Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Washington submits ambitious application for federal preschool funding

Our state has submitted a bold plan to dramatically expand high-quality preschool options in high-need communities around the state, and enhance the quality of existing state preschool slots.

Washington is eligible for up to $70 million over four years through the U.S. departments of Education and Health & Human Services as part of their preschool development grants. Washington has applied for an expansion grant to reach and serve additional eligible preschool children in high-need communities.

Since 1985, Washington has been operating the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), the state-funded comprehensive preschool program for eligible 3- and 4-year-olds. ECEAP ranks high on many quality elements, but most ECEAP slots are currently only part-day, and limited funding makes ECEAP available for only some eligible children.

The federal grant funding would offer Washington the opportunity to implement all the components of high-quality preschool named in the grant (see DEL's grant application summary for more details), and more than double the number of eligible children receiving high-quality preschool by 2019.

Despite a short six-week application window, DEL engaged in extensive outreach to inform the application, including:

  • Webinars and a web page with information about the application process
  • Individual conversations with key legislative leaders
  • Meetings with early learning stakeholders and advocates
  • Conversation with the state Early Learning Advisory Council
  • An application review process that included readers from more than a dozen partner organizations include the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Child Care Aware of Washington, Thrive by Five Washington, the Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP, and several current ECEAP contractors. 
It is expected that successful applicants will be notified in December 2014.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

DEL's updated strategic plan now online

DEL's updated strategic plan is now available online: www.del.wa.gov/about/what.aspx

The strategic plan indicates our clear focus on offering high-quality early learning programs and services, prioritizing the most vulnerable children and families in our state. 

DEL vision: Children in Washington start kindergarten healthy, capable, and confident in their ability to learn and succeed.
DEL mission: DEL offers voluntary, comprehensive, high-quality early learning programs and support to families and early learning professionals.
Our four strategic goals:
  • Provide voluntary, high-quality early learning opportunities for children and families in Washington
  • Support all early learning professionals with research-based professional development and resources to ensure high-quality early learning opportunities
  • Build public awareness of and support for high-quality early learning opportunities
  • Promote system excellence by ensuring DEL is well-managed and supportive of its employees

The goals and activities in the plan are cross-walked with  Gov. Jay Inslee’s Results Washington initiative, as well as our state’s Early Learning Plan, so that we are working toward one purpose.

A lot has changed for early learning in Washington since we at DEL last updated our strategic plan in 2011! Here are just a few significant changes in our agency since then:

If you have questions or comments about the DEL strategic plan, please email communications@del.wa.gov

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ECEAP Outcomes Report

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is Washington’s pre-kindergarten program that prepares 3- and 4-year-old children from low-income families for success in school and in life. The Depart­ment of Early Learning (DEL) oversees the program.

Since 1985, ECEAP has focused on the well-being of the whole child by providing comprehensive nutrition, health, education and family support services to Washington’s most at-risk children. ECEAP reaches the children most in need of these foundations for learning. The program is aligned with nationally researched programs that have shown exceptional returns on investment.

Each fall, DEL releases an ECEAP Outcomes Report to the public. It summarizes developmental, pre-academic, and health gains made by ECEAP children in the previous school year. The 2013-14 report is now available at: http://www.del.wa.gov/publications/eceap/docs/ECEAP_outcomes_2013-14.pdf

 Highlights from the 2013-14 ECEAP Outcomes Report include:
·         We served the largest number of children ever – 8,741 slots.
o   With 12.2% turnover, there were 9,810 children enrolled at some time during the year.
o   29,128 ECEAP eligible children in Washington were not served by either ECEAP or Head Start. 
·         35% of ECEAP children speak a home language other than English.
o   There was an increase in children whose home language was neither English or Spanish, from 5% to 7% of enrollments. 
·         49% of ECEAP lead teachers have bachelor’s degrees or higher.  40% have associate degrees.
·         Risk factors
o   65% of children were from families at or below 80% of the poverty level.
§  FPL was $23,550 for a family of four.
o   32% of children had a parent who did not graduate high school
§  12% of children had a parent with 6th grade or less.

 ·         At enrollment 49% of children were up-to-date with well-child exams.  At exit, 94% were up-to-date.
·         At enrollment 72% of children were up-to-date with immunizations.  At exit, 99% were up-to-date.

·         At enrollment 27% of children were up-to-date with dental screening.  At exit, 95% were up-to-date.

·         Summary of Development and Learning Gains:

For 2013-14, DEL collected GOLD® assessment results for approximately 7,000 ECEAP children who had ratings in both fall and spring of the school year. The children made progress in all domains.
The following percentages of children moved from below age level to at or above age level during their time in ECEAP.
o   Social-emotional development – 48%
o   Physical development – 45%
o   Language development – 42%
o   Cognitive development – 48%
o   Literacy development - 50%
o   Mathematics - 59%