News

May 29, 2019

Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Sign Up Moving to PD Registry

Beginning Fall 2019, applicants will apply for the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program through the PD Registry.

About the Program

The Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program pays 95% of tuition costs for eligible college coursework taken by early learning professionals, with a maximum benefit of $6,000 per individual each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). The program covers tuition costs only and does not include books, materials, or fees. Tuition costs net of other funding sources such as scholarships, stipends, discounts, or grants (except the Pell Grant) are used to determine the amount of assistance. It is recommended completed applications be submitted at least four weeks prior to the start of the course, or prior to the tuition due date, whichever is first.

Access the Program Before Fall 2019

During the transition, The Pennsylvania Key is still currently accepting applications for the 2018-19 fiscal year and summer classes. Early learning professionals taking coursework beginning before fall semester are welcome to apply using the current process in the Portal. At this time, applications will not be reviewed for the fall semester.

More Information

For new eligibility requirements and to stay up-to-date on the ongoing changes, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.

*Information provided by The Pennsylvania Key

News

HundrED Announces Pittsburgh Spotlight Selections

In March of 2019, HundrED released their full list of Pittsburgh Spotlight innovation submissions. Now, after two months of careful deliberation and assessment, HundrED has announced their 12 featured innovative solutions.

About the Spotlight

In partnership with the Grable Foundation and Remake Learning, HundrED’s Pittsburgh Spotlight shines a light on the educators and innovators doing extraordinary things to help students in southwestern Pennsylvania succeed. Receiving 82 individual submissions from southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia schools, museums, libraries, nonprofits, government agencies, and more, the Pittsburgh Spotlight is a great opportunity for changemakers to highlight, celebrate, and learn more about the work happening in local communities.

While HundrED Spotlights are designed to identify 10 of the most inspiring innovations that focus on a location or theme, Lasse Leponiemi, Executive Director and Co-Founder of HundrED said,

“Pittsburgh broke that mold. The response was so robust that we chose to expand our selection to 12 innovations.”

Selected Innovations

    • Simple Interactions: This research project of the Fred Rogers Center creates free tools and resources to give educators a language for noticing and affirming their interactions with young children. These simple interactions support relationships between children and adults.
    • Fabricating Change in Mental Wellness: Students diagnosed with mental health conditions work side by side with social workers, therapists, and teachers in this digital Fab Lab at Intermediate Unit 1. The results: increased participation, improved engagement, and fewer disruptions.
    • The Finch: Borne out of research about what engages and excites students in learning computer science, this robot developed by BirdBrain Technologies can be programmed to do physical actions in 9 different coding languages. A free loan program makes it widely available to schools.
    • Global Minds Initiative: Founded, designed, and run by students, this after-school program combats intolerance by fostering intercultural friendships and global understanding. Immigrant and refugee students come together with their peers in safe, inclusive spaces.
    • Hillman Academy: At this 8-week full-time summer program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, high school students perform cancer research under the mentorship of world-renowned scientists in a rigorous, supportive, real-world STEM environment.
    • JAM: Two first-grade girls’ interest in making things to help their community has blossomed into an after-school maker learning program at Avonworth School District that is a catalyst for kindness in school and an engine for raising funds for community causes.
    • MAKESHOP: The first museum makerspace, this permanent exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a research-based learning environment where children and families make, play, and design using “real stuff.”  And they offer professional development, maker learning resources, and more.
    • Summer Dreamers Academy: By combining the academic benefits of summer school with the fun of camp, this free summer program run by Pittsburgh Public Schools reduces summer learning loss while giving Pittsburgh students fun, enriching summer experiences.
    • transformED:  Allegheny Intermediate Unit is rethinking teacher professional development and support for school districts implementing innovative practices. At transformED, educators explore, discover, invent, and learn.
    • Youth Express: Students use the tools of radio to create and distribute original programming through Saturday Light Brigade‘s 24/7 radio station. Programming is based on the idea that when youth realize that their voice matters, they realize that they matter.

To learn more, visit the HundrED website.

See HundrED’s official release.

About HundrED

HundrED is a not-for-profit organization that researches, highlights, and propels K-12 education innovations in an effort to improve education and inspire a grassroots movement by encouraging pedagogically sound, ambitious inventions to spread across the world. The Pittsburgh Spotlight is one of 6 individual spotlight categories, all centered around specific regions or topics. Through this spotlight, HundrED seeks to highlight educators and innovators in our area that are doing extraordinary things to help students.

Interested in highlighting your innovative solution? Submit your innovation for HundrED’s 2020 Global Collection by June 30, 2019.

*Information provided by HundrED

News

May 28, 2019

Creative Learning Educator Survey Open For Responses

Are you an educator that encourages creative learning and expression? The Heinz Endowments and the University of Pittsburgh are looking to receive your input via the Creative Learning Educator Survey.

About

The Creative Learning Educator Survey was established to learn more about creative learning opportunities for youth in the Pittsburgh region. The survey will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, with questions related to teaching artistry and creative learning. Results from this study will be utilized to better inform how to support our region’s creative learning programs and organizations.

After completion, participants will be entered into a raffle to win an iPad. Participation is voluntary.

Learn More

To learn more and participate in the survey, visit their website.

For questions, contact Principal Investigator, Tom Akiva at tomakiva@pitt.edu or Project Coordinator, Esohe Osai at ero19@pitt.edu.

News

Cast Your Vote: 2019 WQED Reader’s Choice Award

Community members are invited to take part in selecting the 2019 WQED Reader’s Choice Award Winner by casting their votes by Friday, May 31.

About

For the past 10 years, WQED has partnered with The EQT Corporation to present the Writers Contest to children throughout their viewing area. Through the support of EQT, WQED has been able to reach out directly to schools, libraries, and families throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia to encourage children to submit their original stories and illustrations.

In the 10 years of sponsorship from EQT, WQED has received over 12,000 story entries, communicated with hundreds of teachers and librarians to provide them with resources, impacted thousands of WQED viewers with messages about the contest, and provided a website full of information that encourages students and arms adults with relevant literacy information.

Cast Your Vote

Voting is now open and will end on Friday, May 31st at 12:00 p.m. The Reader’s Choice Award Winner will be announced on Monday, June 3. To learn more and cast your vote, visit the WQED website.

*Information provided by WQED

News

May 22, 2019

City Receives Grant to Support Safe Travel for Schoolchildren

On May 22, 2019, officials from Mayor William Peduto’s administration discussed a state grant of more than $450,000 to support safe routes to school for elementary and middle school students in Pittsburgh.

About

A bill was discussed at Pittsburgh City Council’s standing committees meeting accepting $464,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program, which provides assistance to municipalities to support the creation of safe and appealing alternatives to single occupant vehicle travel.

More than 30 million Americans nationwide transport their children to and from schools every day, which research shows increases hazardous road conditions and harms the environment. The Safe Routes to School program seeks to address that by supporting walking and biking to school, leading to eased traffic conditions and better health for schoolchildren.

“The ability to walk or bike to school has long been one of the classic characteristics of Pittsburgh, but over recent decades it has become increasingly hazardous for children, who are our most valuable and vulnerable travelers,” said Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) Director Karina Ricks. “This grant will allow us to dedicate resources to help us collaborate with school leaders and parents to identify areas where low-cost improvements can be rapidly implemented.”

What’s Next?

DOMI is proposing using the PennDOT grant to hire a Safe Routes to School coordinator who is part educator, part engineer and will work on programming for students to walk and bike more easily. The coordinator will work on traffic calming and other safety improvements on streets near schools best suited for walking and biking.

Once approved, DOMI plans to have a person in the position by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

Learn More

To learn more about PennDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program, visit their website.

*Information provided by the City of Pittsburgh

News

May 20, 2019

Children’s Fund Working Group Community Meetings

Join the Allegheny County Children’s Fund Working Group this spring for a series of community meetings to share your views on what works best and what additional support is needed when it comes to early learning and out-of-school time.

About

Allegheny County’s goal is to make sure that every child can benefit from quality early learning and out-of-school time. A series of six Community Meetings are being held across the County to learn from families, caregivers, and educators what access to quality early learning and out-of-school time looks like today—from your perspective and in your community.

Each meeting will include child care, refreshments, and opportunities for community members to voice their input on how Allegheny County can be a leader for kids moving forward.

Community Meeting Dates

The Allegheny County Children’s Fund Working Group and community members will convene on the following dates:

    • City Meeting – May 30 | 6:30 p.m. | Jeron X Grayson Community Center, Hill District
    • West Meeting – June 3 | 6:30 p.m. | The Landing Community Center, Moon Township
    • South Meeting – June 4 | 6:30 p.m. | Bethel Park Community Center
    • North Meeting – June 5 | 6:00 p.m. | Shaler North Hills Library
    • East Meeting – June 12 | 6:30 p.m. | Founders Hall Middle School, McKeesport
    • Spanish-Language Meeting – June 18 | 6:30 p.m. | YWCA Building, Downtown Pittsburgh

Registration & Questions

Visit the Community Meeting website to learn more, RSVP, or contact event organizers.

