The Early Learning Newsletter provides information, updates and resources relative to the professionals that serve the District of Columbia’s youngest learners.
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Exciting News from the
Division of Early Learning
As summer slowly comes to an end and focus quickly shifts to preparations for the beginning of another new school year, it is important to share with the community the new and exciting things that have been happening within the Division of Early Learning over the past few months. Part of the excitement is the re-launch of the early learning newsletter to inform the community about the hard work we are doing to improve the successfulness of our earliest learners upon entering kindergarten.

The newsletter will be released at the beginning of every month and will have information on important early learning topics, provider resources, key professional development training courses, various division events, and industry articles of importance. You are encouraged to share this newsletter and to tell your fellow colleagues to subscribe to it so they are able to receive updates from us on a monthly basis.

In this edition:

Exciting News From the Division of Early Learning

Mayor Bowser Convenes with Early Learning Providers

Meet the Division of Early Learning's New Community Outreach Specialist

New Division of Early Learning Staff Members

New CCDF Health & Safety Training Requirements

OSSE Releases Report on Child Care Utilization in the District

Child Care Providers Throughout the District Participate in the Enhanced QRIS Pilot

Provider Spotlight

The Licensing & Compliance Corner

Events & Important Dates

Professional Development

Funding Oppurtunities

The Watercooler: News Worth Reading
Mayor Bowser Convenes with Early Learning Providers
Mayor Muriel Bowser, along with the Deputy Mayors for Education and Health and Health and Human Services, brought key stakeholders together June 9, 2016 for a Convening on Early Childhood, where she outlined her vision for sustaining, accelerating and deepening that progress so that all children, birth to age 5, can access affordable, high-quality early childhood education. (View photo gallery from the event.)
Meet the Division of Early Learning's
New Community Outreach Specialist
Even though I have now worked at OSSE for almost two months, many of you may not know who I am, so I would like to take a moment to introduce myself to you. I am Daryl Johnson, the new Community Outreach Specialist for the Division of Early Learning. In this position, I will focus on improving two-way communication between the Division of Early Learning and its various community partners. In addition, I will strive to keep you informed in regards to news you need to know, and will also be the person responsible for writing the monthly newsletter. 

Before coming to work at OSSE, I worked at the Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) as a marketing and communications coordinator responsible for communicating service information and marketing the benefits of riding public transit. I earned my bachelor's degree in communications from Bowie State University and my master's degree in Public Relations Management from University of Maryland University College (UMUC).

While I continue to become acclimated with my new position, I would like to hear from you, our community partners, about how our communication with you could improve, and to determine the information you would like to receive from us to aide you in better understanding the Division of Early Learning’s mission.

