Early Connections Annual Report 2016-2017

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United Way Success By 6

Success By 6, United Way of Erie County's Early Care and Education initiative, promotes collaborative community

partnerships in order to facilitate Kindergarten Readiness for Erie County children. Professionals from a wide range of

organizations come together through several SB6 committees to focus on the needs of young children and their

families: Maternal Child Health Task Force, Erie County Early Learning Professionals, and Pre-K Counts, as well as in

partnership with the Erie County Local Inter-agency Coordinating Council (LICC). Here are some of the highlights of the

previous year:

• 11th Annual Success By 6 Early Learning Expo: 87 families including 115 children

(91 aged 5 and under), 26 local agency exhibits, hands-on activities, live entertainment,

and educational materials. Each child received a book courtesy of Hooked on Books.

• 8th Annual Pre-K Counts Awareness Day: 700 preschoolers and their teachers from

Pre-K Counts programs throughout Erie County attended, taking part in a variety of

educational activities and games at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center.

• Children’s Behavioral Health Services Guide, produced in partnership with the Local

Inter-agency Coordinating Council (LICC): 100 copies were distributed to parents and

childcare directors working with children experiencing challenges in the home or classroom.

• Children Do Come With Directions booklets: 4400 booklets containing information on

child development, health and safety, and basic information on community resources

available to help support the needs of families with children were distributed to families

throughout Erie County.

• Kindergarten Readiness Outreach: promoted the Erie Together Kindergarten Readiness

Toolkits and Kindergarten Registration Flyers with P-3 Governors Institute/Kindergarten

Readiness Teams, and Kindergarten Registration Events across Erie County.

Keystone STARS Technical ssistance

Through an annual contract with the Northwest Regional Key, Early Connections continues to provide Keystone STARS

Technical Assistance (TA) consulting to early learning and school-age programs in the region. Technical Assistance is

provided to facilities who wish to progress through Keystone STARS tiered quality system to achieve a specific level of

quality. Consultation is provided through multi-faceted one-on-one coaching and mentoring with early educators and

caregivers.

• Consultation occurs around the Keystone STARS content areas of Staff Qualifications and Professional

Development, Leadership and Management, Early Learning and School- Age Programs, Partnerships with

Family and Community.

• During 2016-17, Early Connections’ Technical Assistance consultation provided 637 hours of direct service to 68

facilities.

• The Professional Development (PD)/Technical Assistance (TA) Blended Model created for the Office of Child

Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) in Fiscal Year 15-16 combined prescriptive Professional Development

with the one-on-one support and implementation through traditional STARS Technical Assistance coaching and

mentoring. Early Connections is still offering the practitioners the opportunity to participate in the Blended Model

Technical Assistance project.

Professional Development

Early Connections strives to support and educate the child care workforce through

professional development opportunities for teachers and staff in 20 counties of

Northwestern Pennsylvania.

• During 2016-17, 36 individuals completed a Child Development Associate (CDA)

credential course offered by Early Connections. Upon completion of 120 hours of

coursework and CDA certification from the National Council for Professional

Recognition, Gannon University will articulate Early Connections CDA coursework

into college credits for participants who desire to continue in the Early Childhood

Associate Degree program. The CDA program continues to be an excellent

opportunity for Early Childhood professionals.

WHAT IS KEYSTONE STARS ?

Keystone STARS is a continuous quality

improvement program. It has four STAR

levels. Each STAR designation has its

own research-based performance

standards. These standards measure four

areas that make a difference in the quality

of care your child receives:

1. The educated and welltrained

staff

2. The environment your child is

in everyday

3. Leadership and Management

4. Family and Community

Partnerships

As a program moves from STAR 1 to

STAR 4, the requirements in these areas

increase.

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