Positioning Delaware for an Early Childhood Race to the Top
The Delaware Early Childhood Council met last week with a new chair, membership, and charge. Chair Dan Rich and Vice Chair Connie Bond Stuart, in their recent opinion in The News Journal, make the case that Delaware leaders can and should position the state for a Race to the Top opportunity for our youngest learners before it’s available, just as we did for K-12. Public-private partnership was one of the critical ingredients in Delaware’s winning Race to the Top, and the Council exemplifies such a partnership and momentum is beginning to build.
Delaware expects to receive $665,000 in October for our Head Start grant—more than the $500,000 the state was allocated, because other states have elected not to apply for their share. The additional resources will enable the state to build a Kindergarten readiness metric, for which stakeholders have advocated for years and additional Head Start funding already has enabled the home visiting program for children with young families to expand.
Additionally the Delaware Maternal and Child Health Bureau, with Nemours Health and Prevention Services and other partners, is leading the state’s application for a national grant opportunity, Help Me Grow, which would provide resources including $40,000 to build a comprehensive, statewide system of early identification and linkages to developmental and behavioral supports for children and families. Delaware’s chances of winning the grant look good: the funder was here last month at a meeting hosted by Nemours, we applied last time but were turned down (so we have been able to improve our application based on that feedback), and we have a good case to make for the scale criteria.
Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children (DAEYC) announced that the state’s TEACH Scholarship program is now offering opportunities for BA degrees for early childhood educators, which previously were not available. Social Venture Partners is working on a behavioral health curriculum to support early childhood teachers.
At the Vision 2015 Conference next week, Dan and Connie will join Doug Tynan from Nemours, Jim Lesko from DOE, and Steve Barnett from NIEER in an afternoon panel focused on Delaware’s opportunity to position ourselves as a national leader before the official competition begins. If you aren’t registered for this sold-out event, you can check our blog that day for an update on the panel’s presentations and recommendations.