Race to the Top Preschool Development Grant

The purpose of the grant is to expand high-quality preschool programs, through comprehensive services and family engagement, for preschool-aged children from families at or below 200% of the Federal poverty line. Oregon is eligible for an expansion grant for up to $15 million in the first year of the grant in order to:

  •  Implement and sustain high-quality preschool programs to reach and serve additional eligible children in two or more high-need communities;
  • Enhance preschool program infrastructure and make quality improvements to deliver high-quality preschool programs;
  • and, deliver high-quality preschool programs through a mixed-delivery system of providers that includes schools, licensed child care centers, Head Start programs, and community-based organizations.

A team is working on drafting this grant application and coordinating with the specific regions that have been asked to participate. Read more: Preschool Development Grant – Criteria Regions.

Early Years to Early Grades Summit

The Early Learning Divsion would like to invite early learning service providers and K-12 educators to participate in the upcoming Early Years to Early Grades Summit, which will take place on November 6, 2014 at the Airport Sheraton in Portland. We are so excited to be bringing in Dr. Kristie Kauerz from the University of Washington to share information on her research-based framework for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Pre-K through 3rd Grade Approaches. This conference will be a great opportunity for providers of early learning services and K-12 educators alike to learn from both national experts and from colleagues here in Oregon about effective strategies for connecting early learning and early elementary education.

More information to come soon. In the meantime, please contact Brett Walker with the Early Learning Division at 503.378.5160 or by email at brett.walker@state.or.us.


Governor Kitzhaber Appoints Acting Early Learning System Director

August 19, 2014

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber announced today the appointment of Megan Irwin as Acting Early Learning System Director. Ms. Irwin’s appointment follows the retirement of Jada Rupley, whose last day with the Division was August 15. The appointment is immediate.

“Megan is an energetic and engaged leader who will foster the talent of both Early Learning Division staff and community leaders who are doing great work,” Governor Kitzhaber said. “She will continue to partner with communities and the Legislature to help shape a quality early learning system that follows through on the promise we made to our youngest Oregonians.”

Ms. Irwin takes over as Acting Director after holding key leadership positions in the Early Learning Division in which she oversaw policy and programs, managed the state’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant, and supported the creation of cross-sector early learning hubs.

Ms. Irwin double majored in journalism and mass communications and in political science at Arizona State University. She began her career as a journalist in Phoenix, Arizona, focusing on issues related to children, families, and immigrants. As part of a team, she is a two-time winner of the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism and has also received multiple Arizona Press Club awards for her coverage of vulnerable children and families in the Phoenix-metro area. Ms. Irwin has also worked in education advocacy, overseeing community organizing and family engagement programs in 11 states. She is the proud daughter of two public school teachers.

“The Early Learning Division is full of highly qualified, committed individuals with decades of experience working with children and families,” Ms. Irwin said. “My job will be to listen, continue to bring alignment and clarity to this complex work, and ensure that everything we do helps to eliminate disparities across the state so that all children and families have the opportunity to succeed.”

With Ms. Irwin moving into the Acting Director role, David Mandell has been appointed Early Learning Policy and Partnerships Director. Mr. Mandell has been active in early childhood policy in Oregon for close to a decade. He spent seven years as the Policy & Research Director of the Children’s Institute, where he focused on such topics as early childhood professional development, kindergarten assessment, and integrating social-emotional development into early childhood services. Mr. Mandell received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago and most recently served as the Special Advisor on Early Childhood to Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek.

The Early Learning Division of the Oregon Department of Education oversees the early learning system, including policies and programs that support stable and attached families and school readiness. The Division was created on July 1, 2013, and is overseen by the Early Learning Council, a 17-member public policy board.

Read the original press release here.

Child Care Rules

On August 6, 2014 the Early Learning Council took unanimous action to adopt child care licensing rules that clarify policies about the use of alcohol and tobacco products as well as illegal controlled substances including medical marijuana. You can find the approved temporary rules below:

Central Background Registry
Registered Family
Certified Family
Certified Center

OPK Expansion Grants

The Early Learning Division had a small pot of funds available to support the expansion of current OPK/Head Start programs. Grant recipients were announced in June 2014. In the spirit of transparency, you can see all of the grants and scoring results here.

Grant Proposals

In the Media: Oregon’s Quality Rating & Improvement System

Please take a minute to read OPB’s latest article on the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). In 2012, Oregon received $20 million to help rebuild our early learning system, with a particular focus on promoting quality early learning environments in child care settings. As you will read, Oregon’s QRIS is continuing to grown and has given over 27,000 children access to quality programs throughout the state so far.

Oregon Early Learning and Early Head Start Partnerships

Thank you for your interest in the federal Early Head Start Child Care Partnership funding opportunity.  Alignment and coordination of applications with state early learning systems will ensure that we achieve the best possible outcomes for as many children as possible in Oregon.  The document below is designed to support your efforts. Please contact Christa Rude or Dawn Barberis with any questions.

Download the guide.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers

%d bloggers like this: