Pennsylvania's Promise for Children  
Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Welcome to BUILD ECE News

February 29, 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

  • Trends and Reports

  • In the News

  • In the Community 


OCDEL In Action

Governor's Proposed Budget FY 2012-2013 

On February 7, the Governor released his proposed budget for 2012-2013. You can review the budget documents and PowerPoint presentation at

The budget maintains Governor Corbett’s commitment to balance the budget by keeping spending in line with available revenues and not raising taxes. The total state budget proposal for 2012-2013 is $27.14 billion, a decrease of more than $20 million, or .1 percent, from 2011-2012. 

Available is a chart outlining allocations for 2011-2012 (after mid-year reductions) and proposed 2012-2013. Some allocations for early care and education programs were reduced, but the administration is working to minimize the impact to the number of children and families served.

Under the Governor’s proposed budget, OCDEL would serve:

  • Additional children in Early Intervention (0-5)
  • The same number of children in Keystone STARS, PA Pre-K Counts, Nurse-Family Partnership
  • Slightly fewer children in Child Care Works

The impact on Head Start Supplemental will not be clear until the competitive re-bidding process is complete.

Bureau of Autism Services of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare mini-grants, deadline April 15
The Bureau of Autism Services of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare announces the availability of mini‐grants to support children and adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and families that include an individual with ASD. A focus of this project is to reach out and serve individuals and families that are not able to access existing support systems for various reasons (for example: eligibility criteria, age, waiting lists). The term “family” may include an immediate family member or other relative, a person providing foster care or a legal guardian or custodian, but does not include a person or entity who acts in a paid employment capacity. 
Applicants meeting eligibility requirements may apply for up to $500 in grant funds. To be eligible for funding, applicants must be a PA resident, have a family member with autism (of any age) or be an individual with autism, and not currently receiving and/or enrolled in any family support services for the past 12 months. Activities and suppors which may be eligible include Respite care; Summer recreation and skill development programs; Autism or advocacy related conferences, workshops or training opportunities; Community programs such as karate lessons, swimming lessons, dance classes, art classes, cooking classes, private driving lessons; Safety modifications or adaptations for home and/or community integration. 

For additional information, please see the Bureau of Autism Services of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare mini-grant flyer.   


Cities invited to apply for Leadership Academy on Combating Child Hunger through the Federal Afterschool Meal Program, deadline March 5 

National League of Cities (NLC) invites municipal leaders to apply for one of two regional leadership academies that will help them reduce child hunger and supplement current funding for out-of-school time programs in their communities by increasing participation in the federal Afterschool Meal Program. 

With support from the Walmart Foundation, NLC will cover travel costs for 10 cities at each of two leadership academies that will be held May 2-3 in Washington, D.C., and May 22-23 in Portland, Ore. The academies will be offered as part of a new, $1 million initiative funded by the Walmart Foundation and led by NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families in partnership with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

Approximately 20 cities will be selected to attend one of two leadership academies (10 cities for each).  Each city will bring a team of three representatives that should include at least one local elected official or high-level city staff person. Other stakeholders can include but are not limited to representatives of school districts, local anti-hunger groups, afterschool programs, and community organizations. Those selected to attend a leadership academy will receive in-depth training and learn about practical strategies for helping more children receive federally-funded meals after school and on weekends through the expanded Afterschool Meal Program.

The federal Afterschool Meal Program reimburses city agencies, schools and nonprofit organizations that provide nutritious meals at their afterschool and weekend programs for children and youth. Mayors and other city officials are in a unique position to help public and nonprofit afterschool providers take advantage of this opportunity. Contact your local school district or city official to provide your support.

Learn more about the Afterschool Meal Program or download the request for proposals to apply. For more information about the leadership academies, contact Imani Hope at (202) 626-3180 or or Laura Fischer at (202) 626-3056 or   


Trends and Reports 

2010-2011 OCDEL Program Reach and Risk Assessment  

The 2010-2011 OCDEL Program Reach and Risk Assessment and county and school district data spreadsheets are now available on the PA Key website and the OCDEL research site.

According to the report, although more than half of Pennsylvania’s children share at least one risk factor for failing in school, about one-third of children under age five have access to the quality early learning opportunities that can mitigate those risks.

The Reach and Risk report compiles information by county on the number of children affected by 15 risk factors for school failure, as well as the number of children served by early childhood programs at both the county and school district level. The findings are intended to help better target investment for early childhood programs such as Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Keystone STARS, Early Intervention, Nurse-Family Partnership, Parent-Child Home Program and Head Start. New to the 2010-2011 report are new risk factors and a breakdown of data by school district rather than the 27 largest municipalities.

Among the findings of the Reach and Risk report:

  • Children in 41 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties are at moderate-high or high risk of school failure.
  • More than half of children under age 5 are living in economically at-risk families, which the report identifies as one of the 15 major risk factors for school failure.
  • In every Pennsylvania county, at least 31 percent of children under age 5 live in economically at-risk households.
  • In 357 of the 500 school districts, more than half of children under 5 live in economically at-risk households.
The report finds about one-third of Pennsylvania children under age 5 currently participate in state or federally funded quality early education programs. The majority of these children are served through the Keystone STARS program; however, only four percent of children under age 5 in Pennsylvania were served in high quality STAR 3 and 4 programs.

