Pennsylvania's Promise for Children  
Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Welcome to BUILD ECE News

February 15, 2012 

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) promotes opportunities
for all Pennsylvania children and families by building systems and providing supports
that help ensure access to high quality child and family services.



OCDEL In Action

LAST CHANCE:  We need your input for the BUILD ECE News Survey 2012! Deadline February 22

We want to know what you think about the BUILD ECE News. Please take a few moments to answer eight short questions and share your feedback. Your responses may help to improve the way important information about quality early learning is delivered within BUILD.

Click here to take the survey, but do it before the survey closes on February 22!  To view past editions of BUILD ECE News or to sign up to receive BUILD via email, please visit the PA's Promise for Children website.


Help celebrate 10 years of Shining Stars! Nominate a child for recognition today!
Nominations due: March 9, 2012

Over the past 10 years, thousands of children have participated in Keystone STARS programs throughout the state. For some, this experience meant a safe and nurturing place to grow, for others, a place to address and overcome delays. For all children, participating in quality early education through Keystone STARS is helping them become the Shining Stars they deserve to be!

Help recognize some of the Shining Stars in your community! Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children and your Local Education and Resource Network (LEARN) team are collecting stories from families and children who have participated in a Keystone STARS program about what that experience has meant to them and how Keystone STARS has helped them reach their promise.

Any child who has participated in a Keystone STARS program (at STAR 2 level or higher) for at least two years is eligible to be recognized as a Shining Star. The child may be a “graduate” of the program. The program should currently hold a STAR 2-4 rating even if the child has graduated.

Children will be recognized in their local communities and invited to participate in a special recognition event and Family Fun Day in Harrisburg on May 8, 2012 at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts. Nominees that attend the event will receive complimentary passes to local family attractions.

Nominations are due March 9, 2012. To nominate a Shining Star, contact your local LEARN Team Coordinator or download a nomination form at the PA's Promise for Children website.


Be a Volunteer Reader for the PA One Book, Every Young Child

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning would like to invite you to participate in the 7th Annual Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child campaign. One Book, Every Young Child is Pennsylvania’s collaborative project using the vehicle of the One Book, One State program to highlight the importance of early literacy development.
This year during the Week of the Young Child (WOYC), April 22-28, volunteer readers throughout Pennsylvania will read the featured book, Stop Snoring Bernard! by Zachariah Ohora to children within early learning settings. Stop Snoring, Bernard! encourages young readers to guess how different personalities will react to Bernard as tries to fit into their environment.
If you would like to be a reader, please complete the information form and email it to the Regional Key in your area.  Readers will receive a confirmation letter and reading packet prior to their visit.


Reduction in costs for FBI Clearances for DPW and PDE

Effective February 1, 2012, the cost for the Department of Public Welfare FBI clearance via Cogent was reduced to $30.25.  The cost for Pennsylvania Department of Education FBI clearance via Cogent was reduced to $31.50. The new fees for PDE FBI Clearances include an automatic mailed unofficial copy of results directly to each applicant.

For additional information, please visit the Cogent Fingerprinting Services website.


More OCDEL In Action


Trends and Reports 

New Research on Behavior and Academic Achievement in Kindergarten

When researchers and policy-makers talk about closing achievement gaps, they are usually referring to gaps in academic performance correlated with students' socioeconomic statuses. A new study, Links Between Young Children’s Behavior and Achievement: The Role of Social Class and Classroom Composition published by the American Behavioral Scientist, suggests that classroom behavior problems may be an even more significant factor than family income on students' test scores, as early as kindergarten.

The researchers used data from the U.S. Department of Education's 1998-1999 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study to sample and track more than 14,000 kindergarten students across nearly 900 private and public programs. Students were rated on two factors, attention skills and aggressive behavior. Students with attention problems had the lowest scores of all four groups; students who demonstrated aggressive behavior were substantially less disadvantaged academically than those with attention problems.

The authors analyzed the reading and math scores of students and found discrepancies in scores between the full sample and students with attention problems which exceeded the gap between low- and higher-income students.  In classrooms with students who had attention problems, other students were also negatively impacted; a higher proportion of those students’ reading and math scores averaged 5 percentile points below average than in classrooms without students who had attention problems. The researchers also found that children with attention problems showed slower growth in learning new material in reading and math. That suggests that addressing attention problems in early childhood could help many children make academic gains throughout their school careers.

