Rally4Babies is only one week away!

Monday, July 01st, 2013 | Author: Tracy

The Rally4Babies is only one week away! On Monday, July 8 at 2 PM Eastern Time, connect live with event speakers, presenters, and thousands of early childhood advocates in support of early learning policies that benefit babies and toddlers. The virtual rally will take place online through Google+ Hangout at http://rally4babies.org/community and will be streamed live on YouTube.

Award winning journalist and CEO of Starfish Media Group Soledad O’Brien will serve as the event host. Presenters will include actor and Save the Children Artist Ambassador Jennifer Garner, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chair of the Board at America’s Promise Alliance Alma Powell, and award winning children’s musician Laurie Berkner.

To learn more about participating in the rally, visit www.Rally4Babies.org.

Help spread the word about this event to your social media networks using the hashtag #Rally4Babies.

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CCDBG Reauthorization Bill Introduced in Senate

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 | Author: Tracy

(ChildCare Aware of America) Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have introduced a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the primary federal grant program that provides child care assistance for families and funds child care quality initiatives. Child Care Aware® of America supports the measure, S. 1086, “Child Care Development and Block Grant Act of 2013,” which would reauthorize the program for the first time since 1996.

Under the Reauthorization Bill, states would be required to ensure that all child care providers who care for CCDBG-funded children:

  • Receive health and safety training in specific areas
  • Receive comprehensive background checks (including fingerprints, checks of the sex offender and child abuse registries)
  • Receive on-site monitoring

This bill includes many measures to improve the quality of child care and ensure that all children in child care settings are safe.

Read the ChildCare Aware of America press release here.


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Smart Start Receives Clean Audit Report

Friday, May 31st, 2013 | Author: Tracy

11th Consecutive Year Receiving a “Clean Bill” of Financial Health

For the 11th consecutive year, The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC) has a “clean bill” of financial health, according to the Office of State Auditor. An audit of Fiscal Year 2011-2012 activities found the organization was in compliance and had appropriate internal controls. In addition, in keeping with legislative requirements, 39 Smart Start local partnerships also were audited with no findings.

Smart Start’s high standards of accountability were reaffirmed by the State Auditor’s decision to discontinue planned financial-related audits with a statewide scope. These audits were new and in addition to the biennial audits required by law. However, after performing seven (out of 76), the Office of the State Auditor informed NCPC that:

“Our original plan had been to perform a financial related audit with a standard scope at all of the partnerships over a period of four years. However, our results to date indicate that the audits are not necessary at this time.”

The Smart Start system at the state and local level is an accountable and responsible steward of public resources as evidenced in these audit results. In addition to state funds, federal and private funders invest millions of dollars in North Carolina’s early childhood system because Smart Start provides a reliable and trustworthy infrastructure in each local community.

NCPC ensures that Smart Start fully meets all legislatively mandated requirements and operates to the highest standards of effectiveness, accountability, efficiency and integrity. It does this while also allowing North Carolina’s early childhood system to quickly move resources to serve children. Together, 78 separate organizations (NCPC and 77 independent local partnerships) were able to budget resources effectively, reverting 0.037% in FY 2011-12.

In the past ten years, NCPC and Smart Start local partnerships have been audited more than 450 times by State auditors and/or independent auditors. Auditors look for compliance in three core areas: accuracy of financial statements; how the partnership processes and authorizes transactions such as grants, accounts payable, payroll and cash receipts; and contract compliance.

The 39 Smart Start Local Partnerships audited this year include:
• Albemarle Smart Start Partnership, Inc.
• Alleghany Partnership for Children, Inc.
• Ashe County Partnership for Children
• Avery County Smart Start: A Partnership for Children
• Buncombe County Partnership for Children, Inc.
• Cabarrus County Partnership for Children
• Caswell County Partnership for Children
• Catawba County Partnership for Children
• Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County, Inc.
• Children’s Council of Watauga County, Inc.
• Columbus County Partnership for Children, Incorporated
• Craven Smart Start, Inc.
• Down East Partnership for Children
• Duplin County Partnership for Children
• Durham’s Partnership for Children
• Iredell County Partnership for Young Children, Inc.
• Lee County Partnership for Children
• Martin/Pitt Partnership for Children, Inc.
• McDowell Partnership for Children (Now part of Partnership for Children of the Foothills)
• Mecklenburg Partnership for Children
• Onslow County Partnership for Children, Inc.
• Partners for Children & Families, Inc. (Moore County)
• Partnership for Children of Cumberland County, Inc.
• Region A Partnership for Children
• Robeson County Partnership for Children, Inc.
• Rockingham County Partnership for Children, Inc.
• Sampson County Partnership for Children
• Scotland County Partnership for Children and Families, Inc.
• Smart Start of Davidson County, Inc.
• Smart Start of Forsyth County
• Smart Start of New Hanover County
• Smart Start of Pender County, Inc.
• Smart Start Rowan, Inc.
• Stanly County Partnership for Children
• Stokes Partnership for Children
• Surry County Early Childhood Partnership
• The Halifax – Warren Smart Start Partnership for Children, Inc.
• Wake County SmartStart
• Wilkes Community Partnership for Children

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NC Child Care Workers Increase Education Levels

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 | Author: Tracy

Between 2011 and 2012, more child care center directors, teachers and family child care providers have increased their levels of education, according to a study by the Child Care Services Association. The 2012 North Carolina Child Care Workforce Study

The report addresses:

  • Education of the Early Care and Education Workforce,
  • Earnings of the Early Care and Education Workforce,
  • Professional Support of the Early Care and Education Workforce, and
  • Experience and Turnover of the Child Care Workforce.

