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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OSSE and the Bainum Family Foundation Launch New Shared Resources Website
The Early Childhood Share DC website is designed to help licensed providers save time, reduce costs, and improve program quality. This online platform provides early care and education (ECE) professionals in the District of Columbia access to a wealth of customizable resources and cost savings that support administrative and programmatic best practices in the operation of a high-quality early care and education program. It is also a one-stop resource for licensed child development providers with content specific to DC. In other states, ECE professionals pay a fee to access this type of shared resources website, but thanks to the generous support of the  Bainum Family Foundation, the website is being offered free of charge to DC ECE professionals, and will continue to remain free. The website will be available to all licensed child development providers in the District of Columbia beginning Sept. 19. To sign up for the website, providers will need to enter their OSSE license number and a valid email address. Sign up for access to the website by visiting the link below.
In this edition:

OSSE and the Bainum Family Foundation Launch New Shared Resources Website 

OSSE Partners with Connect.DC to offer Computer Training for Child Development Providers 

Child Care & Development Fund Required Health & Safety Training Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Provider Spotlight

The Licensing & Compliance Corner

Subsidy Agreement Renewal Application (SARA) Documents Update

New Division of Early Learning Staff Members

Events & Important Dates

Professional Development

The Watercooler: News Worth Reading
OSSE Partners with Connect.DC to offer
Computer Training for Child Development Providers

The Division of Early Learning is partnering with Connect.DC to bring computer training to DC’s child development provider community. Connect.DC, part of DC’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), works to bridge the digital divide by making technology easier to use, more accessible, more affordable, and more relevant to the everyday lives of DC residents and community institutions. The computer training will be offered on Connect.DC’s Mobile Tech Lab, a 48-foot converted bookmobile equipped with computers and Wi-Fi that brings the power of technology to neighborhoods across DC. During the training, participants will learn how to log on to a computer, browse the internet, set up an email account, and access various websites. This training is exclusive to child development providers, and space is limited. Please visit the link below to register to attend one of the training sessions.
Child Care & Development Fund Required
Health & Safety Training Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Division of Early Learning (DEL) staff received many follow-up questions about the recently released Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) health and safety training requirements and courses. As a result, DEL created a FAQs document to answer all of the questions received, and to provide further guidance on the training requirements. For additional questions about the requirements of the health and safety training, please contact Carolyn Taylor, education policy officer, at For questions about the training courses, contact Shaunte Jones, management analyst, at
Provider Spotlight 
Happy Faces Learning Centers
1905 Ninth St. NE Unit E
Washington, DC 20018

Happy Faces Learning Centers (Happy Faces) was founded in 1987 by Linda Bean as a Family Day Care Home Provider in DC's Ward 5 District. It was her love of children and understanding the need for a safe, nurturing learning environment that she opened her doors to childcare. Shortly after, Happy Faces became one of the first day care facilities in the District of Columbia to offer 24 hours/seven days a week services.

Happy Faces has become an integral part of the community by working with local schools to help assist parents with transitioning their children into the school system upon graduating from Happy Faces. In 2000, Happy Faces opened its doors at the Ninth Street location in Ward 5. This expansion was due to the increased demand in Ward 5 for high-quality child care. With two locations and a growing demand to meet the needs of the community, Happy Faces Learning Center acquired additional space in 2005, 2008 and 2011.

1. How does your program prepare early learners for success upon entering kindergarten?
At Happy Faces Learning Centers, we prepare our early learners for success upon entering kindergarten through our daily rigorous implementation of the Creative Curriculum, balanced with the DC Common Core Early Learning Standards. Our staff facilitates engaging, hands-on educational experiences with all students. We have selected the Creative Curriculum due to its research-based theories. Yet, our staff also meets our students where they are while fostering a risk-free environment. Our students learn through their practical applications. Teachers are trained to successfully implement the curriculum with on-going professional development throughout the school year, while encouraging a rich literacy and numerical environment. When needed, we partner with the Children’s Evaluation and Therapy Center to assess students to ensure developmental delays that may interfere with their progress are properly serviced by licensed professionals.
2. What type of child development and family engagement programs do you offer?
Happy Faces Learning Centers offers workshops for parents and students. Our themed workshops are developed based upon the results of parental surveys and observations from the staff. We believe in providing information to benefit the needs of our stakeholders. For an example, September 2016’s theme is, “Math Night.” Parents and students are guided through a series of math games to serve as extensions of our school day while at home. We want children to have a love for learning, thus we incorporate play in our guided discoveries, and share the same practices with parents. 
3. What advice would you give to other child care providers that you wish were given to you?
The main advice I would give to other child care providers that I wish was given to me is:
  • That loving children is easy, but understanding the fundamentals of running a business is difficult; and
  • Establish meaningful partnerships with local and national businesses to provide your students and families with a variety of services. Align the partnerships with your educational principles. Be discrete in your selection process to make good matches. Meet with partners to brainstorm how the organization will service your facility, as well as your contribution. Allocate sufficient personnel to the partnership and effectively communicate.
4. How has participating in the Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Funding Program benefited your program?
Participation in the Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Funding Program has allowed Happy Faces Learning Centers to serve more youth who reside in the District of Columbia who may not have been afforded academic services. We know early childhood is a pivotal point in an individuals’ academic growth. Through OSSE funding opportunities, we are able to provide comprehensive services for our children and technical support for teachers; enabling them to obtain the necessary skills needed to reach our educational goals.

*Questions answered by Tameenah Adams, President and CEO of Happy Faces Learning Centers.
The Licensing & Compliance Corner 
Changes to Criminal Background Check Requirements
Pursuant to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, any individual working in a child care facility as an employee or volunteer, or whose activities involve the care or supervision of children or unsupervised access to children, are required to undergo a criminal background check. All background checks must include a search of: state criminal and sex offender registry in the state where the staff member resides and each state where the staff member has resided over the past five years; state child abuse and neglect registry in the state where the staff member resides and each state where the staff member has resided over the past five years; National Crime Information Center (run by the FBI); FBI fingerprint check using Next Generation Identification; and the National Sex Offender Registry. All child care providers, employees, and volunteers must have a criminal background check through this new mandated process, regardless of the date of the most recent criminal background check, by Sept. 30, 2017. For more information on the changes to the criminal background check process, please visit the link below.
Subsidy Agreement Renewal Application (SARA)
Documents Update
The Division of Early Learning (DEL) is currently in the process of updating the required documents that need to be uploaded in the Subsidy Agreement Renewal Application (SARA) system. DEL will provide instructions and a timeline for the submission of these documents no later than Sept. 14. Once the documents are made available, please return them by Sept. 26 at 11:59 p.m. If you have questions, please reach out to your education services monitor. 
New Division of Early Learning Staff Members
Please join us in welcoming two new employees to the Division of Early Learning (DEL). Kanell Johnson and Gabriel Rojo are part of the Licensing and Compliance Unit which is tasked with issuing licenses, monitoring child development centers and homes, and investigating complaints. Kanell is one of eight child care licensing specialists who have a group of child development facilities to monitor and ensure compliance with local and federal regulations and laws governing child development facilities. As a management analyst, Gabriel is responsible for processing all complaints the Unit receives regarding child development providers. Both Kanell and Gabriel joined the DEL team on Monday, Aug. 22, and we are glad to have them on board.  
Kanell Johnson
Child Care Program Specialist 
Before coming to work at OSSE, Kanell Johnson was a child care licensing specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education, Office of Child Care. In her previous role, she monitored and licensed child care facilities, enforced compliance, conducted inspections, investigated complaints, and provided training and technical assistance to child development facilities. Prior to that, she worked in various positions at several child development facilities in the District of Columbia and Maryland over the course of 14 years ranging from teacher, assistant center director, and center director. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Howard University and has certifications in child abuse, emergency preparedness, and project management.
Gabriel Rojo
Management Analyst 
Gabriel Rojo was raised here in DC after emigrating to the U.S. in 1975 from Uruguay at the age of five. He then went on to graduate from the Woodrow Wilson High School in DC. He has done a lot of local community development work in the District of Columbia since 1994, working for both nonprofit and local government agencies. Before coming to work at OSSE, Gabriel worked in the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services as the Ward 1 liaison. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park after serving in the U.S. Army for three years. He also received a master’s degree from George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and a second master’s degree from Howard University’s School of Social Work.
Events & Important Dates 
Professional Development
Meeting for Home Providers 
Saturday, September 10, 2016
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
OSSE - Grand Hall

Meeting for Center
Directors & Owners
Saturday, September 10, 2016
12:45 - 2:45 p.m.
OSSE - Grand Hall

Connect.DC Computer Training
Saturday, September 24, 2016
National Children's Center 
3400 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE
Washington, DC 20032
Session One: 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Session Two: 12 - 1:30 p.m.

View the OSSE Events Calendar
Infant CLASS: Observant Teaching and Thoughtful Support (Rational Climate and Teacher Sensitivity) 
Friday, September 9, 2016
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. More info
Observing and Assessing 
Young Children

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
More info
Nutrition for Early Learners 
Friday, September 16, 2016
9:30 a.m. - Noon More info
Addressing the Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children, Families, Schools and Communities
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
1 - 4 p.m. More info
Exploring Primary Care Giving 
and Continuity of Care

Thursday, September 27, 2016
1-4 p.m. More info 
View the Entire Summer Professional Development Catalog
The Watercooler: News Worth Reading 
"Eye-Opening Video Will Make Adults Reconsider the Way They Talk to Children"
The Huffington Post

The Atlanta Speech School released “Every Opportunity,” a video that shows a day at school from the perspective of one young student. While he begins his day with enthusiasm, his interactions with educators and other adults leave him feeling discouraged. Read more

"Setting the Foundation for Good Attendance"
The Department of Education Homeroom Blog

As a pre-K teacher, I have the unique opportunity to be one of the first educators to set the foundation for good attendance with parents and students. Since I am required to have an interview with each family and student before the school year begins, I take advantage of the interview to explain the attendance rules and expectations. Read more

"Foundation Acquires Farm to Provide
Fresh Produce to D.C.’s Low-Income Areas
The Washington Post

The Bainum Family Foundation acquired a 263-acre Virginia farm in 2015 and wants to use the Middleburg property to grow fruits and vegetables to serve families in the District’s Wards 7 and 8. These wards, located east of the Anacostia River, are often referred to as “food deserts” because of residents’ inadequate access to groceries and fresh produce there. Read more
"Telling Children Stories Impacts Them Profoundly"
The Atlantic

Stories help children develop empathy and cultivate imaginative and divergent thinking—that is, thinking that generates a range of possible ideas and/or solutions around story events, rather than looking for single or literal responses. Read more

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