IN THIS ISSUE: Governor's Birth to 8 Summit highlights, Excellence in Early Childhood Awards and more...

Governor's Summit Convenes 300 to Promote Importance of Sustaining Investments in and Alignment of Birth to 8 Learning Systems  

More than 300 national and state education experts, practitioners and policymakers came together to celebrate Delaware's early learning achievements and Illuminate the vision for a birth to third grade approach at the Governor's Birth to 8 Summit: First 3,000 Days in the First State.
"There are only 3,000 days between the time a baby is born and when he or she makes the critical transition from learning to read to reading to learn at the end of third grade, which we know is the best predictor of high school graduation and college and career success," said Governor Jack Markell, who was joined by Delaware Secretary of Education Steven Godowsky, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development Linda K. Smith, and other national leaders in early learning at the conference.

Read the full story  HERE.  

For more information on Summit, please access the materials presented HERE, and check out the day's discussion on Facebook and Twitter by entering #birthto8DE in their search bars.
Excellence in Early Childhood Awards Presented 
Winners of this year's Excellence in Early Childhood Awards were recognized by the Delaware Early Childhood Council at the Governor's Birth to 8 Summit on February 10. The awards, started in 2014, recognize individuals or organizations that demonstrate excellence, leadership and an extraordinary contribution in serving children from birth to age eight. The awards are organized around Delaware's early childhood strategic plan. This year's honorees included:
Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn
A Healthy Start for All Children: Outstanding in enhancing young child health and well-being, addressing the whole child approach
Evelyn Keating
High-Quality Early Childhood Programs and Professionals: Innovative and creative in their approach to early learning or are inspirational and visionary, inspiring others to do their best work for young children and their families
Dawn Alexander
An Aligned and Effective Early Learning System, Birth through Third Grade: Collaborative, creating new linkages between early learning and K-3 systems
Dr. Gwendolyn W. Sanders
Sustain System Improvement: Highly effective in advocating for policies or approaches that help children with high needs to develop to their fullest potential
Paul H. Harrell
Jennifer B. Ranji
Champions for Young Children
Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for all you do to help Delaware's young children get a great start!

 An Evening of Celebration for Delaware Stars Providers
You are invited to join us in celebrating early childhood programs from across the state who have raised their Delaware Stars quality rating this year! The expansion and advancement of Stars participation has enabled Delaware to continue to raise early learning standards for its children.
We hope you can join us in acknowledging this progress by attending one the following events:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016  
Sussex County Tech High School, 17099 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, DE 19947 
6:00 - 6:30 - Registration and Networking 
6:30 - 8:00 - Dinner and Program 
To attend this event, please register HERE by February 29

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
St. Georges Technical High School, 555 Hyett's Corner Rd, Middletown, DE 19709  
6:00 - 6:30 - Registration and Networking 
6:30 - 8:00 - Dinner and Program
To attend this event, please register HERE by March 4 
March 10, 2016 
Delaware Children's Museum, 550 Justison St, Wilmington, DE 19801  
6:00 - 6:30 - Registration and Networking 
6:30 - 8:00 - Dinner and Program
To attend this event, please register HERE by March 8

The goal of Delaware Stars is to encourage and invest in participating programs to increase access to high-quality care and instruction for all of Delaware's young children--especially those from low-income families. The percentage of low-income children enrolled in highly rated Stars early learning programs is now 59 percent, up from just five percent in 2011, meaning more of Delaware's most vulnerable kids are being better prepared for Kindergarten.

North Dover Community Readiness Team initiative featured in Delaware Department of Education's monthly newsletter
Capital School District's "Little Senators" get preview of kindergarten  
 Read the article HERE 
FYI: Every Student Succeeds Act and Early Learning

Laura Bornfreund, director of Early & Elementary Education Policy for New America shares her take on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and what it means for the early grades.

Universal Prekindergarten: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

A new report from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth analyzes the costs and benefits of a publicly funded prekindergarten program based on annual expenditures, budget savings, and revenue impact. It looks at costs at the state and national levels and projects those costs and benefits from 2016 through 2050. The study finds that a voluntary, high-quality, publicly funded universal prekindergarten education program would pay for itself in about 16 years while also providing public benefits for children and their families. The Center's report notes the importance of investment in early childhood programs by the federal government to help achieve socioeconomic development goals around the nation. 

VIDEO: TedX Talk Promotes Investment in Early Ed as Investment in Healthy Communities
In her talk "Assembly of the Healthy Child: The Next Steps," educational psychologist Kathleen Gallagher discusses how investing in high-quality early childhood programs, especially for children whose families live in poverty, can transform the well-being of entire communities.

Kathleen (Kate) Gallagher, Ph.D. is an educational psychologist and early childhood professional, with over 30 years of experience teaching and leading early childhood programs. She is a scientist at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Gallagher designs and evaluates approaches that elevate the development and wellbeing of young children, families, and early childhood professionals--particularly in the contexts of poverty, adversity and disability.
Kate Gallagher - TED-X Memphis:  Maximizing the Power of Early Ed
Kate Gallagher - TED-X Memphis: Maximizing the Power of Early Ed

Office of Early Learning, Delaware Department of Education
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