Preschool Development Grant

Oregon learned this week that it was not selected to receive a Race to the Top- Preschool Development Grant. The grant would have funded high-quality preschool for an additional 1,365 income-eligible children in Oregon.

The model outlined in Oregon’s grant application relied on Head Start, private preschools, community-based organizations and schools to coordinate preschool services in their communities. This mixed-delivery model creates more accessible options for families and builds upon the existing resources within a community.

“While we are disappointed that we were not selected to receive this grant, we are proud of the application we put together. We will continue to build upon the mixed-delivery model outlined in grant and pursue other funding avenues for providing high-quality preschool to underserved children in Oregon,” said Megan Irwin, Acting Early Learning System Director.

The Governor’s Requested Budget includes an investment of about $30 million to create a mixed-delivery preschool model to reach more underserved children in Oregon.

There was good news for three of our state’s Head Start programs this morning. Umatilla Morrow Head Start, Mt. Hood Community College and the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, Inc will all likely receive Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and Early Head Start Expansion grants. The grant amounts are still in negotiation and additional grantees may be announced through March of next year. We are thrilled for our Head Start partners and look forward to supporting the implementation of these grants.

Learn more about Oregon’s grant submission here and the Preschool Development Grant announcement here.

P-3 Toolkit

In order for Oregon to reach our 40-40-20 goal and close opportunity gaps, we must work together to create a truly seamless system of education for all children. This requires early learning, K-12, and health providers to reach out to each other and identify opportunities to collaborate, align work, and leverage resources to work in partnership with families. These resources will help you identify the best next step for doing this work in your community.

Key Resources for Early Years to Early Grades Work in Your Community

Take a moment to check out our P-3 Alignment page as well.

Early Years to Early Grade Summit – Register Now

Earlier the Early Learning Divsion extended an invitation to 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. Dr. Kristie Kauerz from the University of Washington will serve as the Keynote, sharing 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.

Click here to register
Click here to view the agenda

Please contact Brett Walker with the Early Learning Division at 503.378.5160 or by email at brett.walker@state.or.us.

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.

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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

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