News

November 6, 2020

2020 VOICE for Children Awards Celebration

To protect the health and safety of their honorees and guests, the  Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC) has decided to host their 2020 VOICE for Children Award Celebration on Friday, November 6 as a virtual event.

About

PennAEYC recognizes the critical role advocacy plays in high-quality early learning settings and celebrates those who speak on behalf of Pennsylvania’s children. As the voice for early care and learning, community advocates play an important role in assuring all Pennsylvania’s children get the start that they deserve in school and in life.

The VOICE for Children Award is the only statewide award in Pennsylvania recognizing the grassroots leaders whose work impacts the quality of care for young children. Now in its 10th year, the VOICE Award celebrates not only individual award recipients, but the early childhood profession. Join PennAEYC in celebrating grassroots advocates and individuals who demonstrate extraordinary commitment and innovation to support high-quality early childhood across Pennsylvania.

Registration

To register, visit the event webpage. For questions or more information, call 888.272.9267.

News

October 28, 2020

The Ins and Outs of the PD Registry

Want to use the PD Registry to maximize your professional growth? Join Trying Together on October 28 for our free virtual workshop, “Connections and Conversations: The Ins and Outs of the PD Registry.”

About

In this Connections and Conversations Virtual Check-In session, participants will engage in virtual discussions with an Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5 Quality Coach and interact with early learning practitioners to share questions, experiences, and expertise about the Pennsylvania Professional Development (PD) Registry. This session will offer one hour of PQAS credit. Act 48 credit will not be provided.

Join us to learn how to use the PD Registry as an asset for individual growth and as a springboard for collaborative discussion on professionals development between practitioners and leadership. This course will overview the general use of navigating an individual account, as well as the benefits leadership members can utilize as an organization administrator.

Session Details

    • Session Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020  |  6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    • Instructor: Katie Streiff
    • Core Knowledge Area: Organization and Administration
    • CDA Content Area: Effective Program Operation
    • Registration Deadline: Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Registration

To register, visit the course PD Registry page. Space is limited. Participants will receive the course Zoom link via email within 24 hours before the start date for the course. PQAS and Act 48 credit available.

If you do not have a PD Registry account, please complete this online form to create one. If you are unable to create an account, please contact pdregistry@pakeys.org for more information.

Session Rules and Guidelines

These virtual discussions are designed to provide educators the opportunity to grow professionally and share knowledge on early childhood topics. During the meeting, participants should follow the guidelines below to ensure a successful virtual meeting for all participants.

    • Please allow all participants a chance to speak. Listen respectfully and actively.
    • Commit to learning about each other, not to debating the topic.
    • Embrace differences of opinion as healthy and support each person’s authentic self-expression.
    • Participants will be muted for the beginning portion of the session.
    • Participants may use the “Raise Hand” feature in Zoom to request an opportunity to comment or ask a question. Individuals will be temporarily unmuted by the moderator.
    • Participants may type a comment or question in the Chat or may send comments or questions directly to the moderator for them to share.
    • To receive PQAS credit, you must complete an evaluation at the end of the session and include your PD Registry number.
    • Have fun, make connections, and engage in the conversations!

More Information

For questions or more information, contact Jasmine Davis at jasmine@tryingtogether.org.

News

October 23, 2020

2020 Family Support Needs Assessment

On October 22, the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) released a new Family Support Needs Assessment that covers the needs and challenges experienced by families with young children and opportunities to address these needs and better serve families.

Overview

Developed in partnership with PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the assessment found that substance abuse, intimate partner violence, and mental health challenges are among the most pronounced issues facing young families across urban and rural communities. The assessment also shows an overall improvement in maternal and child health outcomes across many of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties since the last statewide needs assessment in 2014.

Assessment Findings

Informed by community surveys, interviews, and statewide data sets, the 2018-2020 Family Support Needs Assessment categorizes Pennsylvania’s counties as having “elevated need,” “moderate need,” and “low need,” across six domains: maternal and child health; socioeconomic status; substance abuse; child safety and maltreatment; community environment; and child care.

Overall, the findings show that 44 counties have elevated need in at least one of the domains and 15 counties across the state met elevated need thresholds in three or more domains. Importantly, the data collection occurred prior to the arrival of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, and the researchers anticipate that the pandemic will exacerbate many areas of community need.

Despite the elevated need recorded in the report, maternal and child health outcomes have dramatically improved across much of the state since the 2014 federally-mandated statewide needs assessment. For example:

    • nearly every county (63) saw improved rates of preterm birth and teen birth;
    • 60 percent of counties saw improvements in infant mortality rates;
    • half of the counties saw a reduction in the percentage of children under age five living in poverty; and
    • more than half of the 2,220 individuals surveyed for the needs assessment have a favorable view of the availability and quality of health and social services in Pennsylvania for families with young children.

The assessment also includes a review of the capacity and scope of the state’s home visiting programs, which provide voluntary, in-home services to under-resourced pregnant moms and families of young children. Pennsylvania significantly increased its investment in evidence-based home visiting over the last four years so that today, six evidence-based home visiting models serve a total of 10,150 families.

More Information

For more information, read the full press release and review the 2020 Family Supports Need Assessment Report.

News

October 21, 2020

Benefits of Having a PD Registry Profile

Do you have a Pennsylvania PD Registry profile? If not, you are missing out on features that could help you schedule professional development, request financial assistance, and more.

What is the PD Registry?

The Pennsylvania Professional Development (PD) Registry is an online system that functions as a “workforce registry” by tracking the professional accomplishments of registered individuals, providing important data about the early childhood workforce, and highlighting a consolidated list of available professional development opportunities.

Data collected through the PD Registry—including data such as length of time in the field, education level, and wages—is also used to advocate for better education opportunities and higher wages for professionals in Pennsylvania.

Benefits

Early Learning and School-Age Professionals

Through the PD Registry, early learning and school-age professionals can:

    • track their employment, education, and training history;
    • complete a professional development self-assessment to plan upcoming training;
    • register for in-person and online professional training that offers PQAS and Act 48 credit;
    • begin an application for financial assistance if eligible;
    • keep track of CPR, First Aid, and Fire Safety expiration dates;
    • and more.
Program Directors

Through the PD Registry, Program Directors can:

    • track staff completion of Bureau of Certification and Keystone STARS training requirements;
    • access verified staff qualifications for meeting Certification and Keystone STARS requirements;
    • support staff with professional development planning; and
    • register staff members for training using the statewide training calendar.

Creating an Account

If you don’t have an account, visit the PD Registry website to create one. For assistance, view this step-by-step tip sheet on how to create an account or contact pdregistry@pakeys.org.

More Information

Additional tip sheets and resources are available for new users, existing users, and program directors. For more information, view this document or visit the Pennsylvania Key website.

News

October 14, 2020

Receive A School-Age Professional Credential

Are you interested in receiving a School-Age Professional Credential? A School-Age Professional Credential Course will be available online from October 20, 2020 to May 18, 2021. This course is free to those who qualify. Textbooks are provided.

About

The Pennsylvania School-Age Professional Credential (SAPC) is a competency-based program modeled after the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential. It provides individuals working in school-age programs the opportunity to examine their work in relation to the Pennsylvania School-Age Competency Standards.

A School-Age Professional Credential Course will be available online from October 20, 2020 to May 18, 2021. Course participants will digitally meet on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and there will be a self-paced weekly assignment that will take approximately two hours to complete.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for this course, professionals must:

    • be working in a Department of Human Service regulated program that serves school-age children (age five to 12-years-old);
    • have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED credential;
    • complete an individual professional development plan; and
    • have worked at least 480 hours with school-age children.

Apply

This course is free to those who qualify. Textbooks are provided. Technology and child care supports are available. To apply, visit the PDO at PASSHE webpage.

More Information

For questions or more information, call 814.836.9295 or email chuck.lytle@nwirelrc.org.

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News

October 6, 2020

Promoting Inclusion in ECE Programs

On September 30, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) released guidance on strategies early learning programs should use to ensure all young children with disabilities and their families have access to high-quality, inclusive programming.

About

OCDEL issued this announcement to provide guidance on strategies that promote inclusion for all students, set an expectation for high-quality programs to be inclusive of children with disabilities, and identify resources available to local early learning programs.

Who Does This Apply To?

Effective October 1, 2020, this announcement applies to both federally- and state-funded programs, including Child Care Works, Child Care Certification, Early Head Start, Head Start, Early Intervention, Home Visiting programs, Keystone STARS, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, and Family Centers.

Next Steps

To promote inclusion, local early learning programs must complete the following actions:

1. In collaboration with program staff and families:

    • develop and implement a written program policy that focuses on actively including young children with disabilities in your early learning program;
    • review and modify existing policies, practices, and procedures to ensure barriers are removed that would prevent children with disabilities from accessing or participating in your early learning program; and
    • develop resources for effective communication between families and program staff to ensure families know the benefits of and their rights related to inclusion.

