Act Plan Receives Final Approval
First substantial inclusion of early education in the state plan for education
Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that Pennsylvania’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan received final approval from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). The plan sets ambitious goals for closing, and ultimately eliminating, achievement gaps; increases attention to student growth in school accountability and improvement efforts; and commits to a full, fair, and transparent presentation of school success based on a more comprehensive set of measures. 
The Consolidated Plan marks the first substantial inclusion of early education in the state plan for education. In particular, the plans highlights promoting successful transitions in early childhood through postsecondary education and promoting successful transitions from pre-K to Kindergarten. Also included is OCDEL's involvement with interagency collaboration and supports, as well as providing technical assistance and supports. Read the Consolidated Plan for additional details
Pilot Program Grant to Promote Financial Sustainability for Early Childhood Programs
A grant from The Heinz Endowments will provide an opportunity for Pennsylvania early childhood programs to increase their financial sustainability and demonstrate strong child outcomes. The $300,000 2-year grant was recently awarded to Tuscarora Intermediate Unit (TIU) 11, in partnership with OCDEL, to pilot regional shared service alliances to support improving quality early childhood programs. 
Many early childhood programs do not have the staffing and fiscal resources to provide comprehensive management services so they can provide quality staff support resulting in better child outcomes. While larger child care programs may have staffing, fiscal or human resources in place, "stand alone" early learning centers may have only a single director responsible for many vital tasks and have a lack of scale to improve fiscal resources.
Shared services have been shown to alleviate some, if not all, of the financial and business stress that may permeate the early learning business model. The shared services model strives to leverage several smaller programs needs and develop a sustainable response to the staffing and support gaps. This allows multiple child care programs, pre-k programs, and other community-focused entities to come together to share resources, reduce administrative costs, and increase professional development. Business functions can be prioritized and assigned to subject matter experts, leaving more time for early learning professionals to do what they do best—care for and teach children.
Under the grant, three pilot sites will be strategically selected to reflect a variety of populations in Pennsylvania and will include recruitment from a wide pool of applicants throughout the state. OCDEL will focus on scaling shared services at the local level across diverse community settings, identifying and implementing supportive policy practices at the state level to incentivize the adoption of the shared service model, and assist in building sustainability.
OCDEL's New Multi-Tier System of Support Promotes Future Reading and Writing Success
Dad and infant boy reading
Early language and literacy development begins in infancy and continues through the toddler and preschool years. A multi-tiered system of support uses high quality instruction, regular progress monitoring and data informed decisions to better match children’s learning needs with appropriate supports. OCDEL has developed a multi-tiered system of support for language and literacy that introduces the core content necessary for future reading and writing success. It reflects the importance of a solid foundation as well as information related to more targeted and intensive supports necessary for some young learners.
Visit the Early Language and Literacy topic of interest page on the EITA online learning portal to find the language and literacy pyramid. Be sure to explore the universal tier to find practices and strategies that support core content areas, and don’t miss the links to resources for both home visiting programs and center based programs! 
Elementary Schools Invited to Participate in KEI for 2018-19 School Year
All Pennsylvania elementary schools are encouraged to implement Pennsylvania’s Kindergarten Entry Inventory in the 2018-2019 school year in preparation for enhanced ESSA requirements. The Kindergarten Entry Inventory is available to all school districts at no cost.

Pennsylvania’s Kindergarten Entry Inventory (KEI) is a reliable reporting tool that offers teachers an instructional strategy for understanding and tracking a student’s proficiency at kindergarten entry. The tool collects information on a consistent set of standards-based indicators across the commonwealth.

The KEI is based on Pennsylvania’s Learning Standards for Early Childhood and the Pennsylvania Core Standards. KEI includes 30 indicators and provides a comprehensive profile that includes the domains of:
  • Social and Emotional Development;
  • English Language Arts;
  • Mathematics;
  • Approaches to Learning; and
  • Health, Wellness and Physical Development.

