Welcome to the Mid-State Regional Key STARS Newsletter!! 
OCDEL News & Updates

Change Impacts ERS Visits for STARS Providers 

An upcoming change for ERS visits means that only sites intending to move up a STAR level will schedule ERS visits so they can lock in their increased STAR level before next year. When the revised Keystone STARS program launches on July 1, 2017, currently designated programs will be able to maintain their 2016-17 STAR level through 2017-18. Effective February 1, 2017, OCDEL will prioritize scheduling of Environment Rating Scale (ERS) visits to programs moving to a higher STAR level before June 30, 2017.  

Due to this prioritization, all types of STAR level maintenance ERS visits will be postponed until further notice, and will resume after the move-up ERS visits are complete. Current ERS scores will be extended for two years for programs renewing their STARS Designation. For more information, visit the PA Key website or contact your Regional Key. 

Program Quality Assessment Team Blog Goes Live
The PA Key announces the launch of an all new blog, “Let’s Talk Quality! Program Quality Assessment in PA.” Visit frequently to learn about high quality practices in early childhood and school age programming, how developmentally appropriate practices support the use of the Environment Rating Scale® (ERS®) and much more. New posts will occur each week. You can even submit questions to the team by completing the contact form found on the blog. Check it out today!
Blog URLs

STARS Re-Visioning Updates 

Keystone STARS Revisioning Update

January 19 webinar reveals new STARS structure, opportunities to participate   

Did you miss the January Keystone STARS Revisioning Webinar? Watch the recording or download the PowerPoint to view at your convenience . Pennsylvania's Quality Rating and Improvement System, Keystone STARS, is one of the most mature systems in the country to improve quality in child care / early learning programs. As Pennsylvania strives to increase access to high-quality services, now is the time to refine Keystone STARS so that it is more efficient for providers to participate and more effective at improving child outcomes. Revisions to the Keystone STARS system will begin roll-out for the 2017-18 program year. The webinar highlights the movement in this process.

February FAQ: Should I be trying to increase my STAR level now or wait until 2017-18?
  • If you increase your STAR level this fiscal year, you can maintain that increased STAR in 2017-18. You may also receive the benefits of increased tiered reimbursement and grants and awards by increasing your STAR level now.
Visit the Keystone STARS Re-visioning web page for answers to other frequently-asked questions. 

There is still time to participate in the Re-visioning process! Get up to speed on the work of the Indicators, Professional Development, and Communications workgroups, and submit any comments or questions to

STARS Updates from the Mid-State RK

Register to be a PA One Book Guest Reader or Host Site: Registration through March 8th 

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, Daniel Finds a Poem, written and illustrated by Micha Archer, is a story about a boy who goes on an adventure through a park trying to find answers to his question, "What is poetry?" 

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 RegistrationRegister to be a host site by completing the Host Site Online Registration.

Health & Safety News 

Caring for Our Children 3rd Edition

National Health and Safety Performance StandardsGuidelines for Early Care and Education Programs

Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition (CFOC3) is a collection of 686 national standards that represent the best evidence, expertise, and experience in the country on quality health and safety practices and policies that should be followed in today's early care and education settings.

Family Provider News

February 25th in Camp Hill 

Topics include Outdoor Activities, Powerful Interactions, Using Photos & Visuals, Fulfilling your Potential, Money Management, and Unlimited Play.

Infant & Toddler News - Kim Alloway 

Read the attached article for more information assess your environment & children's skill levels to help promote improved behavior. 
SACC News 

Updated Flyer - Save the Date - SACC Mini-Conference 4/7/17             

Finding Kindergarten Registration Information

Many Pennsylvania counties have provided Kindergarten registration information for their school districts. Families throughout the state can access this information and help prepare their child for the important transition into Kindergarten. Early learning programs can share this information with their families as well! Find Kindergarten registration information in your community at the PA Promise for Children website.

Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!

Grant Closure - join us to review the Receipt Splitting Chart, learn how to keep your receipts organized, and to find out what you need to do to CLOSE your grant!

  • 2/7/17 at Panera Bread on Jonestown Rd in Harrisburg from 9:30-11:30 - with Corrie 
  •  2/8/17 at Lancaster Penn State Coop from 12:30-3 with Jenn & Alyssa
  • 2/11/17 at Panera Bread on Queen St in York from 10-12 with Jen D.  
  • 2/22/17 at Panera Bread on Carlisle Rd in York from 9-10:30 - with Carrie 
  • 2/28/17 at Perkins in Mansfield from 9-10:30 - with Erica G. & Jenn
  • 2/28/17 at Child Development and Family Council in State College from 1-2:30 - with Elizabeth & Jenn 
  • 3/2/17 at Lebanon YMCA from 1-3 - with Corrie 

Art for Infants & Toddlers with Kim Alloway - designed for Directors to learn what types of art activities should be happening in your Infant/Toddler classrooms. PD Hours will be provided.

  • 2/8/17 at Christ Lutheran, Dallastown at 1:30 - Carrie
  • 2/9/17 at Camp Hill Giant at 12:30 - with Christina 

Director Roundtable & Parent to Parent Overview - 2/7/17 at Hoss's in Gettysburg at 12:30 - with Christina 

Care Plans with Anne Dodds - 2/15/17 at Union County Library at 10:00 - with Michaelle 

Lycoming ECE Meeting - 2/16/17 at Williamsport YMCA at 11:00 - with Erica G. & Bea 

Professional Development Updates - register on the PD Registry at the PA Keys website

Training Lists & Updated Events 

Core Series Training

  • STARS Orientation at CAECTI 2/21/17
    Part I from 9-12 and Part II from 12:30-3:30
  • ERS Foundations in Lititz on 2/20/17 from 10-12
  • ECERS-3 in Lititz on 2/20/17 from 1-4 
  • ECERS-3 in York on 2/20/17 from 9:30-12:30

Other Training Organizations & Online Training 

Webinar Highlight

Grant Reminders
The deadline to submit your MERA grant request is 10 days after your STARS Renewal or Move up date. If you have already renewed your STAR level for 2016-17, please submit your grant request  electronically  to your specialist ASAP. If you have not yet renewed and plan on requesting a grant, please contact your specialist to renew now!

Grant Closures – If you have received your grant funds, please keep in mind that you must CLOSE your grant within 90 days of the date on the check that you received. There are several Grant closure meetings scheduled (see above).  If you would like to set up an individual Grant Closure meeting, please contact your specialist to do so.  This should be done no later than 3 weeks prior to your deadline date (in case you need to get more receipts/documentation).

Resources from our other ECE Partners

Apply Now for Blended Pennsylvania Framework for Leadership Course
To expand the opportunities for professional development within the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) Program, a series of blended courses aligned to the Pennsylvania Framework for Leadership is being offered. This course is focused on effective P-3 (prenatal-grade 3) planning and implementation, which is designed to help all children succeed. 

This coursework focuses on communication and effective strategies between all stakeholder in a P-3 system where the 0-5 and K-3 administrators lead in modeling the process. School leaders will delve deeply into issues relevant to leading P-3 initiatives in collaboration with other programs and school leaders. The course is appropriate for early education and school staff, including superintendents, principals, executive directors, early childhood administrators and more. The 2017 course is being offered in four different regions. 

See the flyer for dates, application process, and additional information.
Newsletters and Community Resources 
Thank you for all you do for children, families, and your community by being part of the STARS program!


Mid-State Regional Key/Child Care Consultants

(717) 854-2273 or (800) 864-4925