March 2016

Stars Programs Celebrate Success
Delaware continues to raise early learning standards for its children through Delaware Stars with more than 145 Delaware Stars Providers advancing to higher star levels. In statewide celebrations this month 69 programs earned the highest rating of Star 5; 50 rose to Star level 4 and 27 achieved Star level 3. As the number of early learning programs participating in Delaware Stars grows more children have access to quality early learning and enter kindergarten better prepared for success. A special thanks to the Honorable Kevin S. Hensley (R), Delaware House of Representatives, the Honorable Brian Pettyjohn (R), Delaware Senate and the Honorable Bethany Hall-Long (D), Delaware Senate for joining more than 200 people attending the celebrations. 
Professional Development Committee Announced
The Office of Early Learning has begun the exciting and important work of developing a statewide Early Childhood Professional Development Strategic Plan. A statewide committee has been assembled and will work with Stacie Goffin, a nationally recognized expert in early childhood education, who will facilitate the meetings.
Delaware Readiness Teams Collaborate to Win Grants from Prevent Child Abuse Delaware Totaling $90,000
Prevent Child Abuse Delaware awarded five $18,000 grants to Delaware Readiness Teams, spread over three years. The grant money allocated for year one has been earmarked for the following projects:
  • The Georgetown and Seaford Readiness Teams will work together to host family outreach events and provide professional development for providers.
  • Three teams-The North and South Dover Readiness Teams and HUBCAP (The Harrington Readiness Team)-will host parent support groups using the community café model.
  • The NESSE (Northeast Wilmington team), Center City Wilmington Readiness Team and First District Success Readiness Team will coordinate together to hold a parent early learning education conference.
  • The Milford Readiness Team will organize Bedding, Bags and Books for homeless children.
  • The Mount Pleasant Readiness Team will host a Kindergarten Academy.
Learn more about Delaware Readiness Teams: diness.html or
Early Education Preparation for Principals

Research suggests that principals have the second largest impact in school of student achievement after teachers, yet very few states require that elementary principals have a working knowledge of early childhood education. This report from New America explains why it's important.
Save the Dates

April is Month of the Military Child

April 15-16: Making a Difference Conference

April 30 (Sussex) & May 21 (Kent): - DAEYC Career Days
May 4: Delaware Readiness Teams Collaboration and Celebration

May 4:  Early Childhood Advocacy Day

May 5: Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
Welcome New OEL Staff Members
Please join the Office of Early Learning to welcome new staff members Christine Anderson, Ariel Ford and Caitlin Gleason.
Christine Anderson is the Education Associate for Head Start, Family, and Health in the Delaware Department of Education's Office of Early Learning. Prior to this role, Christine worked for the Office of Head Start's Training and Technical Assistance Network, where she managed a team of early childhood education consultants across five states and the District of Columbia, including Delaware.

Christine has over 15 years of experience in the field of early childhood development, family engagement, and professional development, including the management of various quality enhancement grants and contracts servicing federal, state, and privately funded early child development programs.

Christine earned both her Master of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies and Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Community Services from the University of Delaware.

Ariel Ford is the Education Associate for Quality Initiatives in Delaware Department of Education's Office of Early Learning.

Before accepting the position with the Office of Early Learning, Ariel was the Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Director for the Buncombe Partnership for Children in Asheville, North Carolina for five years, where she supervised a team of trainers and technical assistance providers. This work was focused on improving the quality of child care through cross-agency collaboration; adoption of evidence-based practices; and shared outcome measures.

Ariel has more than 15 years' experience in early learning-as a teacher, center director, and regional coach. She holds an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from East Tennessee State University, and a B.A in Theater and Literature.

Caitlin Gleason is the Education Associate for Alignment and Professional Development in
Delaware Department of Education's Office of Early Learning.

Previously, Caitlin was Teach For America-Delaware's Early Childhood Education program manager and instructional coach, where she created and led professional development for cohorts of pre-K through 2nd grade teachers. Through this work and her other committee roles, including as a Center City Wilmington Readiness Team member, she has focused on how alignment between the systems serving children birth through age eight can meet the needs of the whole child.

Caitlin entered the early learning field teaching pre-K, K-1 and art in New Jersey and Delaware and has developed educator trainings for museums and non-profit organizations. She continues to enjoy working with students and families as a teaching artist for The Delaware Contemporary. 

Caitlin holds a B.A. in Government from Smith College and M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Wilmington University.      
Final Note
Read about the Delaware Early Childhood Center's Parents as Teachers Program in the most recent edition of Take Note, the Delaware Department of Education newsletter.

You can also find early learning news and articles on the DOE Facebook page: for

And, always, be sure to visit and like us on Facebook: for early learning resources.
Office of Early Learning, Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Dover, DE 19901
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Delaware Office of Early Learning | 401 Federal Steeet | Dover | DE | 19101