It can be downloaded at http://www.childcareservices.org/_downloads/research/WorkforceReport2013/WorkforceReport_2013.pdf.

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Early Experiences Shape Brain Architecture and the Skills We Need to Thrive

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 | Author: Tracy

“The quality of the interactions and experiences that our communities provide for children either strengthens or undermines children’s development,” said Al Race, Deputy Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, at the Smart Start Leadership Symposium.

Race’s presentation was titled Building a Foundation for Achievement: How Early Experiences Shape Brain Architecture and the Skills We Need to Thrive.

He discussed how research on the developing brain has identified a set of skills that are essential for school achievement, workforce productivity and health. Scientists refer to these capacities as executive function and self-regulation — a set of skills that enable us to hold onto and work with information, focus thinking, filter distractions, plan ahead and adjust to changing circumstances. Children aren’t born with these skills — they are born with the potential to develop them.

Download the PowerPoint Building a Foundation for Achievement.

Happy 20th Anniversary Smart Start!

Tuesday, May 07th, 2013 | Author: Tracy


“The General Assembly finds, upon consultation with the Governor, that every child can benefit from, and should have access to, highquality early childhood education and development services. The economic future and well-being of the State depend upon it.”

These are the first two sentences of Smart Start’s authorizing legislation written and passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1993. Lawmakers created Smart Start as an innovative solution to address the problem of young children entering school unprepared. In so doing, they changed the trajectory of generations of children to come and inspired states across the country to follow their lead.

Learn more at www.smartstart.org/20

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Early Childhood Pioneer Sue Russell Honored at National Conference with Karen W. Ponder Leadership Award

Monday, May 06th, 2013 | Author: Tracy

NCPC Board Chair Dr. Nancy H. Brown awards Sue Russell the 2013 Karen W. Ponder Leadership Award

Sue Russell, one of the key leaders and architects of North Carolina’s early childhood system, was awarded the Karen W. Ponder Leadership Award at the 2013 National Smart Start Conference. The award, named for Smart Start’s former president, recognizes outstanding service to young children and families in North Carolina.

“There are many people that have been instrumental in the progress that North Carolina has made in creating a nationally recognized early care and education system that has inspired so many other states. If all of those people were asked to point to the person most instrumental in helping them to contribute to creating the vision of our system, I am confident that they would all point to Sue Russell,” said Peggy Ball, former Director of the Division of Child Development and Chair of the North Carolina Child Care Coalition.

Sue is the architect of the nation’s most well-known and replicated initiatives designed to help early childhood teachers gain greater levels of education, earn a living a wage and provide children with more stable relationships. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Project provides scholarships to child care workers to complete early childhood course work and to increase their compensation. The Child Care WAGE$® Project provides education-based salary supplements to low-paid teachers, directors and family child care providers working with children between the ages of birth to five.

Sue brought this same creative spirit and problem-solving sensibility to helping envision and bring to fruition North Carolina’s nationally recognized early childhood initiatives, Smart Start and NC Pre-K. She went on to launch the Child Care Services Association, now one of the most well respected early care and education non-profit agencies in the nation, offering a broad range of services to child care programs and families. Every day, Child Care Services Association’s work demonstrates the agency’s mission of ensuring accessible, affordable high quality child care for all young children and their families, providing services to almost 100,000 children every year.

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Public Hearing on CCDF Plan

Sunday, April 14th, 2013 | Author: Tracy

The federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provides block grant funding to states to support early care and education services.

North Carolina’s CCDF Plan for FFY 2014-15 is ready for review and feedback.  Read the plan online.   Members of the public are invited to comment on the services described in the draft 2014-2015 CCDF Plan.  Comments may be made at the public hearing on April 25, 2013. Comments may also be submitted in writing through May 15, 2013 directly to Tasha.Owens-Green@dhhs.nc.gov.

Public Hearing details:  April 25, 2013, 10:30 am-12:30 pm
Division of Child Development and Early Education
319 Chapanoke Road, Suite 120
Raleigh NC 27603
Driving directions to the Division.


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Business Leaders Say Early Childhood Investments Needed to Overcome Skills Gap

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 | Author: Tracy

CHARLOTTE, NC – If current education and labor market trends continue, North Carolina could face a shortage of 46,000 workers in the coming years, due largely to the gap between the jobs that require certain skills and/or post-secondary education, and the number of residents who will be prepared to fill them.