2. Assess staff competencies and implement professional development, which includes family perspectives, related to inclusion based on the needs of staff and families.

3. Seek assistance from your local Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) to identify examples of inclusive program policies, structures, and activities to provide models of dissemination and replication throughout Pennsylvania.

4. Develop and strengthen partnerships between your program and Early Intervention programs so that supports and services for children with disabilities can be provided within the daily routines and activities of high-quality early learning programs.

5. Participate in ongoing opportunities for stakeholder input and professional development opportunities on additional OCDEL guidance related to the inclusion of all children.

6. Implement this policy in conjunction with the Announcement, Reduction of Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania and any additional guidance related to the inclusion of all children.

OCDEL’s Support

To promote practices that support the inclusion of all young children in early learning programs, OCDEL will complete the following actions:

1. In collaboration with and input from stakeholders and families, OCDEL will:

2. OCDEL will provide individualized support, including on-site coaching and consultation, to OCDEL-funded programs.

3. Through the ELRCs, OCDEL will:

    • identify opportunities for community partnerships to promote inclusion, including partnerships for providing individualized support, professional development, and other capacity-building resources;
    • provide support and guidance to assist child care programs to progress in their Keystone STAR level rating; and
    • support child care programs to understand their vital role in supporting inclusion.

More Information

For more information, read the full announcement.

News

ECE Advocacy 101

Are you interested in learning how to use your experience and knowledge to advocate for early childhood? Join Trying Together on October 6 for our free virtual workshop, “ECE Advocacy 101.”

About

The ECE Advocacy 101 workshop is designed to break down the Pennsylvania budget cycle. Participants will receive an overview of the Early Learning PA (ELPA) campaigns, how Early Childhood Education programs are impacted by the budget process, and ways professionals and families can use their experience and knowledge to advocate. Participants will leave with foundational knowledge of the Pennsylvania budget, ELPA campaigns, and various advocacy actions they participate in or lead.

Session Details

    • Session Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020  |  1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
    • Instructors: Cristina Codario, Emily Neff, and Lindsey Ramsey
    • Core Knowledge Area: Professional and Leadership
    • CDA Content Area: Maintaining Professionalism
    • Registration Deadline: Sunday, October 4, 2020

Registration

To register, visit the course PD Registry page. Space is limited. Participants will receive the course Zoom link via email within 24 hours before the start date for the course. PQAS and Act 48 credit available.

If you do not have a PD Registry account, please complete this online form to create one. If you are unable to create an account, please contact Jasmine Davis at jasmine@tryingtogether.org for more information.

More Information

For questions or more information, contact Jasmine Davis at jasmine@tryingtogether.org.

News

October 2, 2020

Dept. of Health Launches COVID Alert PA App

Would you like to receive alerts when you come into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19? Download the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s free COVID Alert PA App.

About

In the app, users report how they are feeling and whether they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If you report having symptoms, the app will provide information on what to do next. The tool also helps its users track their own symptoms within the app while also receiving public health information based on your responses.

COVID Alert PA protects your privacy and personal information. The app does not use GPS, location services, or any movement or geographical information and will never collect, transmit, or store your personal information. Your account will remain completely anonymous. The app detects if users are in close contact with another app user using Bluetooth Low Energy technology, which is the same technology your phone uses to connect to wireless headphones and other devices.

Download the App

To download the app, visit the Google Play Store or iPhone App Store. The app is available on Android phones running Android 6.0 and higher, and iPhones that support iOS 13.5 and higher. This app is not intended to be used by people under the age of 18 years old.

After you download the app, you can opt-in to receive alerts if you have had potential exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Getting timely alerts can help you get advice on how to help yourself and protect others. These alerts will reduce your likelihood of unknowingly spreading the virus to your friends, family, and community.

More Information

For more information, visit the PA Unites Against COVID webpage.

News

September 21, 2020

November 3 Election Reminders

With the November 3 election quickly approaching, do you have a voting plan? Dedicate time today to check your voter registration status, review what options you have to cast your vote, and create your personal voting timeline.

 


Save The Dates

Use the dates listed below to create your personal voting timeline. If you would like to receive ballot deadline reminders, election date reminders, and more, sign-up to receive emails from Votes PA.