News

May 16, 2019

Foster Care Awareness and National Mental Health Month

Did you know that May is Foster Care Awareness Month and National Mental Health Month? In recognition of these important subjects, Every Child Inc. has highlighted information and statistics for individuals to consider as we work to better support Pennsylvania’s children, families, caregivers, and community members.

 


 

Foster Care Facts

    • Approximately 13,000 – 15,000 PA children are currently in foster care and part of the child welfare system.
    • Between 400,000 – 500,000 children in the U.S. are in foster care each year.
    • In 2013, more than 8,000 youth 13 and older lived in the foster care system in PA.
    • One in four PA youth who “age out” of the system experience homelessness and/or struggle with mental health challenges such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders, with nearly 1 in 4 youth having been arrested since leaving care.
    • Young PA women in foster care are two and a half times more likely to become pregnant by 19 than young women were not in foster care.

Mental Health Facts

    • ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children.
    • Treatment rates vary among different mental disorders:
        • Nearly 8 in 10 children (78.1%) aged 3-17 years with depression received treatment.
        • 6 in 10 children (59.3%) aged 3-17 years with anxiety received treatment.
        • More than 5 in 10 children (53.5%) aged 3-17 years with behavior disorders received treatment.
    • Mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders begin in early childhood:
        • 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.

News

May 14, 2019

Imagination Library Online Registration Now Open

On April 27, 2019, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced that a new program will offer free monthly books to Pittsburgh children from birth to age five. The program is currently accepting applications from parents and guardians.

About the Program

The free book program – in conjunction with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the Benter Foundation, and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania – will mail all eligible children an age-appropriate book every month up until their fifth birthday. Participating children will receive their first book through the U.S. Postal Services six to eight weeks after the registration form has been received.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the program, preschoolers must:

  • Be a resident of the City of Pittsburgh
  • Have a parent or guardian fill out an official registration form
  • Notify the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania of any address changes

Registration

To sign up for this program, register your children online via the Imagination Library website!

Interested in mailing in or submitting your registration in person? See their webpage for more details.

Questions

For any questions, please contact Tiffini Simoneaux via email (tiffini.simoneaux@pittsburghpa.gov) or phone (412.255.2505).

News

May 9, 2019

Historic Increases for Early Learning & Development Programs

The House Appropriations Committee recently approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill for FY2020, which outlines funding for early care and learning programs critical to babies’ development. The first three years are a time in development unmatched by any other later point in life. But the recently released State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 reveals troubling early warning signs that too many young children face conditions that place their development – and our future – at risk.

About the Bill

The bill includes historic increases to key early learning and development programs that can help to reverse this path we have set for our future, including:

    • An increase of $2.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant;
    • $525 million increase in the set-aside for the expansion of Early Head Start, including through EHS-Child Care Partnerships;
    • Doubling of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Grant Program, to a total of $10 million; and
    • An increase of $21.3 million for Part C Early Intervention.

By laying the foundation today for 12 million infants and toddlers living in the U.S., we are investing in our society’s future.

Learn More

To learn more, see Zero to Three’s full statement.

*Information provided by Zero to Three

News

Resources for Families in the Wake of Tragedy

In response to the violent events happening in communities throughout the United States of America, Trying Together hopes to support young children, their families, and the caregivers who interact with them by recognizing available community-based and online resources.

Trying Together extends our heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of those lost and to those injured or traumatized by such horrific events. Thank you to all of the public health and safety professionals who respond and provide service to affected communities across America, and thank you to the organizations and individuals that extend your hands and services in support.

 


Mental Health Services and Supports

resolve Crisis Services
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Be Well Pittsburgh
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Highmark Caring Place
The Compassionate Friends: Pittsburgh Chapter
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Supportive Care Department

Articles and Resources

Israel Trauma Coalition
American Counseling Association
Fred Rogers Productions
Anti-Defamation League
Fran Sherman in USA Today
Dr. Debi Gilboa in NEXT Pittsburgh
PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
Child Trends
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Additional Lists

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh