Delaware wins $4.2 million preschool development grant

Delaware has won a $4.2 million federal grant to strengthen its early childhood system. The grant will help the state better prepare children from all backgrounds to enter kindergarten ready to learn and will improve their transition between early childhood programs and the K-12 system.

The Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning — in partnership with the Governor’s Office and other state agencies — applied for the one-year Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5).

The grant will fund a needs assessment and creation of a strategic plan focused on four priorities:

  • Coordinated services for children birth through age 5 and their families
  • Integration of data to influence early childhood policy decisions
  • Tools to foster family knowledge-building and choice
  • Professional learning across sectors using a shared whole-child development language

“This grant will help us improve the design of our early childhood system to help all children receive the highest quality early learning experiences and be ready for a successful transition to kindergarten,” Governor John Carney said.

Critical to the state’s plans is a needs assessment.

“Delaware must understand the experiences of families as well as early childhood professionals as they navigate our current system, which crosses state agencies and the public and private sectors,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. “This needs assessment will allow subsequent policy and process solutions to be grounded in an analysis of the true needs of Delaware’s children and families.”

Delaware’s grant application built upon the state’s early childhood successes and existing priorities, including renewing the Delaware Early Childhood Council’s strategic plan for the next five years, Carney’s executive order making Delaware a trauma-informed state and the Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy grant that the state won to integrate its data systems.

This grant came to fruition thanks to strong public-private partnership, a testament to Delaware’s shared commitment to quality early learning. The Early Childhood Council’s priorities align with the themes of this grant—improved parent information and access, stronger data systems, and deeper coordination among programs and providers to support children’s development. We look forward to leveraging this opportunity to chart the roadmap for the next five years in Delaware,” said Madeleine Bayard, Delaware Early Childhood Council chair.

 

Media Contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006


Public invited to community conversations on early learning

The Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning invites early learning providers and program representatives, families, and other community members to join community conversations about early learning across the state.

The sessions, planned for evenings this spring in all three counties, will cover topics such as childcare licensing, Purchase of Care and Delaware Stars, the state’s quality rating system for early childcare.

“We want to hear from people who are doing this important work day in and day out to educate and support children and families,” said Kimberly Krzanowski, executive director of the Office of Early Learning. “These conversations are an opportunity for us to learn about how current efforts are supporting programs and opportunities to engage in how we could do things differently.”

Each session will include:

• Belvie Herbert, social services administrator, Purchase of Care, Department of Health and Social Services
• Dr. Kimberly Krzanowski, executive director, Office of Early Learning, Delaware Department of Education
• Kristy Sheffler, director, Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood, Delaware Stars
• Betty Gail Timm, administrator, Office of Child Care Licensing

The meetings will be held in four locations throughout the state:

Wilmington
6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 17
Carvel State Office Building
820 North French Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

Camden
6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 8
Delaware State Police Troop 3
3759 South State Street
Camden, DE 19934

Georgetown
6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 9
Georgetown Public Library
123 West Pine Street
Georgetown, DE 19947

Bear
6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 22
Delaware State Police Troop 2
100 Lagrange Avenue
Newark, DE 19702

Registration is not required.

 

Media Contact: Alison May (302) 735-4006


Delaware receives $500,000 grant to create early education teaching credential

The Delaware Department of Education will work with area colleges and universities to develop an infant/toddler credential for early educators with the help of a new $500,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting announced today.

“We must take steps to help more Delaware children reach kindergarten ready to learn,” Governor John Carney said. “This grant will help us support early learning professionals across our state — educators who are working with Delaware children every day. Ensuring our children are prepared to learn is critical to their future success and to our success as a state.”

The credential will establish specialized online coursework in infant and toddler development and learning in Delaware that will allow the credits earned to transfer into an associate degree program down the road, Bunting said.

“Quality early education from birth to age 3 is critical for children and families,” Bunting said. “Development during this period forms the basis for all future learning. Consequently, Delaware must make certain it has prepared professionals in these classrooms.”

Through the grant, early learning professionals who work directly with infants and toddlers will receive education focused on quality child-teacher interactions, exposing infants and toddlers to developmentally appropriate environments, and creating learning experiences that enhance the whole child. Additionally, the grant will allow for the creation of three cohorts of students pursuing the infant/toddler credential throughout the state. Cohort members will be supported by a program manager/coach to facilitate monthly meetings and to provide them with onsite, individualized coaching.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for Delaware’s early childhood educators, children and families,” said Kimberly Krzanowski , executive director of the Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning. “This grant will support the great work that already is being accomplished in high-quality early learning centers around the state and will support our long-term goals of ensuring that all children have a successful start at birth and are prepared to be successful in life.”

Development of coursework and recruiting of cohort members will take place this spring for courses to begin in the fall.

Media Contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006


Early Teacher Hiring Improves In Delaware For 2nd Straight Year

Independent Study Attributes Improvement to 2011 Legislation

Wilmington, DE (Thursday, October 3, 2013) – Delaware’s public school districts reported a second consecutive year of improvement in early teacher hiring in 2012, after years of deteriorating hiring statistics. The University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, which conducts the state’s annual teacher hiring survey, attributed the improvement to legislation written by Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn and State Senator David P. Sokola (D, Newark), chair of the Senate Education Committee.

In 2010, only 35.7% of the new teachers hired by Delaware’s 19 school districts were hired prior to August.  In 2011, the year that Lieutenant Governor Denn and Senator Sokola’s legislation was implemented, the number jumped from 35.7% hired before August to 51.4%. The improvement continued in 2012, with the percentage of teachers hired before August increasing again to 53.5%.

The Institute for Public Administration concluded its 2012-2013 report by stating, “What has led to the reduction in later teacher hiring in Delaware? The most obvious answer is Senate Bill 164 with House Amendment 1, the extension of SB 16….This bill was aimed at decreasing late teacher hiring, and it appears to have had the desired effect.” A copy of that report can be found here: http://www.ipa.udel.edu/publications/teacher_supply13.pdf.

Senate Bill 16 and Senate Bill 164 are bills written by Lieutenant Governor Denn and Senator Sokola, which changed the dates of state guarantees of teacher funds to local school districts from October to May. This earlier guarantee of state funds has allowed school districts to make firm hiring offers to teachers much earlier in the calendar year.

“Earlier hiring of teachers was one of the major roadblocks to teacher recruitment that schools identified for me,” Lieutenant Governor Denn said.  “With surrounding states making earlier hiring offers to the top students coming out of teaching schools, it was very difficult for Delaware schools to compete for the new teachers they wanted to hire.  That’s what motivated us to write this law, and I am extremely pleased to see what a dramatic impact it has had.”

“I’m very happy to see the progress that has been made so far in the early hiring of new teachers for Delaware’s schools,” said Sen. Sokola.  “My hope is that the number of teachers who are hired early will continue to increase.  Early hiring helps our new teachers get oriented quickly and work more effectively within the collaborative teaching model that is becoming so important to the success of our schools.”

Earlier this week, Delaware launched a new campaign, “Join Delaware Schools,” which is aimed at attracting the caliber of teachers necessary to realize the state’s vision of a world-class education system for all students. Central to the campaign is the launch of an online teacher recruitment portal — www.joindelawareschools.org — that gives applicants a one-stop site to look for and learn about education jobs in the state.  Join Delaware Schools is the first statewide teacher recruitment effort of its kind.