Welcome to the Mid-State Regional Key STARS Newsletter!! 

Child Care Consultants' upcoming Denim & Diamonds fundraiser will be held on April 6th at LSC Design in York. Register Here.
OCDEL News & Updates

Family Meals Workshops Grant Opportunity 

Application deadline March 24 

A mini-grant opportunity is available to child care providers to support community engagement activities aimed at addressing childhood obesity.  The Pennsylvania Race to the Top Family Meals Workshops Grant Opportunity is being offered by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to early childhood programs participating in Keystone STARS. Fourteen grants ($2,500 each) will be awarded to 14 child care programs participating at STAR level 2, 3 or 4, including family child care providers, who complete a grant application and are selected to participate. For additional information, please visit the PA Key website.        

Application Deadline Extended for the P-3 Governor's Institute 

Extended application deadline March 17, 2017 

The deadline to submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Child Development and Early Learning, 2017 Prenatal to Grade 3 (P-3) Governor's Institute: P-3 Collaboration - Working Together for Student Success has been extended to March 17, 2017.  

The Pennsylvania's P-3 Governor's Institute aims to help school districts, early learning providers, and community organizations throughout the commonwealth make the vital connections and collaborations necessary for student success from prenatal through grade 3. The 2017 P-3 Governor's Institutes are being offered regionally: 

School districts, birth-5 early learning programs, and community organizations may submit an application. Get additional details and how your team can apply to participate.

STARS Re-Visioning Updates 

Keystone STARS Re-visioning Update:  Proposed Supports for Keystone STARS programs  

As part of Keystone STARS Revisioning, OCDEL and stakeholders involved in the process want to make sure that limited resources are being used as effectively as possible to provide quality early learning opportunities especially to at-risk children. As a result, OCDEL is proposing the following adjustments to financial supports: 

  • Maintain funding for teacher higher education scholarships (T.E.A.C.H. and Rising STARS Tuition Assistance) and Education and Retention Awards; 
  • Maintain STAR 2 tiered reimbursement and merit awards; 
  • Increase tiered reimbursements for STAR 3 and 4 programs by 23 percent by shifting resources from merit awards. By shifting these resources to tiered reimbursement, providers will have more flexibility with no grant paperwork (saving time and money). With the 12-month redetermination of children receiving Child Care Works, providers will also experience more stability and less paperwork serving these children. Regional Keys can also direct more resources to supporting quality improvement; and the commonwealth can provide more equitable supports for at-risk children. 

The reimbursement gap to cover the cost of quality early learning widens at the higher STAR 3 and 4 levels. Restrictions on merit awards can make it challenging to offset those costs, especially retaining qualified staff. 
The current merit award structure has not resulted in a significant higher percentage of children receiving Child Care Works enrolling in Keystone STAR 3 and 4 facilities. In fact, there is such an inequitable distribution of resources for at-risk children that programs serving the minimum percentage of at-risk children receive more than ten times the amount per at-risk child than programs serving 90-100 percent enrolled children with IEPs or receiving Child Care Works subsidy.

March FAQ: When can I see the new indicators? 

  • OCDEL anticipates releasing the new indicators in May 2017. OCDEL understands that there will need to be time for providers, assessors, and other regional partners to become proficient in the new system. Therefore, providers may maintain their 2016-17 STAR level during 2017-18 as they learn the new system.

Visit the Keystone STARS Re-visioning web page for more information. 

The Keystone STARS Think Tank is scheduled to reconvene March 27 to receive recommendations from the work groups. Get up to speed on the work of the Indicators, Professional Development, and Communications workgroups, and submit any comments or questions to 

This initiative is in part by Pennsylvania's Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant. For more information on other initiatives funded by this grant, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

STARS Updates from the Mid-State RK

Program Quality Assessment Team Launches New Blog

A new blog, Let's Talk Quality! A Program Quality Assessment in Pennsylvania provides news, information, and tips and tricks for all things related to quality practices in early childhood and school age programming. This includes a Head Start or PA Pre-K Counts classroom, family child care or group home. The blog also includes information related to Environment Rating Scale® (ERS®) assessment, but is not limited to only ERS topics. In addition to providing support in the ERS assessment process as it relates to all of Pennsylvania's quality initiatives, the blog also features information on best practices in the field of early childhood education and developmentally appropriate ideas to use in early childhood classrooms. The blog is also intended to be a point of communication for providers to reach out to the assessment team. (Although, the team asks that any questions related to specific site assessments that providers reach out to their Keystone STARS Specialist or Preschool Program Specialist.) For more information and to access the blog, please visit

Health & Safety News - Ann Dodds

Upcoming Pediatric First Aid/CPR Courses
  • Saturday 3/4:  Daupin Co Ext. 8:30am-2pm               
  • Friday 3/17: Giant Camp Hill 8:30-2pm
  • Saturday 4/1: Adams Co. 8:30am-2pm                        
  • Friday 4/7: UW York 8:30-2pm

Active Supervision: Sometimes It's What You Don't Hear That's Important  

New from Head Start is the fact sheet Active Supervision At-A-Glance Six Strategies To Keep Children Safe. The fact sheet is available in English and Spanish. Although written for Head Start, it contains key strategies that can apply to all types of care, to all age groups, and all activities.

Get  Moving Calendar

Want to give families fun and easy ideas to get their children moving every day? Check out Get Moving Today! Activity Calendar from Let's Move. This free resource has 365 activities for families to incorporate movement into their daily activities. For example, families can read a book with children and have them act out the movements. Or, using a make believe paintbrush, families can have children paint their home and ask them to stretch high, reach low, paint fast and paint slow. 

Family Provider News

Better Kid Care Training

Family Child Care: A Unique Role In Supporting Family Engagement

Family child care programs are in a unique position to support quality family engagement practices that contribute to positive outcomes for children and families. Strong family engagement is critical, not supplemental, in promoting children’s healthy development, learning, and wellness. Learn how to build positive partnerships with families, work through challenges to family engagement, and improve the quality of care for children and families in your family child care program. (K3.1 C1 CDA4) 2 hours

Infant & Toddler News - Kim Alloway 

From the Infant Toddler Facebook page: 

TRY THIS! Pick an age from birth to 36 months - put yourself in that position physically (if you picked 4 months you are laying on the floor) and then look at and move around your environment. What do you see, smell and feel? Do this with a group of co-workers. This gives us a great perspective on what our little ones experience on a daily basis. And it helps us notice safety hazards that we might not think about. 

SACC News 

Top Six Ways to Get Your Child Ready For Kindergarten 

Kindergarten registration isn't the only way families and early learning programs and providers can help children prepare for kindergarten. PA's Promise for Children has the top six ways to get a child ready for kindergarten. Easy to print and available in English and Spanish.

First Step: Kindergarten Registration

What's the first step for Kindergarten? Registration! Although each school district has their own process for Kindergarten Registration, typically, families will need to bring specific documents to register their child. This may include:

  • The child's birth certificate
  • Proof of residency (like a utility bill or copy of a lease)
  • Vaccination records (the PA Dept. of Health shares which ones your child needs)
  • Any forms required by the school district, like an application or emergency contact list.

There may be other documents needed, so check with your school district

Some schools set aside specific dates to register for Kindergarten. (See if your school has a specific date.) Others may provide special events, like summer orientation for their incoming students. 

You can start now to help your preschool prepare for kindergarten. Sign up to get the Kindergarten, Here I Come enews and check out these books families recommend about starting school.

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! 

  • 3/9/17 at Lebanon YMCA from 1-3 - with Corrie
  • 3/18/17 at Park City in Lancaster from 9:30-11:30 -with Jen  
  • 3/22/17 at Panera on Carlisle Rd. in York from 1:30-3 - with Carrie

Prepping for Summer Camp with Rhea Simmons - 3/8/17 at Panera on Carlisle Rd in York at 10 - with Carrie

Director's Roundtable

  • 3/16/17 at Panera on Fruitville Pik in Lancaster from 12:30-2:30 - with Jenn W
  • 3/16/17 at Carlisle United Way from 12:30-2:30 - with Christina 
  • 3/21/17 at Panera Bread in Williamsport at 9:30 - with Erica G & Tammy (topic - Designation) 

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. 3/22/17 at 10 at Lewistown Children's Center - with Michaelle 

Early Childhood Coalition Meeting - Tioga 3/8/17 at 1 at BLaST IU in Canton

Lycoming Early Learning Team Meeting 3/23/17 at 11 at East Lycoming SD office 349 Cemetary St. in Hughesville 

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

Training Lists & Updated Events 

Core Series Training

  • CKC & CQI March 25th at Lancaster Coop Extension

Other Training Organizations & Online Training 

Training Highlights

Supporting Dual Language Learners April 4, 2017 from 6-8 at the YWCA of Gettysburg

Presenter-Francine Dutrisac-LIU #12 Services Division

In Adams County, we have seen a significant increase of dual language learners in our early childhood programs. This presentation will help participants better meet the needs of these children and their families. It will focus on second language acquisition and classroom supports as well as cross-cultural awareness as it relates to family engagement.

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

Share the Impact of Early Learning 

PA's Promise for Children provides an opportunity for families and early learning partners to provide their stories about how early learning has made an impact in the lives of children. Now is the time for families and partners in your communities to share the impact of early learning! 

Family or partner stories don't have to long or poetic. They don't have to be dramatic or perfect. Some of the most amazing stories are from families whose children have participated in programs like PA Pre-K Counts, Early Intervention, Head Start, Nurse-Family Partnerships, or have received Child Care Works or attend a Keystone STARS early learning program. 

Sharing a story is easy. It can be sent to as a document or in an email, or it can be submitted online at the PA's Promise for Children website 
Newsletters and Community Resources 

Adams: Early learning partners in Adams County have opened registration for the 2017 Bridging the Gap Seminar. This year's event will be held on March 29 at the Adams County Emergency Call Center. This is a day long seminar for preschool educators, kindergarten teachers and agency employees who work with children. The agenda includes professional development and networking opportunities. Click here for more information.

Juniata: Success By 6 and Juniata County School District are hosting Family Fun Nights on March 14 and March 21. Parents and children who will be coming to kindergarten in the fall have an opportunity to participate in fun hands on kindergarten readiness activities.

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. As preparations are underway for kindergarten registration, the first round of kindergarten 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. March 30, 2017 will be the Early Childhood mini conference organized by Success By 6, Mifflin County School District and the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11. PBIS, technology, math and early literacy sessions will be offered. Due to generous funding there will not be a cost to attendees.For more info, contact Cristy Yoders at          

York:  Since 2015 the United Way of York County has been contracted to be the York County Representative for the statewide  PreK for PA Campaign. The PreK for PA Campaign advocates on the belief that all children should have the access to high quality early childhood education experiences and be ready to enter school ready to learn.  This aligns seamlessly with our early childhood programming here at the United Way as well as our countywide vision for ECE. 
We are currently looking to further engage the community, both organizations and individuals to sign on the Campaign in support of Governor Wolf’s proposed budget to increase early childhood education funding from the state by 75 million dollars.
Here are also some ways PreK for PA the United Way can help you with supporting this campaign:
  1. Host a Parents Event at your school/center, explain the campaign, provide a meal for families and a brief program to parents using the Raising America DVD.
  2. Provide your school/center with PreK for PA postcards where they can sign up individually to support the campaign.  We will pick them up when completed.
  3. Invite you or parents on Capital Caravans to meet with legislators in the capital to discuss the needs of the ECE community ( Birth through Grade 3). Our next capital days are 3/27 and 4/17.
  4. Help your center to “Adopt a Legislator” and engage them in what you do regularly.
QRIS National Newsletters  New Resources Available! 
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