Enacted Budget Includes a Number of Improvements – California Budget & Policy Center

On June 27, Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 state budget bill. This year’s budget agreement includes a number of improvements over earlier proposals, though the overall scope of state investments remains constrained by uncertainty about potential federal policy changes. The 2017-18 budget package:

  • Expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to well over 1 million additional families by expanding the credit to the self-employed and increasing the income eligibility limits.
  • Reflects an agreement between the Governor and legislative leaders over how to spend Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues for Medi-Cal, with this funding going to supplemental payments for Medi-Cal providers and also to covering ordinary spending growth in the program.

Source: First Look: Enacted Budget Includes a Number of Improvements, Reflects Ongoing Uncertainty About Federal Commitments – California Budget & Policy Center

California still has a way to go in offering ‘full-day’ preschool | EdSource

By Louis Freedberg and Susan Frey

Despite continuing efforts to expand learning time for young children, large numbers of low-income California children still lack access to full-day programs in state-supported preschool, according to a new EdSource report.

The report, titled “Expanding Early Learning Time: Accessing Full Day Preschool and Kindergarten in California,” points to compelling research that shows that attending high-quality, full-day preschool is associated with improved learning outcomes for students. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, found that full-day preschool attendance contributed to greater school readiness on four measures: social-emotional development, language development, math performance and physical health.

Source: California still has a way to go in offering ‘full-day’ preschool | EdSource

Benicia Moms Group’s Early Education Fair returns – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Preschool is an important milestone in every person’s life. It is when children take their first steps into the world of education. However, it can be a lot of work just to get started. Thankfully, as they have in the past, the Benicia Moms Group will be hosting an Early Education Fair to let parents know what to expect. According to Brittainy Sapien, a vice president of administration for Benicia Moms Group, the group first hosted a Preschool Fair in 2013 under the guidance of member Ann Brooner. It was also held in 2014 and 2015 but was canceled in 2016 due to a lack of resources and intesrest. “When we did not host the fair in 2016, we had heard a lot of feedback that people had missed the fair, so we knew that it was an important thing to bring back to the community,” Sapien said. With the help of Benicia Unified School District and First 5 Solano, the Early Education Fair is back to provide information on preschool and kindergarten. Parents can have questions about preschool answered, meet with community resources and learn about activities and childcare for kids ages 5 and under. Benicia Unified representatives will also be on hand to talk about kindergarten preparedness.

Source: Benicia Moms Group’s Early Education Fair returns

Workshop set to examine developmental writing in preschoolers – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano County Office of Education will host a class called “From Scribble to Script: Developmental Writing in Preschool” on Feb. 4.

Participants will discuss developmental writing as it’s presented in the state’s Preschool Learning Foundation and Desired Results Developmental Profile 2015.

Strategies to facilitate development at each stage of writing will be shared.

Source: Workshop set to examine developmental writing in preschoolers

Pre-K education rating system enacted in Solano County – Times Herald

By Times Herald Staff

A rating system designed to monitor and improve the early education of Solano County children is now in effect.

The program, known as the Solano Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), was created by The Solano County Office of Education, First 5 Solano and additional community partners, according to a news release.

The system assists pre-kindergarten care providers with implementing standards of quality and informing parents of the elements and outcomes of quality education.

This is achieved through on-site coaching, technical assistance, professional development and observation.

The Solano QRIS also enables providers to offer program incentives and ongoing support to families.

Source: Pre-K education rating system enacted in Solano County

A Lesson For Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last : NPR Ed

By Elissa Nadworny

Is preschool worth it? Policymakers, parents, researchers and us, at NPR Ed, have spent a lot of time thinking about this question.

We know that most pre-kindergarten programs do a good job of improving ‘ specific skills like phonics and counting, as well as broader social and emotional behaviors, by the time students enter kindergarten. Just this week, a study looking at more than 20,000 students in a state-funded preschool program in Virginia found that kids made large improvements in their alphabet recognition skills.

So the next big question to follow is, of course, Do these benefits last? New research out of North Carolina says yes, they do. The study found that early childhood programs in that state resulted in higher test scores, a lower chance of being held back in a grade, and a fewer number of children with special education placements. Those gains lasted up through the fifth grade.

Source: A Lesson For Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last : NPR Ed : NPR

Preschoolers apply pedal power at Fairfield trike-a-thon – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

There were traffic jams but no crashes Wednesday at the ninth annual trike-a-thon at T.C. McDaniel Early Learning Center.

The event raises money for the school’s motor lab while supporting motor development in preschoolers with all ability levels.

The youngsters, ages 2 to 5, were cheered on by parents and staff at the center as they launched laps under an arch of balloons. There were pompoms for those who wanted to take cheering an extra step.

Some participants opted to ride in wagons pulled by staff and family.

Source: Preschoolers apply pedal power at Fairfield trike-a-thon

Fairfield-Suisun school leaders open Mary Bird preschool – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said the opening of a newly refurbished city school means the surrounding East Tabor Avenue neighborhood will be “going from despair to hope.”

His remarks came moments before Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders cut the symbolic ribbon to open the Mary Bird Early Childhood Education Center, where, beginning today, the first day of the new academic year in the county’s largest school district, nearly 100 preschoolers, ages 3 to 4, almost half of them with special needs, will file through the freshly painted doorways and into six classrooms.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun school leaders open Mary Bird preschool

New school year brings new program to Vacaville schools – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Officials with the Vacaville School District have announced a new integrated preschool opportunity for youngsters.

The Integrated Preschool Program will bring preschoolers with and without disabilities together to learn, according to the district.

Classes are intended to help children experience different developmental, social and behavioral models from other children, the district said. The blended environment emphasizes compassion, understanding and positive perceptions of diversity and disability.

Source: New school year brings new program to Vacaville schools

New Vacaville school program to pair preschoolers with and without disabilities – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A new Vacaville Unified program will bring together preschoolers with and without disabilities to learn together, district officials have announced.

Integrated Preschool Program classes, to be offered at Hemlock Elementary and the Irene Larsen Preschool Center, are intended “to help children experience different developmental, social and behavioral models from other children,” Rae Ann Quinata, an assistant in the district’s public information office, wrote in a press release.

The blended environment, in two-hour per day classroom settings, emphasizes compassion, understanding and positive perceptions of diversity and disability, she added.

In the written statement, Kuljeet Nijjar, a district special education preschool coordinator, said the program will provide “greater compassion and a more positive perception of children with disabilities.”

 

Source: New Vacaville school program to pair preschoolers with and without disabilities

Gov. Brown agrees to add money for child care, preschool in budget | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Advocates for expanding early childhood education and for better preparing low-income high school students for state universities wrested substantial money in the compromise state budget, announced Thursday, that legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have negotiated. The Legislature will vote next week on the $122 billion plan for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Although less than they wanted, members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus got a down payment on a half-billion dollar increase for child care and state-funded preschools over the next four years. By 2019-20, that will include ramping up to an additional 8,877 slots for full-day state preschool and increases in reimbursement rates for child-care providers to reflect increases in the state minimum wage. The first 2,969 preschool slots will open up in March 2017.

“This is going to be the biggest appropriation in a decade,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens,vice chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus, told the Los Angeles Times, referring to the increased costs in future years. “We’re trying to be progressive and think about the future.”

Source: Gov. Brown agrees to add money for child care, preschool in budget | EdSource

BUSD adds preschool, family literacy programs – Benicia Herald

By Elizabeth Warnmont

The Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) received new state funding for a full-day preschool at Mary Farmar Elementary School beginning with the 2015-2016 school year and will continue to offer subsidized full day, morning and afternoon preschool and a school age (transitional Kindergarten through fifth grade) program at Robert Semple School, as well as school age programs at Joe Henderson, Matthew Turner and Mary Farmar elementary schools.

The BUSD adult education department also received funding this year from the Solano Adult Education Block Grant Consortia and will continue to offer GED, basic education and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, in partnership with the Benicia Public Library.

The adult ed program hosted three family literacy “reading nights” at Mary Farmar and Robert Semple schools and the library this year, hosting over 150 participants at each session. The family literacy events, designed to bridge the school/home connection, are free to all residents through the Solano Adult Education program, in partnership with the BUSD.

Source: BUSD adds preschool, family literacy programs

Preschool Special Education Would Get Small Boost Under Federal Budget Plan – Education Week

By Christina Samuels

Special education spending for school aged-children would hold steady, but spending for infants and children under 5 would see a modest boost under the White Houses proposed budget for fiscal year 2017, released on Feb. 9.

Students ages 6-21 currently receive the bulk of federal special education dollars, and that wouldnt change under the proposed spending plan, which would hold overall special education spending steady at $11.9 billion, the same as the previous fiscal year.

An additional $35 million would be allocated to services for children ages 3 to 5, bringing the total proposal to about $403 million. Those children are served under Section 619 of the federal special education law.

via Preschool Special Education Would Get Small Boost Under Federal Budget Plan – On Special Education – Education Week.

