Early Care and Education Newsletter

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Early Care and Education Newsletter
The Office of Early Learning in collaboration with the North Dakota Head Start Association publishes a quarterly newsletter to provide early childhood educators with program guidance, tips, upcoming events, best practice information, grant opportunities as well as feature unique and innovative initiatives

Summer 2018

Valerie Bakken Joins the Office of Early Learning
Picture8Hi there! My name is Valerie Bakken and I am North Dakota’s Early Childhood Special Education Section 619 Coordinator. I am also the new Office of Early Learning‘s Assistant Director. I may be familiar to some of you, as I have been North Dakota’s Early Childhood Special Education Section 619 Coordinator in the NDDPI’s Office of Special Education since December 2014. On July 1, 2018, the Early Childhood Special Education Section 619 Coordinator position will transition to the NDDPI’s Office of Early Learning where I will continue the role of Section 619 Coordinator as well as take on the new duties of Assistant Director for the Office of Early Learning. I have had the pleasure of working with North Dakota early childhood students and their parents, as well as professionals from across the state the past 3.5 years, and I look forward to continuing to do so.
For those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting or have worked with, here’s a little information about me. Although I am from SW North Dakota, I received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Jamestown and Master’s degree from Montana State University-Billings. My husband and I have been married for 13 years and we have been blessed with two beautiful children, Adison (10) and Everett (5). They both keep us very busy with activities they are involved in; however, I do find spare time to get my “farm girl” on and go back to my hometown of Lefor, ND for some manual labor and bake treats for my family and co-workers. 
 My contact information will remain the same at:  vbakken@nd.gov  or 701-328-2720.
2018 Designer Genes' Buddy Walk
Picture9Valerie Bakken, NDDPI’s Section 619 Coordinator, is representing the department at the annual 2018 Designer Genes’ Buddy Walk as the Ambassador for Learning.  The Designer Genes’ Buddy Walk was developed by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in 1995 to promote acceptance and inclusion of all people with Down syndrome. This walk helps to raise awareness of the potential of individuals with Down syndrome to live, learn, work, and contribute to their community. The Walk has grown from 150 supporters in 2003 to close to 2000 buddies in 2017. In addition, we had 65 individuals with Down syndrome who were supported with a recognized team. The outpouring from the community for this event is what makes the Walk so powerful! 
Pictured is the “Learning Team” consisting of Ambassador Valerie Bakken, ECSE Teacher Jill Nelson, and Hosts, the Brooke’s family.
The next Buddy Walk is scheduled for September 22, 2018 at the Bismarck State Capitol. Registration and entertainment will begin at 10:00 am, with the approximately 1-mile walk kicking off at 11:00 am.
For more information go to: www.designergenesnd.com or call 701-391-7421.
Mayville State Program in Grand Forks Helps Address Child Care Shortage
Sydney Mook, Grand Forks Herald