The Pennsylvania Kindergarten Entry Inventory is a tangible tool to assist districts in understanding the comprehensive learning strengths and needs of students entering the K-12 setting, in establishing common expectations and language for beginning and extending collaborative conversations with pre-kindergarten programs and families, and in planning and implementing joint professional development opportunities that focus on strengthening evidence-based practices for young learners. For more information on how to participate with the KEI, please visit the PA Key website .
Former Pittsburgh Association for The Education of Young Children Rebrands
The Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) recently announced an organization rebranding as Trying Together. Trying Together Executive Director Cara Ciminillo says while the organization’s name is changing, the work of supporting high-quality care and education for young children will not change. Through a new five-year strategic plan approved by the Board of Directors in 2017, Trying Together will begin developing resources for families to support them in making decisions about their children’s early learning experiences. For more information, please see the press release .
Register to be a PA One Book Guest Reader or Host Site  
Registration through March 9
Help support early literacy during April through Pennsylvania's One Book Every Young Child! Individuals are invited to be a PA One Book reader during the month of April at an early learning program in your community. Registration is also open for early learning programs to host a guest reader during April. The PA One Book, Every Young Child is Pennsylvania's collaborative project using the vehicle of "One Book, One State" program to highlight the importance of early literacy development. 

This year's selection, My Cousin Momo , written and illustrated by Zachariah OHora, is a story that explores accepting and celebrating differences. 

Reading events will take place during April. Guest readers are provided with a copy of the book and can select a time and date during April that works best with their schedule. Register to be a guest reader by completing the  Guest Reader Online Registration . Register to be a host site by completing the  Host Site Online Registration .
Save the Dates
Pennsylvania's PD Registry: Things To Know and Do
3 Quick Tips for the New PD Registry!
On February 1, 2018, the PD Registry launched a new system that is easy to navigate, seamless and reliable. Try these three easy tips with the new PD Registry.

  1. Login today. You can login to your PD Registry account by visiting www.pakeys.org and clicking the lime green PD Registry Login button on the homepage. You can also login directly at www.papdregistry.com. Please use the e-mail and password you had in the prior registry to verify and access your account. If the system identifies that you may have more than one account, it may ask for more information to verify your account.
  2. Complete your profile. After logging in to the PD Registry, please confirm your profile information and fill in any missing details.
  3. Find trainings fast. Whether your preference is face-to-face training or taking a training online, there is something for everyone and finding it is easier than ever. To take a look at what is available in your area, select Training Calendar from the left hand menu.

Questions? Get answers. E-mail registry@pakeys.org or call 1-800-284-6031. Like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on the latest PD Registry news.
Of Interest
Webinar Series About Strategies for Building and Financing the Supply of High-Quality Child Care
The National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (ECQA Center) will host a series of webinars about increasing the supply of and improving the quality of child care services for children in underserved areas, infants and toddlers, children with disabilities, and children who receive care during nontraditional hours. 

This series is geared toward those interested in identifying gaps in the availability of child care in high-need communities, exploring rate strategies to finance child care at the state/territory and local levels, discussing the latest innovations with other states, and hearing about practical tools to support supply-building efforts. These national webinars are open to anyone who is interested. 

  • February 13, 2018, 2:00–3:30 p.m.: Identifying, Mapping, and Alleviating Child Care Deserts. Discussion about ways to identify child care supply shortages in high-need areas and the impact on communities. To learn more details and to register, please visit this website.
  • March 6, 2018, 2:00–3:30 p.m.: Innovation in State and Local Finance. A discussion about state and local revenue-generation strategies that fund quality services for children. To learn more details and to register, please access this website.
  • May 1, 2018, 2:00–3:30 p.m.: Using Grants and Contracts, Payment Rates, and Financial Incentives To Increase Supply and To Improve Quality. Hear from states that have used different strategies related to provider payments, grants and contracts, and financial incentives. To learn more details and to register, please visit this website.
  • June 4, 2018, 2:00–3:30 p.m.: Innovative Models To Build, Expand, and Sustain Quality Facilities and Services in High-Need Communities. Three localities will share how they are using creative ways to build and sustain the supply of child care in high-need communities. To learn more details and to register, please visit this website.

