State agency town halls scheduled

BALTIMORE — The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Maryland Department of Human Services (MSDH), in partnership with Ready At Five, will hold a series of regional town hall meetings on the State’s early care and education system.

“This is an opportunity for the three state agencies that oversee early childhood programs and services in Maryland to collaborate together in a nine-stop listening tour,” Division of Early Childhood Assistant State Superintendent Steven Hicks said. “Our focus is finding out what parents, early childhood educators, policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders see as our greatest challenges and opportunities to building a well-coordinated and integrated early care and education system in Maryland. Participants will help shape the future for children in Maryland.”

MSDE was recently awarded a Preschool Development Birth through Five (PDG B-5) Grant, a $10.6 million federal grant that will help states conduct a comprehensive statewide birth through five needs assessment followed by in-depth strategic planning.

The grant also focuses on enhancing parent choice and expanding the current mixed delivery system consisting of a wide range of provider types and settings, including child care centers and home-based child care providers, Head Start and Early Head Start, state pre-kindergarten, early intervention and special education services, and home visiting service providers across the public, private and faith-based sectors.

As part of the PDG B-5, nine regional town hall meetings will take place between March 26 and May 17, 2019, with both morning and evening sessions offered to accommodate various schedules and needs. Continental breakfast will be provided at morning sessions and a light dinner will be served at evening sessions.

For the local area of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent , Queen Anne’s and Talbot the town halls will be held April 16 at Chespeake College’s Higher Education Building, 1000 College Circle, Wye Mills.
Morning 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Representatives from the State, Ready At Five, and local child- and family-serving agencies will share updates on a variety of topics related to early childhood care and education, family supports, new data from Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, and opportunities through the new PDG B-5 grant. Each session will also include opportunities for the public to contribute to developing the State’s prenatal to age five needs assessment.

Feedback and findings from the town hall meetings will be used to develop and inform a new early learning strategic plan for Maryland by identifying significant needs and priorities. To join one of the Regional Town Hall meetings, please register at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECETownHalls

More information about the Regional Town Halls, including handouts, can be found at https://earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org/townhalls.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment