In celebration of DiscoverU 2020, a week of college and career exploration, we’re featuring an interview with Rory Gill, Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) Teacher at Daybreak Star Preschool and recipient of the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy funded SPP teacher scholarship.[Read more…]
The Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) Provider Facilities Fund Request for Investment (RFI) is now OPEN!
The Department of Education and Early Learning is excited to announce the opening of the SPP Providers Facilities Fund Request for Investment (RFI) funding opportunity as part of the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy, passed by voters in 2018.
To be considered for funding, applicants are invited to apply by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
- The 2020-21 SPP Provider Facilities Fund RFI has approximately $800,000 available to support child care facility expansion and renovation projects for use in Seattle Preschool Program.
- Home-, center-, and school-based providers who contract with DEEL as providers of SPP or SPP Pathway are eligible to apply.
- Funds are awarded through a competitive application process.
DEEL will host two informational webinars on Thursday, October 22, 2020, on the Webex platform. Webex meeting links are provided below.
Click HERE to learn more about this funding opportunity and access RFI documents.
A brand-new DEEL newsletter has launched! This department resource will provide a closer look at the investments the City of Seattle is making in education—from early learning to postsecondary.
In this first issue, we’re covering how our investments and our partners are pivoting for a school year unlike any other we’ve known. As our city continues to navigate COVID-19 and build toward recovery, DEEL is working with our partners to adapt to the challenges before us with innovation, collaboration, and a sharp focus on racial equity.
Here’s a closer look at what’s in the Fall 2020 issue:
- Director’s Welcome Letter
- Investment Features
- Seattle Preschool Program
- K-12 Investments
- School Based Health Centers
- Kingmakers of Seattle
- Community Partner Features
- ACE Academy
- Seed of Life: Emergency Child Care Provider
- Department Features
- DEEL Director Dwane Chappelle Reconfirmed
- Staff Spotlight: Communications & External Affairs
- Student and Family Resources
- Home Learning Resources for Early Learners
- School-Age Child Care
- Teen Resource Hubs
- Seattle Public Schools Resources: Student Meals, Technology Support, and Drive-Thru Flu Clinics
- Remote Learning Resources from Seattle Public Library
- Calendar and Events of Interest
- Upcoming Trainings for Preschool Teachers and Providers
- Upcoming Funding Opportunities for Seattle Preschool Program
To receive future issues of the DEEL newsletter, sign up on DEEL’s mailing list.
UPDATE: Event video replay here.
Join us on Monday, August 31, at 4:30 p.m. for our live, virtual Parent Q & A Event to get your questions answered about Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) offerings this fall. Access the meeting here. Click “Join by browser” to bypass the app download.
Hear from SPP staff and providers about changes to SPP programming this fall, reduced and free tuition options, and health and safety guidance for preschool during COVID-19. Parents will also be able to ask questions in our Webex virtual meeting platform.
To apply for SPP, click here.
Jenny A. Durkan, Mayor
Dwane Chappelle, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2020
Contact: Marissa Rousselle, email@example.com, 206-773-7307
Seattle Preschool Program Enrolling for Fall with Free and Reduced Tuition Options
City offers families multiple early learning options during COVID-19 pandemic
SEATTLE (August 25) – The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) is announcing modifications to the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) for the 2020-2021 school year in response to COVID-19. SPP programming will be available this fall in one of three programming options: in-person, 100 percent remote, or a hybrid option of both in-person and remote.[Read more…]
As summer started in Seattle, the city made several transitions marking a new season. These included COVID-adapted high school and college graduation ceremonies, as well as King County’s transition to Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start recovery plan.
On June 30, another transition happened. The emergency order establishing the City of Seattle’s Emergency Child Care (ECC) program for essential workers expired and families transitioned from ECC to summer care options.
The ECC program, developed in only a few weeks’ time during COVID’s early days, was officially launched on March 27 with an emergency order from Mayor Durkan. The program was funded using repurposed Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) levy dollars with support from the Levy Oversight Committee and approved by City Council. Through ECC, Seattle Preschool Program providers served essential workers in need of child care after schools closed in late March.