You can download the findings report as well as the county and school district data spreadsheets from the PA Key website and the OCDEL research site. 


Preschool Assessments: A Look Across the States

As participation in publicly-funded preschool programs steadily grows and pressure ramps up on states to prove that those programs are preparing low-income children for kindergarten, measuring learning outcomes of those preschoolers has become a major policy focus. To capture how states are assessing their youngest learners, the Educational Testing Service has released a review of preschool assessments currently in use. The report describes the instruments that are used across the states and identifies important aspects of their use, as well as the particular challenges that are inherent in assessing young children’s learning and report on sound assessment practices that recognize these challenges. 

The authors looked at 50 pre-K programs in 40 states for their report and found that many of them use an observational approach to gauge what children are learning by observing them on a day-to-day basis while they are engaged in their usual preschool activities. The report spells out four key criteria for policymakers to consider when choosing an assessment approach:

  • The measure must be used for the purpose for which it was designed. 
  • The measure has to be valid and reliable, in that the scores on a test are appropriate for a particular purpose (valid) and that the scores tend to be consistent on two or more occasions of testing (reliable). 
  • The kind of training and support that will be required for the adults who administer the assessments and then interpret their results is key.
  • Time, cost, and personnel resources required to do the assessments, score them, report them and interpret them.

To view the report, please visit the Educational Testing Service website.  

More Trends and Reports

In The News

Chester County Health Department program offers help for young moms
A recent article in the Journal Register demonstrates how good parenting is a key component in young person’s life, and how for 10 years, the Chester County Health Department's Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) has made an impact.
In this intensive home-visiting program, nurses will begin by visiting the mothers once a week, and then continue stopping by at regular intervals. One advantage to this intensive approach is that it gives moms the opportunity to trust their nurses.
This is an evidence-based program, based on 35 years of research done on the national level. The results were clear – the children whose mothers participated in NFP had decreased incarceration rates, decrease rates of drug and alcohol abuse, were better prepared for school, had less instances of child abuse and the moms were more financially stable.

In addition, mothers were less likely to become pregnant within two years of their first pregnancy. On average, 25 to 50 percent of these women will have another child two years after their first. However for mothers who completed the program, that number is 8 percent.

To read the full article, please visit the Journal Register website.


In the Community 

Nominate now for Indiana County Family Friendly Business Awards, deadline March 15

The Children's Advisory Commission of Indiana County and Indiana County LEARN (Local Education and Resource Network) would like to recognize Family Friendly Businesses in Indiana County. The purpose of the Family Friendly Business Awards is to find out what Indiana County for-profit businesses are already doing to demonstrate an exceptional standard of family friendly practices.

Nominate your favorite places to shop, dine, and work in our Family Friendly Businesses survey! There are categories to nominate businesses that are friendly to women who breastfeed and businesses that give back to the community. New this year, you can nominate the business that gives "the most value for your dollar" in the Family Budget-Friendly category.

To nominate your favorite Indiana County Family Friendly Business, go to the online survey. The deadline for nominations is March 15, 2012.

Into Action

Child Care Subsidy expedited regulations posted for public comment, deadline March 9



PA Dept. of Health announces PA Resources for Your Family’s Health, available in English and Spanish

Start Safe offers free resources to teach children about fire and water safety


Funding Opportunities


Elmer's and Kids In Need Foundation Announce K-12 Teacher Grant Program, deadline TBA


Higher Education

Free Praxis I Writing and Math Tutoring at Arcadia University (Glenside Campus)


Employment Opportunities

School-Aged Child Care Specialist, Child Care Consultants, York


One Family's Story

Michelle has a variety of learning centers and activities set up to enhance social, cognitive, and fine and gross motor skills. Michelle is more than cooperative in working with outside agencies for children who have special needs. She and her staff implement recommendations and accommodations for these little people… more personally for my son Sam who receives speech and language support services each week.

A Somerset County mom sharing how she and her children work with their early learning provider through Child Care Works



PA Promise for Children on Facebook 

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February 29:  Webinar Series: Reducing Achievement Gaps by 4th Grade: The PreK-3rd Approach in Action
March 3:  Education Express Transition Fair, Pottsville
March 5 - May 10:  Kindergarten Here I Come event, Waynesburg
March 6:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Grove City
March 6:  Webinar:  Strengthening Professional Development in Home Visiting Programs
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 10:  PEAL Center's 1st Annual Inclusion Awards Dinner, Pittsburgh 
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 24: Wayne County LICC Super Saturday Day of Training, Honesdale

March 24- April 21:  Gate Opening Project, Praxis I Prep Class, Lock Haven

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 19-20:  NWRK Early Childhood Mental Health/Infant Toddler Conference, Erie

April 20: 26th Annual Early Childhood Conference, Indiana

April 21:  18th Annual Greene County Child Fest, Waynesburg

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

June 4-August 15:  Early Childhood Education Child Care Health Advocate Online course, online

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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