Mayville State University’s new Early Head Start center may not be in the most conventional spot, but staff say the new location inside the Grand Cities Mall meets all their needs, as well as filling a need for the Grand Forks County area.
“Child care services are a need across the state and in Grand Forks County”, said Kristi Asendorf, parent services coordinator for ChildCare Aware of North Dakota. “What we typically say is that in a healthy market, 50 percent of the demand for child care be met by licensed child care,” she said. “The other 50 percent might be met by parents working different shifts or informal care, like relatives. Anytime the supply is less than 50 percent of the demand, we feel that it’s time for a community to look into what they can do to try and recruit new child care programs.”
Jessica Amb, the program director for Mayville State’s Child Care Program, said they originally went to the Grand Cities Mall to look for space for their Head Start classroom, but weren’t finding something that suited their needs. Amb said the mall’s manager showed them their current space, which was much larger than they had originally anticipated, and a light bulb went off.
The center, which opened June 6, provides Early Head Start   year-round for up to 48 children up to 3 years old. Early Head Start is offered at no charge to income-and-age-eligible families from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. Wrap-around child care services are also offered before and after those times at an hourly fee.
Preschool is offered for older children in another location in Grand Forks, but Amb said they are looking to open a classroom for 3-and 4-year-olds in the Grand Cities Mall sometime in the future.
The full article can be found here.
Pre-kindergarten Program Approval Requirements
The NDDPI, Office of Early Learning, follows the NDCC Chapter 15.1-37-01, that any person or school district operating an early childhood program request approval of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. To receive approval, please submit SFN 60869 to Angie Thomas in the Office of Early Learning by September 30 of each year. This is an annual requirement for new and existing programs.
Visit our website for guidance on how to complete the School District Pre-kindergarten Program Approval form.
Title I Pre-kindergarten: The purpose of Title  I A Disadvantaged Children Meet High Standards is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach, at minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments. For information on operating a Title I Pre-kindergarten program or Title I Pre-kindergarten Self-Monitoring Guide, please visit the NDDPI website.
Additional Guidance
Data Collection: The NDDPI collects pre-kindergarten enrollment data in STARS. All pre-kindergarten students, regardless of how the program is funded, must be enrolled in STARS. Districts that receive the Early Childhood Commerce Grant, please remember to update your enrollment monthly. If you need access to STARS, please contact Angie Thomas at 701-328-2317.
Enrollment: The NDCC Chapter 15.1-37(d) limits the enrollment to children who have reached the age of four before August 1st in the year of enrollment.
Three Year Olds: Communities across the state are looking to school districts to offer pre-kindergarten to three year olds not already served through their IEP. This is allowable through the Department of Human Services. Please contact your local county social services office to speak with the county licenser.
Early Childhood Continuing Education Grant
Early Childhood Continuing Education Grant
The 65th Legislation Assembly passed the Early Childhood Continuing Education Grants for the biennium running July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019. To qualify for the grant award, the recipient must be a North Dakota resident in addition to the following:
  • Be a pre-kindergarten teacher or teacher assistant for whom a baccalaureate degree will be required in the future;
  • Be an individual working in the childcare industry and/or Head Start program who wishes to obtain a Child Development Associate Degree, Associate of Arts Degree, or Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education;
  • Be enrolled in a North Dakota State college or university.
If deemed eligible, recipients will receive up to a $3,000 grant award.
If you are interested in applying for the grant, please complete the application and return to Angie Thomas via email at afthomas@nd.gov or mail to:
Department of Public Instruction
Office of Early Learning
Attn: Angie Thomas
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
Bismarck, ND 58505-0440
Candeska Cikana Community College Head Start

Grand Opening/Open House

Where: CCCC Head Start Facility
             7956 Ephriam Hill Road,    
             Fort Totten, ND
When: Wednesday, August 15, 2018
           11:00 am - 4:00 pm

 When: Tuesday, July 10, 2018
            8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Where: CCCC Amphitheatre
Everyone Welcome! Child care provided for Head Start families
University of Mary School Leadership Institute Program
The School Leadership Institute Program at the University of Mary prepares teachers to become effective administrators and school leaders. The program can be completed in three years, with students taking online courses during the school year and participating in an innovative, two-week session on University of Mary’s campus each summer.
By completing the School Leadership Institute Program, students earn their Masters of Education in Elementary or Secondary School Administration. Upon completion, students also receive a North Dakota Administrator credential.
Visit the University of Mary website for more information!

2018 Early Childhood Education Spring Conference
The 2018 Early Childhood Education Spring Conference was held April 12-13, 2018 at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Mandan, ND. This was our largest conference yet with close to 350 in attendance. We had phenomenal feedback regarding our two keynote speakers: Cari Ebert and John Richardson-Lauve. Breakout sessions covered many topics including: Science, Technology, Trauma, ACES, Foster Care, Homelessness, Social-Emotional/Behavior, Art, Naturally Healing Children, and more!
We were also fortunate to have press coverage for both days of the conference. Please see the links below for footage:
2019 Early Childhood Education Spring Conference


North Dakota Early Learning Content Standards
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI), in collaboration with the North Dakota Department of Human Services, solicited early childhood professionals across the Birth through Kindergarten field to build a North Dakota Early Learning Standards Writing Team. Early childhood professionals from Licensed Child Care, Head Start/Early Head Start, Early Intervention, Early Childhood Special Education, Public Pre-kindergarten, Higher Education, and Child Care Aware came together over the course of 6 writing meetings.  During the month of May 2018, the draft standards document went through a state-wide public comment and review. The Writing Team resumed for the final meeting on June 4, 2018 to review, make decisions on the comments, and vote. June 5, 2018 the Writing Team voted to submit a recommendation to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to adopt the new North Dakota Early Learning Standards Birth-Kindergarten. The release of the North Dakota Early Learning Standards will be this summer along with a series of professional development and training opportunities to support the statewide implementation.