If you have questions, please contact the ECQA Center at QualityAssuranceCenter@ecetta.info . To learn about resources and technical assistance opportunities from the ECQA Center, please visit the Nation Center of Early Childhood Quality Assurance website .
2018 National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute
The  National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute is one of the premier educational opportunities for anyone involved in the care and education of young children with special needs in inclusive settings. Dozens of world-class experts, dozens of groundbreaking sessions, free courses for CEUs—and an enduring impact. Registration is now open for the May 8 – 10 event in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
2018 National Family Engagement Summit
Don't miss the opportunity to learn from the nation's top experts in education. The National Family Engagement Summit to be held March 21-23 in Richmond, VA will help support goals to promote collaborative family and school partnerships and strengthen the capacity building of staff. Dynamic presenters, exciting breakout sessions, and great networking opportunities.
Research and Reports
The State of Preschool 2016
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released the latest edition of an annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. NIEER’s The State of Preschool 2016 yearbook is the only national report on state-funded preschool programs with detailed information on enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications, and other policies related to quality, such as the presence of a qualified teacher and assistant, small class size, and low student-to-teacher ratio.

See how Pennsylvania fared in the PA Ready to Learn Block Grant, PA Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, PA K for four-year olds and school-based pre-K, and PA Pre-K Counts.
The State of Early Learning in ESSA: Plans and Opportunities for Implementation 
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law late in 2015, gives state education agencies (SEAs) the opportunity to bring early learning to the forefront of their education strategies.
The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) recently released  The State of Early Learning in ESSA: Plans and Opportunities for Implementation ,  a policy brief reviewing state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education as of October 1, 2017.
The review focuses on three key priorities for early learning in ESSA:
  1. Setting clear goals and policy priorities for early learning,
  2. Integrating early learning into school improvement, and
  3. Supporting early childhood educator development. 
This policy brief provides guidance for best practices that can be used or adapted as SEA’s evaluate the effectiveness of their plans as states move deeper into implementation. This document also includes a chart showing how each state addresses seven areas within their ESSA plans. Visit the PA Department of Education's website for more details on Pennsylvania's ESSA plan.
Report: Coaching is a Promising Professional Development Strategy for Early Educators 
A recent report, Primetime for Coaching: Improving Instructional Coaching in Early Childhood Education , from Bellwether Education Partners considers early childhood education coaching programs and research at the state, local, and federal level, for educators of children ages birth to five, with a particular focus on Head Start programs. It summarizes what we know about coaching in early childhood education and shares some of the challenges, lessons, and opportunities emerging from research and program experiences. Then it recommends how early learning program leaders, policymakers, funders, and researchers can encourage and implement coaching more effectively.
Hydraulic Fracturing and Infant Health: New Evidence From Pennsylvania
The development of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is considered the biggest change to the global energy production system in the last half-century. However, several communities have banned fracking because of unresolved concerns about the impact of this process on human health. To evaluate the potential health impacts of fracking, a recent study, Hydraulic fracturing and infant health: New evidence from Pennsylvania , published in the December 2017 edition of Science Advances, analyzed records of more than 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2013, comparing infants born to mothers living at different distances from active fracking sites and those born both before and after fracking was initiated at each site. Evidence was found for negative health effects of in utero exposure to fracking sites within 3 km of a mother’s residence, with the largest health impacts seen for in utero exposure within 1 km of fracking sites.
Dual Language Learners: A National Demographic and Policy Profile
Fact sheets from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), Dual Language Learners: A National Demographic and Policy Profile , offer a sociodemographic sketch of the Dual Language Learners (DLL) population (and comparison to non-DLL peers) at both the national level and in the 30 states--including Pennsylvania--with the most DLLs, providing data on age and enrollment, race/ethnicity, income and poverty levels, parental English proficiency and educational attainment, and top home languages spoken in DLL househo lds. The fact sheets also provide an overview of the policies states have introduced to support DLLs and their families in accessing quality early childhood education and care programs, drawing from an MPI survey of state early childhood education and care agencies.
Free Briefs Provide Info and Strategies for Building Self-Regulation Skills
This new series of reader-friendly briefs from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, collected by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute offers guidance about how to promote the development of children's self-regulation skills across settings and age groups.
The ABC's of Afterschool Programs Podcast
In this podcast of Our American States , Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, talks about what is happening nationally in the afterschool field, and Texas State Representative Trent Ashby gives a perspective on how afterschool programs work on the state level.
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