That’s a key message from Charlotte business leaders, who today released a report from America’s Edge that reveals the financial costs of the state’s “skills gap,” and highlights the abilities that employers say they need in current and future workers. To address the crisis, the business leaders are urging Governor McCrory and the North Carolina legislature to focus on three key solutions:

  • Continued investments in high quality early education. The business leaders cited research on the impact of quality early education in student’s long-term academic success, and lauded Governor McCrory’s investments in high-quality early education for four-year olds by creating an additional 5,000 slots in North Carolina’s nationally recognized Pre-K program. They also urged further investments in early learning programs that serve children from birth to age three.
  • Incentives for businesses to provide workplace learning opportunities so more students have opportunities to find real-world relevance for what they’re learning in class.
  • Better accountability systems to ensure schools are fostering the skills that today’s businesses need in current and future workers.

Business leaders participating in the release of the America’s Edge report included Bob Morgan, President, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce; Mike Waite, Executive Director, National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Weston Andress, Regional President Western Carolina, PNC Bank; Clifton Vann, President, Livingston & Haven; and Tom Haffner, President, P.T. International Corporation.

The America’s Edge report details the proven impact of innovative high school education models in preparing students for current and future jobs, and high-quality early learning programs to give children a foundation for long-term academic achievement. The business leaders also noted that the state will not need to wait 20 years for the benefits from early learning, citing surprising new research showing that investments in quality early learning will yield an immediate economic benefit for North Carolina businesses.

“The skills gap is a glaring problem for many of our members who want to grow their businesses,” said Morgan. “The good news is that we know that investments in quality early learning and innovative high schools will narrow that gap and keep North Carolina’s economic recovery on track.”

The report details a variety of challenges to strengthening the pipeline of future workers, and highlights research on the proven impact of quality early learning and high schools that prepare students for the workforce.

Challenges for North Carolina businesses and the state:

  • North Carolina has fallen to 31st in the nation in terms of per capita degrees granted in science and engineering. In 2001 the state ranked 4th in the nation.
  • Only 38 percent of North Carolina workers ages 25 to 64 have at least an associate’s degree.
  • 63 percent of eighth graders are below grade level in math and 74 percent are not proficient in science.
  • 22 percent of high school students do not graduate on time.

Challenges to filling the jobs of today and tomorrow:

  • North Carolina jobs requiring post-secondary education are expected to grow 65 percent faster than jobs for high school dropouts.
  • There will be twice as many North Carolina jobs requiring post-secondary education as there are for those for workers with a high school education or less.
  • 91 percent of the jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will require post-secondary education by 2018.
  • Six out of 10 North Carolina employers report gaps in communications skills among job applicants, and close to half surveyed reported deficiencies in critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

“You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to succeed in science or engineering, but you do need to think analytically and critically to do well in the jobs that are coming down the pike,” said Vann, of Livingston & Haven, which makes a wide variety of products for manufacturing facilities. “We have to find better ways to inspire and equip our kids for these opportunities for the sake of our own business and for the Charlotte economy as a whole.

Solution One: High Quality Early Learning:

  • Research shows that children who participate in high quality early learning programs are better prepared to succeed in elementary school, less likely to need special education, less likely to be held back in school, and more apt to graduate from high school. (Based on long-term studies following children who participated in such programs in Michigan and Illinois, and on those who participated in the Abecedarian program in North Carolina.
  • Research also shows that every $1 invested in North Carolina’s early care and education would generate $1.91 in total spending within the state, based on retail, transportation, construction and manufacturing.

“The idea that anyone can just show up at a construction site and learn on the job is a myth,” said Waite, who heads the Charlotte chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. “We need workers who can apply mathematic principles and finely honed skills to our projects and that doesn’t happen overnight. High quality early learning gives kids a foundation for long-term academic success.”

“This report’s findings are bad news for anyone who wants to see a strong banking sector in Charlotte,” said Andress, of PNC Bank. “We need people who can crunch the numbers and people who can communicate the value of all of our financial services to people from all walks of life. In short – people who can think critically and solve problems.”

Solution Two: Innovative High School Models

  • New high school models that integrate rigorous academics and career-relevant instruction are having a proven impact on student achievement and workforce development. These include Career Academies that feature job shadowing, project-based learning, school-based enterprises like student-led businesses, and support services that keep kids on track for graduation.
  • A Career Academies study showed students were twice as likely as non participants to be working in the computer, engineering or media technology sector eight years after graduation, and earned more and were more productive than those not in the program.

“Policy-makers need to pay close attention to the research on high-quality early learning and support innovative high school models like Career Academies,” said Haffner of P.T. International, a maker of metric and power transmission products. “It’s all about establishing a continuum that enables kids to hit the ground running and build the knowledge and experience that keeps them on track for the opportunities of today’s high-skills workplace.”

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Heckman Equation Launching Blog

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 | Author: Tracy

It has been a great month for early childhood development. Following the President’s State of the Union address last month, it seems you can’t turn on the radio or open a newspaper without hearing about “birth-to-five,” “high-quality early childhood development” or “return on investment.”

To keep the dialogue going, The Heckman Equation is launching a blog where Professor Heckman and guests can comment on the national initiative to implement comprehensive early childhood development programs.

This Wednesday, March 20, go to heckmanequation.org/blog, read the inaugural post and tell your colleagues to do the same.

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