Successes of the ECC Program
ECC benefited families and early learning providers alike. For providers, many of whom are women- and minority-owned businesses (WMBEs), participation in ECC allowed them to stay open, albeit under far different operational circumstances. These child care providers showed tremendous flexibility and resilience, and in a short time, they successfully revamped established programs to serve smaller class sizes, allow for social distancing and enhanced sanitation, and in some cases adapt classrooms for school-age children.[Read more…]
When the first COVID-19 cases were discovered in early March, the City of Seattle mobilized for quick and comprehensive response across all its departments, from opening up additional shelters for people experiencing homelessness, to protecting residents from evictions and utility shut-offs, to standing up emergency child care for Seattle’s essential workers and first responders. These efforts, along with countless others in partnership with state, public health, and community organizations—as well as the critical role played by residents in stopping the spread—helped Seattle became a model for the rest of the country in how to save lives and protect our health care system from becoming overwhelmed.
But the financial impact of COVID-19 is significant. Dramatically reduced City revenues due to business closures and reduced economic activity in Seattle, combined with increased spending on a variety of fronts to fight the disease and mitigate its effect, have resulted in a shortfall of over $200 million. As the City Budget Office (CBO) and City departments have evaluated the financial impact of the pandemic, departments have been asked to reevaluate discretionary spending and identify budget reductions for 2020.[Read more…]
When the City of Seattle launched our Emergency Child Care program at the end of March, our goal was to meet the urgent need felt by essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response for reliable child care in the wake of school closures. In response to this demand, the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) mobilized Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) providers across the city, and the Emergency Child Care (ECC) program launched with 28 classrooms and more than 230 slots for preschool and school-age children.
One critical need remained—care for infants and toddlers. SPP providers, who had already adapted their preschool classrooms and programs to serve school-age children, were simply not set up to serve the very different needs of babies and toddlers. For many families with children aged 0-3, their normal care options—whether grandparents now at heightened risk or a provider whose doors had closed—were no longer available, and these essential workers were left wondering how to continue working without reliable care for their youngest children.
Enter Child Care Resources.[Read more…]
The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) has selected three organizations to provide individualized behavioral support and child development services to early learning providers participating in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) and SPP Pathway.
Funded by the voter-approved Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy, DEEL has approximately $400,000 available to contract with qualified organizations in 2020. The goal of this new investment is to ensure that all children can fully participate in their high-quality, early learning classroom.
The three organizations
approved for the Comprehensive Support Services roster include:
- Childhaven: Childhaven offers a continuum of services to young children and their families, including early learning (ECEAP and Head Start), early intervention, and counseling for children ages birth through thirteen. Childhaven also pioneers the Flourish program, which combines classroom-based therapeutic early learning services for children ages birth to six with the Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) model.
- Sound Child Care Solutions: Sound Child Care Solutions (SCCS) creates high-quality, culturally relevant education for all children and offers unique and personalized services to families, especially families of color and those living in poverty.
- University of Washington Haring Center: The University of Washington Haring Center for Inclusive Education provides early childhood education to children with and without disabilities, conducts leading-edge research to advance inclusive learning, and trains education professionals in proven practices to develop every child’s potential.
Currently, SPP and SPP Pathway providers receive coaching from DEEL staff and consultation from Public Health-Seattle and King County (PHSKC) on a regular basis. With the creation of this roster, identified organizations are eligible to work with preschool teachers who need additional and intensive coaching beyond what their agency’s resources, DEEL’s coaches, and PHSKC mental health consultants can provide.
As a child’s needs are identified, preschool providers will work with DEEL staff to choose an organization from the Comprehensive Support Services RFQ roster to best meet the child’s identified need. The selected organization will then develop a proposed scope of work, schedule, and fee based on the preschool agency’s approved needs. This may include daily support over a period of several weeks to help the teacher improve their instructional strategies and effectiveness in supporting all children.
Specific services provided for preschool teachers may include:
- Behavioral supports
- Developmental supports
- Trauma-informed practice
- Social-emotional instruction
Applications to this competitive Request for Qualifications (RFQ) were reviewed by a three-member panel which included a community representative and staff from PHSKC and DEEL. Inclusion on the roster does not guarantee work or funding to the agency but will permit DEEL to directly contract with the agency to provide prescribed classroom-based supports to SPP agencies.