If you ever have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (202) 741-5937 or
New Division of Early Learning Staff Members
Over the past few months, a few new people have joined the Division of Early Learning, specifically, Brianna Holmes, Child Care Program Specialist; Dr. Margareth Legaspi, Director of Quality Initiatives; and Carlene Reid, Supervisory Coordinator for Special Education. As the Division of Learning continues to grow, and more people join the team, we look forward to sharing this news with you in future editions of the newsletter. 
Briana Holmes
Child Care Program Specialist 
Before coming to work at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Brianna worked as a content specialist at the Nemours National Office of Policy and Prevention where she provided technical assistance to state level project coordinators and trainers on the utilization of effective coaching techniques to maximize effectiveness and impact in early childhood programs.  From 2011-14, she was a child care licensing specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education, Office of Child Care, where she monitored and licensed child care facilities, enforced compliance and conducted inspections. Brianna earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a master’s degree from Bowie State University. 
Margareth Legaspi, Ed.D.
Director of Quality Initiatives 
Dr. Margareth Legaspi is the Director of Quality Initiatives in the Division of Early Learning at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Dr. Legaspi provides leadership for the Quality Initiatives Unit that implements DEL quality programs, including subsidized child care, the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), the Quality Improvement Network (QIN), and professional development programs. Before coming to OSSE, she worked at DCPS for 12 years as a special education teacher, program manager, and director who has developed and implemented high-quality, innovative academic and enrichment programs including Saturday Scholars, Academic Power Hour, and Summer School for early childhood, elementary, and middle school students. She has implemented effective systems to support approximately 7,000 students in the afterschool programs and 3,000 students in summer school. She has also designed assessments of program goals and outcomes to best address student needs. She earned a master’s degree in education and human development in curriculum and instruction, with a concentration in bilingual special education, and a doctorate in special education from George Washington University.
Carlene Reid
Supervisory Coordinator for Special Education 
Carlene Reid is the Supervisory Coordinator for Special Education (Part B-619) in the Division of Early Learning at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.  Carlene is a native to the Washington, D.C. area (born in D.C., raised in Maryland). She is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and has practiced in DC for seven years prior to coming to OSSE. The majority of those years were spent at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, a public charter school that serves children with intellectual disabilities. While there, she was a therapist and eventually became a mid-level administrator supervising teams of teachers, paraprofessionals, and therapists. Her most recent work experience was at DCPS Early Stages where she evaluated children between the ages of two and five to determine if they were eligible for special education and related services under IDEA Part B. Carlene is currently a second year doctoral student at Drexel University studying Special Education Leadership and Management under the Urban Special Education Leadership Training grant. Carlene previously attended Hampton University where she earned her bachelor’s degree and Florida State University where she earned her master’s degree. Outside of work, she holds several leadership roles in the community by serving in her local alumni association and other community groups.
New CCDF Health & Safety Training Requirements
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program is an extension of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 signed into law by President Obama, which defines new health and safety requirements for child care providers. As a part of the CCDF program, providers are required to take health and safety training in 11 topic areas prior to Sept. 30, 2017. To assist new and existing directors, caregivers, and teachers in meeting these new requirements, the Division of Early Learning's Professional Development Unit has developed a course catalog with both in-person and online courses that cover the 11 topic areas. 
OSSE Releases Report on Child Care Utilization in the District
The Child Care Rate and Utilization report, which was submitted to the DC Council on July 14, 2016, details how from March 2015 through April 2016, OSSE supported providers in serving over 12,000 children through the subsidized child care program. Additionally, on March 11, 2016, OSSE released the results of an innovative cost estimation model, the findings of which present both strengths and opportunities for improvement for the District’s early care and education system. Through ongoing stakeholder engagement, including cross-sector collaboration and coordination facilitated through the State Early Childhood Development Coordinating Council, OSSE is using the findings of the report to inform change that will continue to promote access for families to healthy, safe, equitable, and quality child care.
Child Care Providers Throughout the District Participate
in the Enhanced QRIS Pilot
The enhanced Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) pilot, which launched in April 2016, is currently underway and recently achieved a major milestone last month when many providers participating in the program completed their Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) plan. The enhanced QRIS offers a framework for providers and schools to assess effective learning environments, curriculum alignment, family engagement, and other research-informed quality indicators to meet the needs of all children and families. The pilot includes 25 diverse providers and schools, and sometime later this year, providers interested in participating in the enhanced QRIS pilot will be able to submit an application to join the pilot. Once the pilot is finished, the enhanced QRIS will be implemented in 2017 for all providers.
Provider Spotlight 
Spanish Education Development Center
4110 Kansas Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20011
Established in 1971, the Spanish Education Development (SED) Center provides bilingual education programs for children ages 3 months to 4 years, their families, and adults in the Washington metropolitan area. SED helps to build the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary for families to navigate an increasingly multilingual, multicultural society. 

1. How does your program prepare early learners for success upon entering kindergarten?
The Spanish Education Development (SED) Center prepares early learners, from 3 months to 4 yrs. of age, to enter kindergarten by providing them with a nurturing, multicultural, developmentally sound environment and developmentally appropriate curriculum. The instruction is bilingual, Spanish and English. SED works together with parents to foster and promote the best understanding and learning of how to enhance their child’s development. SED’s goal is to have parents become the best advocates in the education of their children.
2. What type of child development and family engagement programs do you offer?
The SED Center has a sound parental engagement component. Staff members work with families by having home visits, twice a year, and SED’s Parent Liaison develops a series of learning workshops and activities based on the parents’ needs and interests throughout the year. Parents are actively engaged in the program activities by participating in classroom projects, program celebrations, community activities, and outdoor events. Parents are kept informed of the program activities through written information and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube). The SED center has an average of 880 hours of parent’s volunteer hours per year.
3. What advice would you give to other child care providers that you wish were given to you?
My best advice to other child care providers would be to love and fully commit to the work that we do. An authentic child care worker does not have a specific schedule: seizes learning opportunities to improve his/her work at all times. Going along with this belief, I would say that being a child care worker is similar to being a scientist: the searching is infinite!
4. How has participating in the enhanced QRIS pilot benefited your program?
SED’s participation in OSSE’s enhanced QRIS pilot has been a wonderful opportunity to revise, improve, and update best practices in the field of early childhood program management. It is a great opportunity to keep focused on program improvement at all levels.

