News

August 20, 2020

School-Age Child Care Update from OCDEL

As local education agencies and private schools in Pennsylvania are finalizing and announcing their plans for the 2020-21 academic school year, OCDEL is becoming increasingly aware that many school districts are implementing hybrid or full remote instruction models for the school year.

These announcements have raised questions about how families with children enrolled in Kindergarten and beyond will be supported if they need expanded child care. Continue reading below for answers to common questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can school-age children enroll in child care if their schools have announced moving to part-time or full-time remote instruction?

Yes. During the 2020-21 school year, children whose schools have announced various schedule changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can enroll in child care. If the district has announced that children will not attend school for face-to-face instruction, then working families can enroll children in child care during those days.

Will OCDEL revise the school-age blended rate for children attending child care during the portion of the day that has typically been considered “school hours”?

For the 2020-21 school year, the calculation of the blended rate will not change. It will still be based on 25 full-time days and 180 part-time days. If a child attends a school district where students will not return to school for in-person, five-day-a-week instruction, a child care provider who accepts the blended rate will receive a part-time blended rate for the days the child attends school in-person and attends child care part-time. The provider may receive a full-time payment rate on the days the child is not scheduled to attend school in-person and attends child care full-time.

Paying the part-time blended rate, instead of a part-time rate, will compensate for any days the child was supposed to attend part-time buy may need to attend full-time because of a school’s closure, such as staff in-service days, holidays, professional development, and snow days. If school districts change how school instruction will be administered throughout the school year, related to COVID-19, the child’s schedule will be updated to reflect the school’s current schedule. View the full guidance.

Will non-licensed programs be able to serve school-age children?

Yes. Enrollment in a licensed child care facility is preferred, however, part-day school-age programs will be available to enroll school-age children during the 2020-21 school year. Enrolled children must be kindergarten age or older.

School District Reopening Plans

To view school districts’ reopening plans, visit the PA Schools Work website. To learn about the phased reopening of pre-k to 12 schools in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

More Information

For more information, view this email from the Pennsylvania Key.

News

December 10, 2019

PDE Releases New Family Engagement Framework

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has released the Pennsylvania Family Engagement Birth through College, Career, Community Ready Framework.

About The PDE Family Engagement Framework

As a collaborative initiative between PDE’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Pennsylvania Family Engagement Birth through College, Career, and Community Ready Framework is a tool to guide learning communities in the implementation of effective practices, use of shared language, and application of a family engagement continuum for families across their child’s educational lifespan. With this, the framework includes Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)-aligned Family Engagement resources and information for local education agencies (LEAs).

Beginning with early learning programs through K-12, effective family engagement is critical to supporting a child’s learning and development. In fact, research has demonstrated that regardless of socioeconomic background, when schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children perform better academically, enjoy school more, remain in school longer, and have better long-term outcomes such as higher graduation rates, improved post-secondary educational attainment, and increased career readiness.

By establishing this framework, PDE seeks to foster a clear path by identifying a set of common standards of how learning communities can plan and implement family engagement practices. Members of Pennsylvania’s learning communities can employ this framework, with communities including programs and schools to which PDE provides funding, guidance, and monitoring.

More Information

For more information on the framework, visit the PDE’s website.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Key

News

April 18, 2019

PA Pre-K Counts Announces Request for Applications

Pennsylvania’s fiscal year (FY) 2019-20 proposed budget continues to build on the governor’s commitment to high-quality early learning services and includes more than $1.1 billion in state and nearly $850 million in federal support for Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) programs. This proposal represents the further steps toward achieving the goal of universal access to high-quality pre-k programs.

With new investments in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts ($40 million) and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program ($10 million), the state will be able to increase the number of children served in high-quality pre-k. Due to this proposed funding, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is seeking applicants for PA Pre-K Counts.

About Pre-K Counts

PA Pre-K Counts provides children with the opportunity to experience a high-quality pre-kindergarten program. The program standards ensure a high return on the investment in the preparation of young children for school and will help to close the achievement gap. Early education through PA Pre-K Counts can open the doors of opportunity for every child to do well in school, the workforce, and life.

About the Request for Applications (RFA)

PDE is issuing this RFA to support providers in preparing to serve children and to be ready for September enrollment. The department recognizes that providers need to conduct outreach to families; recruit, hire and train staff; and do all of the planning necessary to successfully implement the program pending approval of proposed funding.

Information on the application process can be accessed at PKC How to Apply.

Eligible Applicants

Pennsylvania continues to be committed to a mixed delivery system. As such, eligible applicants include existing PA Pre-K Counts grantees and new applicants from five eligible entity categories:

  1. School districts;
  2. PDE Licensed nursery schools;
  3. Head Start grantees;
  4. Child care centers and group child care homes designated at Keystone STAR 3 or 4; and
  5. A third party entity applying for Pennsylvania Pre‐K Counts funding to administer the lead agency responsibilities for entities that are eligible to provide the classroom services under the categories listed above.

PDE encourages all eligible entities to assess community need and apply for funding to support eligible children in their communities. There is no limit to the number of slots that may be requested through this application process.

Eligibility Criteria

Age (three and four-year-old children) and family income (at or below 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines) are the primary eligibility criteria for participation in PA Pre-K Counts. Additional priorities for enrollment should be developed at the local level and may include:

  • teen parents,
  • migrant or seasonal students,
  • children of a family experiencing homelessness,
  • children involved in the child welfare system,
  • siblings of children already enrolled in the program,
  • English language learners,
  • children of an incarcerated parent, or
  • children receiving early intervention or behavioral health supports.