NOTE: The roster is not a comprehensive list of individuals or organizations providing early learning behavioral and/or developmental support services in Seattle.
DEEL will continue to recruit and promote the Comprehensive Supports RFQ to grow this roster. A second call for applicants is anticipated later in 2020. Organizations interested in learning more about the roster process can visit DEEL’s funding opportunities website.
Approved by Seattle voters on November 6, 2018, the seven-year, $619 million Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy will partner with families and communities to advance educational equity, close opportunity gaps, and build a better economic future for Seattle students.
By Erica Johnson, PhD
Manager of Early Learning Policy and Innovation, Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning
I can still remember the children in my first kindergarten classroom. It was August 2001—my first year of teaching—and I was as nervous as they were. On the first day, I welcomed them at the door and helped new families navigate their day one nerves. After helping these new kindergartners find their cubbies and seats, I watched as parents—some teary-eyed, some stoic—said their goodbyes.
That day, there were 26 kids. Looking back, it’s remarkably easy to see who was socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten and who wasn’t quite there yet. It was only years later that I recognized that a child’s preparation had everything to do with what they did before kindergarten.
Sienna* and her twin brother, Angelo*, participated in a well-regarded local preschool program. Kindergarten was not a new challenge for them, it was just a new setting. Sienna walked into the room on the first day with confidence, inquired about her cubby and asked if she could use the materials at her table to draw a picture. Angelo was also confident but less interested in table work. His biggest concern was when recess would start and if I had a soccer ball (I did).
Mariella* was a heritage-language speaker with limited exposure to English. Academically, she was ready for Kindergarten, but she struggled socially and emotionally. In the beginning of the year, she cried every day when her mom left. Mariella had not been in a formal preschool program before kindergarten which made acclimating to school environment a challenge. Even though more than half of the children in the class spoke Spanish, there were no school-level resources to support her transition to kindergarten which likely compounded her separation anxiety. I believe her kindergarten transition experience was more difficult than it needed to be.
Kevin* and Keeley* spent the beginning of the year a bit lost. They had not participated in preschool so everything was new to them. Letters, reading and math concepts, and navigating peer relationships were all new. I remember that Kevin would identify every letter was a K, since that was the first letter of his name. Sweet and quiet, Keeley would shut down when she got confused or overwhelmed. They made progress throughout the year, but basic reading readiness activities were too advanced for what they needed. Due to State requirements around reading (in Florida, in 2001), they were both required to repeat Kindergarten the next year.
I imagine what that year would have been like for Mariella if she had been in a dual language preschool that eased her into English while providing linguistically- and culturally-appropriate support. What would that year have been like for Kevin and Keeley if they had access to peers for social development and pre-academic experiences through high-quality preschool? How would Kindergarten have been different for these kids? How would school have been different?
Fast-forward to 2018 and I now work for the City of Seattle to help develop and expand the Seattle Preschool Program. I know the research. I know that in the 2017-18 school year, 64.1% of children in Seattle Public Schools kindergarten classes were determined to be ready for kindergarten in assessments of social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, and math. That means that almost 36% of kids were not ready in one or more area.
Within that 36%, we see pervasive racial and socioeconomic inequities. Children identified as middle or high income and White are more likely to be found to be ready in all areas than those identified as children of color, low-income, or limited English proficient. From research and from experience, we know that access to affordable, high-quality preschool can make a difference for our children and help close the opportunity gap.
It’s easy to talk about the research, but to feel the difference preschool makes, I have to think back to Sienna, Angelo, Mariella, Kevin, Keeley, and all of their classmates. Each of these kids—and all kids—deserve the best “day one” of kindergarten the community can give them.
*all names of these young learners were changed
Postscript: Mariella, a beneficiary of the Dream Act and an opportunity scholarship, graduated from a state university with honors. I still wish her kindergarten experience had been easier for her but am endlessly proud of her accomplishments and can’t wait to see what happens next.