*Questions answered by Martha Egas, Executive Director of the Spanish Education Development Center.

Click Here to Nominate a Provider
The Licensing & Compliance Corner 
Zika Virus Prevention

Zika virus is thought to be primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that spread chikungunya and dengue. These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, but also bite at night. Mosquitoes become infected when they bite a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth.  There is evidence that the Zika virus can be sexually transmitted.

Zika is a virus that is thought to spread to people through mosquito bites; there has also been at least one documented case of sexual transmission. The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting from several days to one week. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus develop symptoms.Hospitalization is not common. Zika virus has been found in Mexico, several countries in Central and South America, and several islands in the Caribbean including Puerto Rico. A number of imported cases were recently diagnosed in the U.S. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache.

How can Providers Limit the Spread of Zika Virus Infection?
  • No vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus infection.
  • Mosquitoes that spread the virus bite mostly during the day.
  • Make sure there is no standing water near your center or play areas.
  • Dress children in clothes that cover arms and legs when they are going outside.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use EPA registered insect repellents.
    • Follow label instructions.
    • Reapply as directed.
  • If you are using sunscreen – apply that first then put on the insect repellent.
  • Spray insect repellent on your hands then put it on a child’s face.
  • Don’t use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months.
  • Don’t put insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
For more information on Zika Virus, please visit:
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response. (2016). What Head Start or Child Care Programs Need to Know About Zika Virus.  Retrieved from     
Events & Important Dates 
Professional Development
Pre-K Expansion & Funding Post Application Conference 
Friday, August 12, 2016
1 - 3:30 p.m. | Grand Hall A & B
Health & Wellness Symposium
Putting the Pieces Together: Promoting Whole Child Wellness

August 18 - 19 | 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Kellogg Conference Hotel
at Gallaudet University
More info

Home Provider Meeting 
Saturday, September 10, 2016
10 a.m. - Noon | Grand Hall A & B

Provider Meeting for
Directors & Owners
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Noon - 1:30 p.m. | Grand Hall A & B

View the OSSE Events Calendar
Community of Practice for Center Directors - Part Two 
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
4-7 p.m. More info
Be an Oral Health Champion 
Friday, August 12, 2016
11 a.m. - Noon 
More info
Patterns Here, There & Everywhere at the National Building Museum 
Friday, August 12, 2016
5-7 p.m. More info
Child Abuse Prevention & Mandatory Reporter Training
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
1-4 p.m. More info
Strategies for Engaging Men in Early Childhood Programs
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
1-4 p.m. More info 
View the Entire Summer Professional Development Catalog
The Watercooler: News Worth Reading 
"Babies' Brains Are Shaped By Interaction at
Earlier Age Than Parents Assume"
The Huffington Post

We now know that human brains aren't born – they're built from the ground up, through the combined influences of children's genes and early experiences. During the first 1,000 days of a child's life, over 700 neural connections are formed every second, literally shaping the architecture of a young child's brain. Read more

"Building a Foundation for Children Starts in Pre-K"
Department of Education Homeroom Blog

As a kindergarten teacher, I have seen that attending a high-quality pre-K program makes a significant difference in children’s kindergarten success—and later success as well. This is why I am passionate that access to high-quality pre-K should not be a luxury afforded to some, but an invaluable resource offered to all. Read more

"Why Do Children Ask, Why?"
The Huffington Post

Even as adults, we question the “why” of many things not in our control. For children, “why” questions help them make sense of the world around them that they are just beginning to learn about. Read more

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