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.
August 2017 Top News
Message from Suzann Morris, Deputy Secretary

The summer continues to be a busy one for OCDEL and our partners!

We are excited to invite elementary schools to be a part of Cohort 4 to implement Pennsylvania's Kindergarten Entry Inventory (KEI) in the 2017-2018 school year in preparation for enhanced ESSA requirements. The KEI is available to all school districts at no cost. See the announcement below for more information and watch the brief video that highlights a peer-to-peer look at the purpose and benefits of KEI implementation.

Our excitement continues with the release of the RFA for the Innovative Programs for Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Education Workforce to build sustainable career-orientated pathways in support of our early childhood professionals.  Take a look at the RFA and share it with your community, higher education and early learning contacts.

There's also great news about Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Project. An external evaluation concluded the ECMH consultation program has positive impacts on young children and teachers.  Read the details in the report.

In PA budget news, HB218 became law on July 10th at midnight and provided Pennsylvania with an approved spending plan; however, we are still waiting on accompanying bills to finalize the 2017-18 budget. For now, Treasury will not hold payments and we are not in an impasse situation at this time. However, we do need resolution of the rest of the budget package to ensure there are no future disruptions.

While the 2017-18 budget does not include all the increases proposed by the Governor in February, the 2017-18 budget does build on the Governor's commitment to high-quality early learning services.  budget

Budget highlights include:
  • Community-Based Family Centers: The 2017-18 budget includes an additional $5 million to serve approximately 940 additional families with evidence-based home visiting. 
  • Nurse-Family Partnership: Level funded. 
  • Early Intervention Birth-3: More than $10 million in additional state and federal funding to serve 38,800 infants and toddlers.
  • Preschool Early Intervention, 3-5: An increase of $11 million to support increased costs of serving those in the existing program and to serve approximately 1,100 additional children for a total of 54,800 preschoolers.
  • Child Care Services: A $20 million increase to Child Care Services. This increased funding will support 12-month eligibility to comply with the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant reauthorization, ensure children and families have greater child care stability, and meet the Governor's goal of serving an additional 1,800 children off the Child Care Works wait list. Approximately 201,800 children will be served in Child Care Works in 2017-18.
  • Child Care Assistance: Reduced by $12 million. This reduction will be offset by using available prior year state funding. There will be no negative impact to children served. Child Care Assistance supports TANF, Former TANF and SNAP children and families.
  • Keystone STARS: Redirects $13 million of existing Keystone STARS Grants and Awards federal funding to improve tiered reimbursement rates for STAR 3 and 4 providers by approximately 23%.
  • Pre-K Expansion: Includes a $30 million investment in early childhood education to serve approximately 3,300 additional children, 27,020 total.
    • $25 million additional funding for PA Pre-K Counts 
    • $5 million additional funding for Head Start Supplemental
We will share additional budget information as it becomes available, so check your email for a possible Special Announcement.
Early Education in Pennsylvania

ECMHECMH Report Shows Significant Positive Impacts on Young Children & Teachers 

A recent report finds that Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Consultation program has statistically significant positive impacts on young children and their teachers, with teacher-reported child behavior significantly improved and teacher implementation of strategies that support young children's social-emotional development significantly increased. 

The report, Pennsylvania Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: External Evaluation Report, was a result of OCDEL's  request for an external review to analyze the ECMH Consultation implementation in Pennsylvania to identify its strengths and potential areas of growth. The report includes two years' worth of outcomes analysis, identified strengths of the Pennsylvania model of ECMHC, as well as targeted recommendations that are under consideration for implementation. 

Pennsylvania was recently awarded three years of intensive technical assistance from the Center of Excellence which will be focused on advancing Pennsylvania's Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) systems, including planning, implementation, evaluation, and/or sustainability efforts. The External Evaluation Report will be integral in this work over the next three years. 

For more information about the report or the IECMHC technical assistance activities, please contact Brandy Fox, PA ECMHC Project Manager at brafox@pakeys.org

RFARFA: Innovative Programs for Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Education Workforce 
    • Pre-proposal conference August 4
    • Applications due September 29
The PA Department of Education and OCDEL have announced the Innovative Programs for Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Education Workforce application guidelines, established to ensure that early childhood education (ECE) professionals have the required knowledge and skills to help all young children learn and develop. These guidelines provide direction to partnerships as they submit applications focusing on building new innovative and sustained career-oriented pathways for current early childhood workers to earn the following ECE industry-recognized credentials: 
    • A credit-bearing Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate; 
    • An associate's degree; 
    • A bachelor's degree; and/or 
    • A Pennsylvania ECE PreK-4 instructional certificate. 
ocdel logo 2016
Pathways created under these guidelines are designed to develop the capacity for early childhood educators to help all young children learn across the age groups of birth to eight years old. Applications submitted in response to these guidelines are limited to partnerships aimed at nurturing and sustaining high quality cross-systems relationships among and between two-year and four-year institutions of higher education (IHEs) and Pennsylvania's early learning programs. 

A pre-proposal conference will be conducted via a webinar scheduled for 9:00 A.M. until noon on August 4, 2017. The purpose of this conference is (1) to clarify the guidelines; (2) to emphasize portions of the guidelines considered especially important; and (3) to answer questions. See the Notice and the Guidelines for information about the webinar and RFA.

There is still time to apply for the 2017-18 OCDEL Policy Fellowship 
Application deadline August 5

Get your application submitted for the 2017-18 OCDEL Policy Fellowship before the August 5 deadline! The OCDEL Policy Fellowship is a great opportunity to learn more about state and federal policy, as well as grow your professional network and gain leadership. An approximately 20-hour per month commitment, you will have the opportunity to contribute directly to the work of OCDEL as you attend monthly cohort meetings in Harrisburg and participate in a variety of meetings and activities at a placement site. Applications and information are available online at www.paocdelfellows.net. All emerging leaders in early learning are encouraged to apply by August 5! Contact Gina Federico at gfederico@pattan.net with any questions.

The Partnerships for Innovative Troops to Teachers Programs to Expand Pennsylvania's Teacher Workforce in Subject Shortage Areas 
Applications due September 5

The Partnerships for Innovative Troops to Teachers Programs to Expand Pennsylvania's Teacher Workforce in Subject Shortage Areas application guidelines  provide direction to applicants interested in implementing an innovative, alternative post-baccalaureate program to prepare cohorts of eligible veterans to teach in one or more of Pennsylvania's subject shortage areas as a result of their completing a Pennsylvania instructional certification program. The goal is for veterans to become certified teachers and to be hired to teach in hard-to-fill teaching vacancies. Pre-K specialties are included in the Subject Shortage Area. A pre-proposal webinar will be held from 9:00 to 11:30 on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on September 5, 2017. Visit the PA Department of Education website for additional details.

Apply now for T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships for 2017-18 

Are you or your staff interested in attending college this Fall? If so now is the time to apply to T.E.A.C.H.! Scholarship applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, however it's recommend that students apply at least 4-6 weeks before their intended semester begins.  

Do you need more information about getting started in T.E.A.C.H.? Or need technical assistance in how to make it work for your staff and program? Call 717-657-9000 and speak to a T.E.A.C.H. Counselor who can assist you or visit the PA Child Care Association website for more info.

Save the Date: 20th Children's Interagency Conference 

Mark your calendar for the 20th Children's Interagency Conference, scheduled for April 30-May 3, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA. The 20th Children's Interagency Conference will bring together Pennsylvania's Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) and System of Care (SOC) partners providing behavioral health services to children, youth, and young adults ages birth-26 and their families. The conference will focus on 
    • prevention, resilience, and advocacy; 
    • preschool intervention; 
    • clinical skill development; 
    • administrative leadership and policy and program development; 
    • workshops for high-schoolers. 
Watch for additional details and a call for presentations; vendor and sponsorship opportunities. For more info, contact ra-pwinteragencyconf@pa.gov or visit pasocpartnership.org .

More Than Health & Safety - Meet Federal Requirements, too! 

What: Free online training for nine of the 10 required topics for child care staff. 

Why: The trainings are to help meet the new health and safety training requirements of the federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) that all child care directors and staff are to complete training on 10 health and safety topics by September 30, 2017. Completing these free modules (covering nine of 10 required topics) also means you earn annual training hours! 

How: The free, six-hour "Health & Safety Basics: Requirements for Certification" course is available online through Better Kid Care, or in person through your Regional Key. 

When: Now! The CCDBG deadline is September 20, 2017, but don't wait until the last minute. Because the courses are available online, you can take them in the evenings or on the weekend! 

Your next step? Visit the PA Key or contact your Regional Key for more information, or access the online training for free at the Better Kid Care website and get started today!

Upcoming Deadlines
Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge
Elementary schools invited to sign up now for Cohort 4 implementation of the Pennsylvania Kindergarten Entry Inventory

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides opportunities to strengthen the contribution of high quality early childhood education in school reform and improvement efforts. The new law recognizes that school success starts before a student enters the K-12 setting. It calls on states to describe how they will assist school districts and elementary schools to collaborate with early childhood education programs, and to invest in evidence-based practices. ESSA supports early learning and LEA collaboration in three main ways: (1) expanding access to high-quality early learning; (2) encouraging alignment and collaboration from birth through third grade; and (3) supporting educators. 

The Pennsylvania Kindergarten Entry Inventory (KEI) 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.

All elementary schools are encouraged to implement Pennsylvania's Kindergarten Entry Inventory in the 2017-2018 school year in preparation for enhanced ESSA requirements. The Kindergarten Entry Inventory is available to all school districts at no cost. 

Watch the video to see what Kindergarten and early learning teachers have to say about the benefits of using the KEI. 

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.
Of Interest

Call for Presenters: 2018 Social and Emotional Learning Conference: Building Skills for Lifelong Success 
Application deadline August 18

The Center for Schools and Communities seeks high quality, effective presentations addressing the latest research and promising practices in supporting children's social and emotional development, student engagement and school climate improvement. The conference, Building Skills for Lifelong Success, to be held May 9-10, 2018 in Harrisburg, is designed to provide quality professional development opportunities for school administrators, school psychologists, school counselors, social workers, youth development workers, early childhood professionals, student support specialists, staff who serve on SAP teams, alternative education teachers, homeless liaisons, foster care points of contact and other professionals who work on behalf of children and youth. 

Child Care Wellness Mini-Grant Opportunity
Application deadline August 18

Licensed Child Care Centers, Group, and Family Child Care Homes serving children birth - five are invited to apply for the PA Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (PA NAP SACC) mini-grant. PA NAP SACC an interactive, easy-to-use online tool that provides professional development for child care providers. This completely web-based process includes self-assessment, action planning, implementation, policy development, post-self-assessment, and reflection. To apply, please complete and submit the application electronically using the link provided. Please note this application must be completed in one setting and cannot be started, then returned to at a later date to complete. Please allow yourself enough time to complete the application in one sitting. To preview the questions on the application ahead of time, please click here for a PDF version. To see the full announcement, see the Full Announcement.

Apply for a Scholarship to attend NAEYC Conference 
Application deadline August 20 

Up to 21 scholarships providing free conference registration will be awarded to NAEYC members who are exemplary emerging leaders for the 2017 NAEYC Annual Conference and Expo in Atlanta, November 15-18. Funded by NAEYC's Building a Lasting Legacy Campaign, NAEYC Conference Scholarships allow emerging leaders to experience the many opportunities for professional development and networking at NAEYC conferences. Separate competitions fund awards to cover registration fees for NAEYC's Professional Learning Institute and Annual Conference. Current NAEYC members are eligible to apply. Visit the NAEYC website for additional details.

CDA Renewal Amnesty Program Extends Renewal Deadline 
New deadline December 29, 2017

The Council's Renewal Amnesty Program allows anyone with a CDA® Credential expiration date as far back as January 1, 2007 to apply for a renewal online. This amnesty opportunity provides a waiver of the CDA holder's expiration date. It does not waive the five steps required to renew a CDA®. All application and payments must be submitted online by the Amnesty Program expiration
date of December 29, 2017 with no exceptions or extensions. Get more info.