State expands preschool rating system, but aims to add more | EdSource

By Sarah Tully

Over the past three years, California has more than quadrupled the number of early childhood centers being evaluated with a new rating system, but that is still just a fraction of the state’s publicly subsidized programs.

The U.S. Department of Education released Tuesday a progress report of the 20 states, including California, that received federal Early Learning Challenge grants starting in 2011. The grants, part of the Race to the Top program, were meant to improve publicly funded early learning programs with systems to rate their quality, as well as track health screenings and assess children’s readiness for kindergarten.

via State expands preschool rating system, but aims to add more | EdSource.

California’s Farm to Preschool Program – Healthy Eating & Nutrition Education (CA Dept of Education)

What is Farm to Preschool?

F2P is a growing movement that includes activities that strengthen relationships between children in early child care and education settings and healthy, local food.

F2P activities include:

  • Purchasing, promoting and serving healthy, local foods in snacks or meals
  • Providing educational activities related to agriculture, food, health, or nutrition
  • Creating hands-on learning opportunities for children through gardening

via Californias Farm to Preschool Program – Healthy Eating & Nutrition Education (CA Dept of Education).

Governor vetoes bill setting timetable for expansion of preschool | EdSource

By Louis Freedberg

To the disappointment of many child care advocates, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Friday that would have set a timetable for providing state subsidized preschool for all low-income 4-year-olds.

Assembly Bill 47, authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, would have set a target of June 2018 to provide access to state subsidized preschool to all low-income 4-year-olds who are not already enrolled in transitional kindergarten or state preschool. Whether that timetable would be met would have been contingent “upon the appropriation of sufficient funding in the annual Budget Act for this purpose.”

via Governor vetoes bill setting timetable for expansion of preschool | EdSource.

Program helps youngsters hone skills for kindergarten – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

One-by-one, Eli Marrero added small seashells to the small plastic bottle. Eventually, there was no room left and he tipped the bottle upside down to release seashells.

Gabrielle Cassidy stood on the opposite side of the water table. She had spread her seashells out, putting them in a handful of different containers. There was still room for a few more seashells.

What looked like play inside the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center was actually part of the Suisun City Recreation Department’s kindergarten readiness program.

via Program helps youngsters hone skills for kindergarten.

How to build a bridge from pre-kindergarten to third grade | EdSource

By Richard Carranza

The month of June marked transitions for many of our students, but few more so than the very youngest. This month, thousands of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds completed their first years of formal education in San Francisco Unified. Research suggests they will be significantly better prepared to succeed in school because of their high-quality preschool experience.

What these children don’t know – and it should be invisible to them – is that they are on the leading edge of our district’s strategy to align pre-K–3rd grade instruction. Our goal with this approach is to shrink a stubborn achievement gap by aligning primary school teaching to a formerly separate pre-K system. If we are going to bridge the gap, we have to start earlier, and that early work must be connected and coherent with the work in the grades that follow.

via How to build a bridge from pre-kindergarten to third grade | EdSource.

Legislators propose boosting preschool funding | EdSource

By Sarah Tully and Michael Collier

Lawmakers are proposing to add hundreds of millions more dollars to childcare and preschool initiatives than what Gov. Jerry Brown proposed in the state budget, but the increase is likely to meet resistance from the governor.

The Assembly and Senate budget committees passed proposals in recent weeks to increase the amount of money and spaces for childcare, boost voucher programs and give more money to centers that watch over children.

The Assembly’s proposal adds $605 million for childcare and preschool programs, while the Senate’s plan adds $332 million. Both proposals would substantially increase what Brown proposed in his revised budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

via Legislators propose boosting preschool funding | EdSource#.VW3iMGfbLGg#.VW3iMGfbLGg.

Neighbors appeal preschool ruling – Benicia Herald

By Donna Beth Weilenman

Planning Commission to meet Thursday to revisit day care approval

Benicia Planning Commission will hear an appeal Thursday of a decision to allow a large family day care to operate in a home at 579 Cooper Drive.

Interim Community Development Director Dan Marks initially heard a request to open the day care March 10 from Kristi Claverie and her supporters. He also heard objections from neighbors who worried that it would increase traffic on their street and cause other problems.

Acting as the city’s zoning administrator, Marks examined points raised on both sides before deciding March 20 to approve Claverie’s request to provide day care services for up to 14 children.

via Neighbors appeal preschool ruling.