 

Register To Vote

To participate in the November 3 election, voter registrations must be submitted by October 19, 2020. Interested community members can register to vote by:

Check Your Voter Registration

To check your voter registration status and polling place address, visit the PA Voter Services website.

 


 

Voting In-Person

On November 3, polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are in line when the polls close, you are entitled to vote. Visit the PA Voter Services website to find your polling place.

If you have voted at your polling location before, you will not need to bring an ID to vote. Only voters who are voting for the first time in their election district need to show their ID (driver’s license, U.S. passport, voter registration card, current utility bill, etc.).

Over-The-Counter Voting Offices

On September 17, the Allegheny County Board of Elections approved a proposal to open additional over-the-counter voting offices on weekends leading up to the November 3 election. Registered voters can visit these secure offices to cast their vote or submit their completed ballots.

Office Locations

Planned dates, locations, and hours include the following:

    • Saturday, October 10  |  9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      County Office Building, Downtown; North Park Ice Rink; South Park Ice Rink; #2 Department of Public Works Garage, Carnegie; and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), Homewood Location
    • Sunday, October 11  |  11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
      County Office Building, Downtown; North Park Ice Rink; South Park Ice Rink; #2 Department of Public Works Garage, Carnegie; and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), Homewood Location
    • Saturday, October 17  |  9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      County Office Building, Downtown; South Park Ice Rink; CCAC South; Boyce Park Ski Lodge; and Shop ‘N Save, Hill District
    • Sunday, October 18  |  11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
      County Office Building, Downtown; South Park Ice Rink; CCAC South; Boyce Park Ski Lodge; and Shop ‘N Save, Hill District
    • Saturday, October 24  |  9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      County Office Building, Downtown; Boyce Park Ski Lodge; CCAC South; CCAC Allegheny; and North Park Ice Rink
    • Sunday, October 25  |  11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      County Office Building, Downtown; Boyce Park Ski Lodge; CCAC South; CCAC Allegheny; and North Park Ice Rink

Absentee Ballots

If you expect to be out of the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness, you can request an absentee ballot. Voters will be required to list the reason for submitting this ballot type. This ballot type is best suited for:

    • college students who are not registered to vote at their school address,
    • people whose work or vacation take them away from the municipality where they live,
    • people with a physical disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polling place,
    • members of the military,
    • people who may have a conflict due to the celebration of a religious holiday, and
    • people who are incarcerated who haven’t been convicted of a felony.

Submit An Application

Complete the online application to request your absentee ballot. Applications to receive an absentee ballot for the November 3 election must be received by your County Election Office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

After receiving your ballot in the mail, your completed ballot must be received by your County Election Office no later than 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. You can submit your ballot in the mail or by visiting your County Election Office.

Mail-In Ballots

If you would like to submit a ballot without visiting a polling location but are not eligible for an absentee ballot, you can apply for a mail-in ballot. Voters will not be required to list a reason for submitting this type of ballot. All registered voters are eligible to request a mail-in ballot.

Submit An Application

Complete the online application to request your mail-in ballot. Applications to receive a mail-in ballot for the November 3 election must be received by your County Election Office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

After receiving your ballot in the mail, your completed ballot must be received by your County Election Office no later than 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. You can submit your ballot in the mail or by visiting your County Election Office.

 


More Information

Visit the Votes PA website for more information on mail-in and absentee ballotsregistering to vote in Pennsylvaniawhat to expect as a first-time voterupcoming elections, and more.

News

September 16, 2020

Pennsylvania’s Child Care Crisis: A Virtual Public Forum

Child care providers, teachers, parents, and advocates in Pennsylvania are invited to join Start Strong PA on September 16 for “Pennsylvania’s Child Care Crisis: A Virtual Public Forum.” The Forum will include an important discussion with the congregational delegation regarding Pennsylvania’s child care crisis.

About

During the Forum, featured speakers will present the following:

    • PennState’s Dr. Philip Sirinides will review major takeaways and recommendations from a new study documenting the financial impact of COVID-19 on the child care sector.
    • Pennsylvania Chamber of Business Industry President and CEO Gene Barr will discuss child care’s vital role in Pennsylvania’s economic recovery.
    • Providers, advocates, and others will detail the changing face of child care and challenges caused by COVID-19, the essential role that child care will have for working families in a recovering economy, and the need for additional financial stabilization assistance to prevent the collapse of the sector.

A question and answer session with panelists and members of Congress will follow these presentations.

Registration

To register for the Forum, visit the event webpage. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.