For Fall 2017: Online Course at Temple University: Movement and Learning in Early Childhood 

Temple University will be offering a three-credit course called Movement and Learning in Early Childhood, beginning August 28. The course can be taken at the undergraduate or graduate level. The course is designed to help those working in early childhood care and education settings safely conduct gross motor experiences for children. There are no prerequisites to take the course. The main content of the course will include: 
  • children's gross motor development 
  • teaching movement concepts and skills 
  • using movement activities to teach academic content 
  • facilitating children's unstructured free play
  • safety considerations when conducting movement experiences 
Please contact the course instructor Dr. Jeff Gehris (jgehris@temple.edu or 215.204.1954) for more information and to register.
Trends and Reports

How Parents Widen or Shrink Academic Gapsinvolvement

High-income parents are often more involved with certain activities at their children's school than lower-income parents - volunteering in their children's school, attending school meetings, and so on - experiences that can link them to more opportunities and resources for their children and more influence in schools. A recent article, How Parents Widen--or Shrink--Academic Gaps, in Education Week takes a look how those differences in parent involvement can create hidden disparities that are easy for schools to overlook but hard for poor families to overcome. 

Ten Things the Business Community Can Do to Advance Access to High-Quality Child Care 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Center for Education and Workforce has released a report, Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow: The Business Case for High-Quality Childcare, to explore the under-recognized role of high-quality child care in the education and workforce pipeline. The report outlines 10 things that the business community can do to advance access to high-quality child care. 

How to limit beverage and screen time in early learning settings

Following recent recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics on juice intake and screen time for young children, the Philadelphia Board of Health has released the document, Beverages and Screen Time in Early Childhood Education. The document recommends early childhood providers and their food vendors consider (even more than many already are) about how to limit juice and cut down on the amount of sugar consumed by the youngest children. It also provides recommendations for limiting the amount of screen time in child care settings. See the documents for child care providers and for parents and caregivers.

New way for military families to easily find child care no matter where the military takes them. 

The U.S. Department of Defense website provides a single gateway for military families to find comprehensive information on military-operated or military-approved child care programs worldwide. With MilitaryChildCare.com, families create an account and maintain a family profile that can be accessed at any time from any location. Any Pennsylvania families--military or civilian--can search for an early learning provider or program at www.findchildcare.pa.gov.

Take a Healthy Summer Break Infographic 

The Take a Healthy Summer Break Infographic from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a colorful one-page resource that schools and community groups can distribute to parents to increase awareness of the importance of healthy choices during the summer months. This infographic includes illustrations and statistics and offers practical solutions for busy families to make healthier food, beverage, and physical activity choices over the summer. Print it in English or Spanish.

A Guide to Using The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool to Support Farm-to-ECE Models farm

The Policy Equity Group has available A Guide to Using the The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool to Support Farm-to-ECE Models. This resource aligns farm to ECE strategies with one of the most widely used ECE curricula, The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool. The guide explores how teachers can use The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and associated resources as a foundation to embed farm to ECE learning opportunities into their existing practices.

July Edition of Baby Talk 

The July edition of Camille Catlett's Baby Talk shares information on how much babies cry varies from country to country, slower toddler speech development linked to amount of screen time, and more. 

App Bridges the Technological Divide to Engage 100% of Parents 

ClassTag, a free parent engagement app for teachers and schools, announces an intelligent multi-channel communication suite, supporting the web, mobile app, SMS and printed messages to allow teachers to reach all parents. ClassTag is the first service to support personalized, meaningful, two-way communication with all parents regardless of what devices they use, and even if they are entirely offline.

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The Pennsylvania Early Childhood Education News is a project of the Pennsylvania Build Initiative and the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Human Services to inform early learning professionals, the early childhood community, policymakers, community leaders and the public on developments in early childhood education and care in Pennsylvania.

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