For additional information about this study, please visit the New America Foundation website.


Pittsburgh ranks in top ten of America's Most Literate Cities

Pittsburgh has ranked number six in a national survey of America’s Most Literate Cities which found Washington, DC as the nation’s most literate. The survey also ranks E-book use for first time, and explores the connection between the wealth of cities and their literacy. The study, now in its ninth year, is conducted annually by Dr. Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University. It measures a key component in America’s social health by ranking the culture and resources for reading in America’s 75 largest cities. 

 The study ranks cities based on research data for six key indicators of their citizens’ use of literacy: booksellers, educational attainment, Internet resources, library resources, newspaper circulation, and periodical publishing resources. The information is compared against population rates in each city to develop a per capita profile of the city’s literacy.  Access to public libraries is highlighted as a feature which may assist low income communities in increasing their literacy skills.

Philadelphia, which ranked 31 on the list, was the only additional Pennsylvania on the list of 75 cities.  For additional information, please see the Central Connecticut State University website.


More Trends and Reports


In The News

Philadelphia listed as one of nine cities nationwide to receive Wallace Foundation Awards to bolster afterschool programs

Philadelphia was named as one of nine city recipients of the Wallace Foundation grants to organizations working to create high-quality citywide afterschool programs for low-income children. Each awarded city will receive up to $765,000 over four years to formally integrate the efforts of municipal agencies, schools, nonprofit youth programs, and other institutions working to expand access to high-quality afterschool programs. 

Chosen based on their progress in building citywide systems and ability to sustain those systems, the nine cities will use the funds to collect and analyze data and work to improve program quality. Planned activities include linking afterschool program data with school data to better understand how program participation affects learning and development, adopting citywide quality standards, and providing citywide training for employees.

For more information, please visit the Wallace Foundation website.


More In the News:



In the Community 

It's never too early to start learning!

The Clarion Jefferson Local Education and Resource Network (LEARN) Team demonstrated its support for the counties' youngest learner when they presented an early education Welcome Baby Basket to Elizabeth and Michael, the proud parents of Derek Michael who was the first Jefferson County baby born in 2012. Derek was born on January 4, 2012 at DuBois Regional Medical Center (DRMC). This is Elizabeth and Michael’s first child and they are excited to watch him grow. The Welcome Baby Basket contained books, early learning resources, and educational toys.

Community Action, Inc. has many resources available for parents and family members about quality early learning including tips for choosing a child care facility, developmentally appropriate practices and ensuring that a child has a successful and smooth transition into kindergarten. For more information about Community Action Inc.’s LEARN Project, please contact Sheri N. Price, Early Care and Education Coordinator, at (800) 648-3381, ext. 204 or via email to


Into Action

Siemens Science Day Competition, deadline February 28

The University of Minnesota is looking for parents of children with Down syndrome to complete a survey of their children's language abilities and the speech-language services they have received. To find out more about the study, email Liza Finestack, Ph.D. at or go to the study website to take the survey.

My Favorite Teacher Contest, deadline March 1



February's National Children's Dental Health Month Resources

EITC Employers Toolkit by Corporate Voices

PBS Learning Media offers Preschool resources

Audioconference recording now available from ECELS Child Care Health Consultation: Strategies for the New Year

Supporting Young English Learners In and Outside the Classroom

Read Tennessee offers Reading Toolkit for Pre-K Teachers

IRS From Birth through Childhood brochure for Tax Benefits, Credits, and Other Information for families

Penn State Better Kid Care February 2012 enews now available

Reading Rocket's Recommended Top 12 Comprehension Apps

National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness' All Children Can Read resources

Ready By 21:  Supporting the Education Pipeline: A Business Engagement Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations


Funding Opportunities

National Book Foundation, Innovations in Reading, deadline February 21

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Summer Reading Grants, deadline February 28

Association of American Educators Classroom Grants, deadline March 1

Wal-Mart Foundation State Giving Program, deadline March 2

BJ’s Charitable Foundation, Community Support Grants, deadline April 6

McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation Academic Enrichment Grants, deadline April 15


Employment Opportunities

Executive Director, Lancaster Foundation for Educational Enrichment, Lancaster

Public Health Management Corporation:  Southeast Regional Key (SERK) Director, Philadelphia



Higher Education

Lock Haven University to offer face-to-face Praxis I prep class specifically for those working 20+ hours per week in Pre-K settings 

Northampton Community College offers online Child Care Health Advocate for Summer 2012


One Family's Story

We are ecstatic to have Evan in the PA Pre-K Counts program through Cocalico School District. I had heard about it from a friend of mine whose daughter went through the program and raved about it. We applied for the program, got accepted, and all of our lives have changed for the good. The program is excellent from top to bottom.

Evan's mom sharing their experiences with PA Pre-K Counts


Discover the experiences of other Pennsylvania families on PA Promise for Children  



PA Promise for Children on Facebook 

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Become a fan of PA Promise for Children on Facebook and get up-to-date information on how to help Pennsylvania children reach their promise! 











February:  Blair County LEARN Presents County-wide Story Hours:  I Love LEARNing...I Love SCHOOL!
February 15-16: National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs, Washington DC
February 18:  22nd Annual Children's Fair at the Columbia Mall, Buckhorn

February 22:  Kindergarten Transition Workshop, Middletown Library, Media

February 23: Annual Transition to Kindergarten Conference for families, providers and K teachers, Boiling Springs

February 25:  Delaware County Early Childhood Educators Association, Inc. 32nd Annual DCECEA Conference, Newtown Square

February 29:  Webinar Series: Reducing Achievement Gaps by 4th Grade: The PreK-3rd Approach in Action

March:  DuBoise Area School District Kindergarten registration, Duboise

March 3:  Education Express Transition Fair, Pottsville
March 6:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Grove City

March 7:  Kindergarten Transition Workshop, Today's Child, Colwyn
March 8:
Early Learning Network Meeting to focus on Transitioning Into Kindergarten, Allentown

March 9 & April 5: Protect children and prevent child abuse with Front Porch Project, Bellefonte
March 12:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Harrisburg
March 12:  PLAY: Understanding & Reinforcing the Motor Development of Infants and Toddlers, Indiana

March 12: 
Lancaster County LEARN Meeting, Lancaster

March 13 & April 13:  Protect children and prevent child abuse with Front Porch Project, Harrisburg
March 14:  Susquehanna County CARES LEARN Team Meeting, New Milford

March 14: 
Kindergarten Transition Workshop, Today's Child, Sharon Hill

March 21:  Kindergarten Transition Workshop, Today's Child, Darby
15:  Getting Ready for School Night, Lewistown Elementary, Lewistown
March 21:  Webinar An Introduction to Caring for our Children, 3rd Edition
March 22:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Morton
March 25: Children's Day at the Cranberry Mall, Cranberry

March 28:  Kindergarten Transition Conference, Lancaster
March 28-31:  The Global Summit on Childhood, Washington DC

March 29 & April 25:  Protect children and prevent child abuse with Front Porch Project, Clearfield

March 31:  Learning Today, Teaching Tomorrow Professional Development Day, Clarion University, Clarion

April 3:  PFSA's Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast, Harrisburg

April 4:  Susquehanna County CARES LEARN Team Meeting, New Milford

April 14:  PA Promise Day at the Phillies, Philadelphia

April 17:  Painting for Prevention, PFSA's community-based Child Abuse Prevention Month event, Lancaster

April 20: 26th Annual Early Childhood Conference, Indiana

April 21:   Painting for Prevention, PFSA's community-based Child Abuse Prevention Month event, Berwick

April 26: Getting Ready for School Night, Indian Valley Elementary, Lewistown

April 26:   Painting for Prevention, PFSA's community-based Child Abuse Prevention Month event, Clarion

2-3:  2012 Pennsylvania Head Start Conference, Harrisburg
May 9:  Susquehanna County CARES LEARN Team Meeting, New Milford

May 9:  Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, National

May 11-12:  DVAEYC's Annual Conference, Family Matters!  Engaging Families, Partnering for Success, Philadelphia

August 11:  WITF's Ready, Set, Go…Kindergarten event, Harrisburg 

September 21-22:  2012 PAEYC & Family Support Conference, Pittsburgh

October 10-12:  Facing the Challenge Train-the-Trainer PD event, Villanova

October 22-24:  Early Childhood Education Summit, State College

November 18:  PAEYC Early Literacy Conference, Digital Media Literacy and Young Children, Youngwood




Visit Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

Pennsylvania Keys to Quality 

Pennsylvania's Promise for Children


The Early Childhood Education E-Newsletter is a project of the Pennsylvania Build Initiative, Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare 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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