Required Documentation

Applicants must have the following in place to complete an application: a Letter of Intent, a vendor number (SAP #), an administrative unit number (AUN), a master provider index number (MPI), and a federal ID number or tax ID number.

PA Pre-K Counts Statute, Regulations, and Guidance

Any applicant should thoroughly review PA Pre-K Counts Statute, Regulations, and Guidance prior to submission of a letter of intent to apply to ensure an understanding of the program requirements and expectations of compliance if an application is successful. The application review process will include evaluation of the extent to which the applicant demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the PA Pre-K Counts Statute and Regulations.

Required Letter of Intent

Because of the need to establish access to eGrants procurement system, eligible organizations must submit a completed Letter of Intent to apply for funds. The template posted at PKC How to Apply must be used. The Letter of Intent represents intent to apply for PA Pre-K Counts funding and includes the legal name of the eligible agency that will apply, the AUN associated with the applying legal entity, preliminary information about requested funding, program model, provider type, and area to be served. Except for the legal entity and AUN, information submitted in the Letter of Intent may be modified in the final eGrants application.

Programs interested in applying must submit a fully completed Letter of Intent by 3 pm on May 8, 2019 to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov. Programs that do not submit a timely Letter of Intent will not be able to apply in the eGrants system. Late submissions will not be accepted. Those agencies submitting a fully complete Letter of Intent by the due date will be notified when the PA Pre-K Counts application is open in eGrants.

Administrative Unit Number (AUN Number)

PA Pre-K Counts applicants will need to supply a valid AUN number within the Letter of Intent. A Letter of Intent without a valid AUN that matches the legal name of the applying entity will not be accepted. To verify your AUN number or to check to see if you have one assigned to your agency, visit EDNA. If you are an Intermediate Unit, select Search for Intermediate Units. If you are not an Intermediate Unit, select Advanced Search, and search for your agency.

Applicants that are not already licensed by PDE and therefore do not have an AUN number should contact Brian Bell (bribell@pa.gov, 717.346.0038) or James Redd (jaredd@pa.gov) at OCDEL.

Vendor Number (SAP #)

The supplied vendor number MUST align with the legal name and address provided in the application. A vendor number and account can be set up by registering at Vendor Number Registration selecting the Non-Procurement Registration Form. All agencies applying for PA Pre-K Counts grants must be pre-registered. The Central Vendor Management Unit is a storage database. The Comptroller uses this account to store direct deposit information.

If you have any questions about vendor numbers, please contact Brian Bell (bribell@pa.gov, 717.346.0038) or James Redd (jaredd@pa.gov) at OCDEL.

Master Provider Index (MPI #)

The supplied MPI number MUST align with the legal name and address provided in the application. All PA Pre-K Counts applicants will need an MPI number if the application is successful. The number is requested as part of the application process to ensure timely contracting for approved applications. MPI numbers are used by the PA Department of Human Services to identify legal entities and service locations that participate in any of its programs. As such, they are used in PELICAN as a common identifier for all OCDEL programs, including child care licensing, Early Intervention, PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, and Keystone STARS.

Legal entities are assigned a unique nine-digit MPI number. In addition, service locations are assigned a unique 13-digit MPI number, which is created by adding a four-digit extension to the nine-digit MPI of the legal entity. Legal entities and service providers currently participating in any of these programs should have an MPI number.

Applicants that are not currently participating in any of these programs should contact the Early Learning Network (ELN) Help Desk at 877.491.3818 and provide their Federal Tax ID to determine their MPI numbers. MPI numbers will not be provided without a Federal Tax ID number.

Tax ID Number or Federal ID Number

This is the number that an agency uses on its federal W-9 form. Applicants for PA Pre-K Counts funds should consult with the person who handles tax, legal, or accounting matters for the agency to determine the federal ID number. Use the number that aligns with the legal name and address provided in this application. The correct number must be provided when requested in order to process an application. Failure to do so will result in significant delays in funding approved applicants for FY 2019-20. This number is often referred to as the “FEIN number” by OCDEL staff.

Pre-application recorded webinar

An asynchronous pre-application webinar will be posted at PKC How to Apply after April 23, 2019 to assist interested applicants in the completion of the application. The webinar will include information on the application process and program requirements.

Questions & More Information

All questions regarding this competitive RFA process should be directed to Project Officer Deborah Wise only, by sending an email to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov.

In order to provide consistent messaging and an equitable application process, ONLY questions sent to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov, will be addressed. Questions and responses not already covered in either Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Statute, Regulations, and Guidance, or within the Application Guidance document, will be included in an on-going Frequently Asked Questions document posted at PKC How to Apply.

News

November 8, 2018

ECE Professionals Invited to Participate in ELPIC Survey

The Early Learning Instructional Coaching (ELPIC) program is working with educators across PA to develop an Early Learning Administrator Leadership (ELAL) endorsement to support educational leaders in utilizing instructional coaching, professional development (PD), and professional learning communities (PLCs) to leverage change in pre-k-4 learning environments.  For educators with a Level I or Level II Instructional Certification, completion of the four-course sequence would result in an endorsement.

In order to best develop an endorsement that works for educators from both the K-12 and ECE worlds, ELPIC created two surveys that ask about current needs across the state and seeks to determine how the ELAL endorsement might address those needs.

Participants’ responses will be kept confidential. Data from across the state will be aggregated and used to support the endorsement proposal that will be submitted to PDE.

For ECE/K-12/IU

Please complete this survey based on your experience and the needs that you see in your district, building, or center.

For IHES

Please complete this survey based on your experience preparing PreK-4 educators, as well as the needs you see in the field of early learning leadership.

Information Provided by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning