Monday, July 25, 2011

DEL seeks ECEAP "grads"

This fall, DEL is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the state-funded preschool program, ECEAP (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program). We are looking for "graduates" of ECEAP to tell their story about how the program affected their education or their life in other ways.

Anyone who is interested in telling their story can contact us at or (360) 725-4392.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's official! Washington will apply for Race to the Top

Governor Chris Gregoire has made it official: Washington will apply for the federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant competition. If successful, our state could receive up to $60 million to help build an early learning system that prepares children for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Governor Gregoire notified the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services last Friday, July 15, of Washington's intent to apply. She designated the Department of Early Learning (DEL) as the lead agency for Washington's application. DEL has created a webpage to keep the early learning community informed about progress on RTT-ELC.

RTT-ELC is meant to help states raise the quality of early learning programs so that children start school ready to succeed. The draft guidelines issued earlier this month show that successful states will demonstrate use of state early learning guidelines, kindergarten entry assessments, and quality rating and improvement systems. Washington is moving forward with all three:

  • We are in the process of reviewing and revising our early learning guidelines (which have been called the Early Learning and Development Benchmarks). 
  • We have finished piloting our kindergarten entry assessment program, WaKIDS, and will begin rolling it out more broadly in the 2011-2012 school year.
  • We have finished a pilot of our QRIS in partnership with Thrive by Five Washington, and are beginning to take it to scale around the state to help child care providers improve the quality of care they offer to children and families--and help families understand what quality looks like.
In Washington, we are at a critical juncture for creating a statewide early learning system--despite the budget crisis, we've found federal, state and private funding to support early learning. We have a 10-year state Early Learning Plan, and strong partnerships with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Thrive by Five Washington and other public and private entities. This grant would help push us to do even more--and that's a welcome push!

Friday, July 8, 2011

New immunization law goes into effect July 22

Our state has one of the highest school immunization exemption rates  in the nation. A new law that goes into effect on July 22 aims to help ensure families claim exemption for reasons other than convenience--and the law affects child care providers.

Senate Bill 5005, passed by the 2011 Legislature and signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire, says that if a parent or guardian wants to exempt their child from school or child care immunization requirements, they must first get information about the benefits and risks of vaccinations from a licensed health care provider. The provider must sign a certificate of exemption form, which parents must give the school or child care provider to exempt their child.

The law does not change vaccination requirements for school and child care entry.

Learn more about the benefits of immunizations, and about the new law, by visiting the Department of Health Immunization Program online