February 2020, Volume 12

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Welcome to the 12th edition of the #INspirEDearly Monthly Newsletter! This is a resource for early educators across all settings, administrators of Pre-K programs, and anyone looking for early learning updates from the Indiana Department of Education. We will be sharing resources, updates, research, events, and spotlighting work being done around the state. To subscribe to this newsletter, please visit our website. To explore the newsletters from different IDOE content areas, visit this site.

Please feel free to share this newsletter with your network and colleagues!

New from IDOE


In partnership, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) have created this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document for issues related to the intersection of non-public (private) schools and early childhood programs serving children under the age of five.

New Opportunity: Educator Wellness Workgroup

On behalf of the Indiana State Department of Health, in partnership with Indiana Department of Education, we invite you to join our Educator Wellness Workgroup. This committee will spearhead the creation of a toolkit, focusing on how school and early childhood program administrators can support educators to create a culture of wellness. With teacher burnout and turnover rates being so vast for both school teachers and early childhood educators, we believe this toolkit will broaden educators' perspective on how environments, policies, and school climate and culture can be adjusted to improve their educators’ well-being and job satisfaction. We are recruiting a workgroup that will serve as content experts for this project.

Please email Penelope Friday at pfriday@isdh.in.gov with a resume and a brief paragraph on why your wellness interests or expertise will guide this project. We look forward to hearing from you!

Opportunity: Community of Practice for Indiana Administrators

IDOE has launched a Community of Practice (CoP) for Indiana administrators from public and private schools that have an existing preschool program or are looking to start one. IDOE seeks to build connections to create dialogue around problem-solving, diffuse existing knowledge, generate new knowledge, and encourage learning through communication, mentoring, and self-reflection. If you are interested in participating, contact Pre-K Expansion Specialist, Sarah Parks-Reese.

Funding Opportunity: Quality Counts Indiana Charter School Program Grant

Did you know that the Quality Counts Charter School Program Grant can be used to open or expand a pre-k program, as long as one K-12 grade is included within the charter school? The Indiana Department of Education is pleased to announce the release of the Cohort Four Charter School Program Request for Proposals. Please click here and navigate to the Cohort Four drop-down menu for materials.

Applications are due July 31, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.


New ISPROUT Reports Coming Soon!

There will soon be new reporting options on the ISPROUT dashboard! Learn more about the new tools by attending one of these webinars:

  • ISPROUT Admin Reports Webinar, February 19, 2020, 11:00 a.m. to noon. Register here.
  • ISPROUT Teacher Reports Webinar, February 18, 2020, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Register here.

The sessions will be recorded and will be posted to the ISPROUT webpage once they become available.

Are you looking for a tool to monitor student progress and don’t have students with an IEP? You can request information regarding adding ISPROUT to your program. Here is the link to the informational webinar. Click here to register to be included on the distribution of additional information regarding cost and training opportunities.

From Our Partners

FSSA - OMWPK Provider Meetings

Are you a current On My Way Pre-K (OMWPK) provider but haven't registered for the provider meeting in your area yet? The excel sheet below has all the dates, times, locations, and registration links.

This meeting will discuss the following important topics for On My Way Pre-K:

  • 2020-21 OMWPK enrollment timelines,
  • sign new OMWPK provider agreements and
  • understand the updated OMWPK eligibility for families.

This meeting’s information is for the program administrator/director. It would be best if the person who has the authority to sign the provider agreement attends; however, that is not required. If your program plans to participate as an OMWPK program for 2020-21 Pre-K year, OECOSL must have your signed agreement in our office no later than April 1, 2020.

Are You Eligible to Become an On My Way Pre-K Provider?

Check out this resource to determine if you meet the current requirements. Providers from all counties became eligible to apply on July 1. Pre-K Coordinators or School Administrators can contact Pre-K Expansion Specialist, Sarah Parks-Reese, for additional support.

FSSA - Resources for Families

Indiana offers useful and informative resources to help parents find quality child care and early learning opportunities for their children. Good examples are ChildCareFinder.IN.Gov, which the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration launched in 2016 to help find and compare licensed and registered child cares in their areas, and BrighterFuturesIndiana.org, which supports families in enhancing their children’s learning. To help Hoosiers make better-informed decisions about child care and early education options, FSSA has created a short, easy-to-understand, instructional video to direct them to these useful parenting resources.

SPARK Learning Lab

As the new statewide technical assistance (TA) provider for Indiana early childhood education programs, SPARK Learning Lab is dedicated to advancing the quality of Indiana programs. SPARK Learning Lab will do this through a unique blend of utilizing their sophisticated, self-guided assessment tool and tiered-level coaching resources based on the needs and services for each individual early childhood education program.

Stay in the know on all things SPARK! They are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You're also invited to sign up for their newsletter to be the first to hear any updates and news.

One (of many) exciting features for SPARK are the Regional Advisory Councils. Representatives have been selected in each service delivery area to provide feedback on their technical assistance approach. You can view the meeting minutes from last quarter and stay tuned for upcoming meetings next month! All Regional Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public.

Puerto Rico AEYC

Puerto Rico has faced a wave of earthquakes that have devastated the island. These traumatic experiences have been difficult for all, yet young children have been particularly vulnerable to the trauma caused by these disasters. PRaeyc is collecting letters and artwork from children (and adults!) who wish to offer encouragement and solace to young children. Letters and artwork can be sent via traditional mail to the attention of PRAEYC, 220 4Q 35, Colinas de Fairview, Trujillo Alto, PR 00976.

Foundations Guidance in Action

Foundation: Physical Health and Growth 2- Senses

Foundation Topic:

PHG2.1 - Demonstrate how the five senses support processing information

Powerful Practice: "Provide safe sensory materials and manipulatives of different shapes, textures, scents, etc."

HSE's Preschool at Brooks School Elementary uses these sensory boards in their classrooms that including a wide variety of materials and textures for children to explore.

Want to share a way that you've been implementing a strategy from the Foundations Guidance with colleagues? Submit your pictures along with the Foundation and strategy to Early Learning Specialist, Krystal Robinson!

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Spotlight From the Field

Kathryn Ziegler, Pre-K Coordinator, Fort Wayne Community Schools

Kathryn Ziegler is the Pre-K Coordinator for Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS), the largest public school system in Indiana. Kathryn was a Pre-K and Kindergarten teacher for 15 years before taking on the role of Pre-K Coordinator for the district. She currently works with teachers and staff members to support curriculum, assessment, and instruction in 45 Pre-K classrooms in the district. She also helps Pre-K programs maintain their NAEYC accreditation. Kathryn has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Ball State University and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Educational Leadership from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Kathryn's colleague says of her:

"Kathryn has worked tirelessly over the last three years to align our district's three separate early childhood programs into one coordinated district program serving up to 1000 preschoolers. She is the spearhead for building the capacity of our district to offer over 100 spaces for On My Way Pre-K students. Through her work, all 30+ of our programs are nationally accredited and licensed or on the path to be. She regularly shares her vast knowledge of early learners when she presents at local, state and national conferences, most recently at the Annual NAEYC Conference in Nashville. She truly has a love for children and is a champion day in and out for them."

In addition to her responsibilities at FWCS, she has also participated in workgroups and provided feedback on several early childhood projects for the Indiana Department of Education. We're incredibly grateful for her support.

Kathryn, thank you for everything you do for young children and their families!

Nominate Your Colleague!

We are hoping to spotlight an early educator or program administrator in our newsletter every month. Nominate your early learning colleague by filling out this form!

Resources We Love

Military Fee Assistance Program

Interested in learning more about the Military Fee Assistance Program? Check out this information from Child Care Aware of America to determine if you meet eligibility requirements and to get more information on how to apply.

NAEYC: Reading Your Way to a Culturally Responsive Classroom

Are you interested in finding ways to use literature to create a culturally responsive classroom? NAEYC has written this article to provide strategies and books to do so!

IRT Teacher Guide

The Indiana Repertory Theater (IRT) has a Teacher Guide for their upcoming performances of The Little Choo-Choo That Thinks She Can! The IRT has written lesson plans and activities for teachers that connect to this classic story and have collected them in an easy to share teacher guide. This guide also includes tips on reading aloud to lessons inspiring creative dramatics. The lesson plans help teachers and students find ways to talk about this story and connect it to their social-emotional learning practices. Check it out here!

Professional Development

FREE: The Ooey Gooey Lady at the Indy Public Library

Saturday, Feb. 29th, 9am-3:30pm

40 East Saint Clair Street

Indianapolis, IN

Early childhood educators are invited to join the Indianapolis Public Library for a FREE full day of fun and learning with the Ooey Gooey Lady, Lisa Murphy! This workshop will feature three topics:

  • Fizzle Bubble Pop and Wow! Simple Science for Young Children
  • 10 Little Hot Dogs Fryin' in the WHAT? Fingerplay, songs and chants for transition time, circle time or any time
  • The Importance of Early Experiences: How playing IS Kindergarten Readiness!

This workshop is free, but space is limited! To register, visit indypl.org or call 317-275-4096.

This event is sponsored by the Indianapolis Public Library, The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, and PNC's Grow Up Great.

Title Con 2020

Wednesday, April 15th, 8am to Thursday, April 16th, 4pm

6089 Clarks Creek Road

Plainfield, IN

Title Con is an annual statewide conference for educators who facilitate federal Title grants to learn and work collectively to build stronger programs for student growth and achievement. Pre-conference workshops are also offered.

All federal program administrators, superintendents, fiscal representatives, and other educators are invited!

2020 Indiana School Health Network Conference

Tuesday, June 23rd, 9pm to Wednesday, June 24th, 5pm

7202 East 21st Street

Indianapolis, IN

The Indiana School Health Network (ISHN) Conference will be held on June 23-24 at the Indianapolis Marriott East Hotel. School health initiatives will be offered in the areas of: Administration & School-Based Health Centers; Health & Behavioral Health; Outreach & Enrollment into Indiana Health Coverage Programs; Policy & Advocacy and Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC). All sessions are 75 minutes long, including Q&A and evaluation. Presentations will be selected based on the speaker's knowledge and expertise on the subject.

The deadline for submission is February 15, 2020. To submit a proposal, please see this website. For more information or questions on submitting a proposal, please contact Norma Napoli at nnapoli@ckfindiana.org.

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