Maryland EXCELS eNews!
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November 2016

In the Spotlight
Frostburg Bridge Program
Director: Leticia Shelton
Co-Director: Tausha Smith

Leticia Shelton’s interest in early childhood and child care began with a simple request to help her mom, an elementary school teacher, by assisting with children during parent/teacher conferences. Eventually, that interest led her to the Frostburg Bridge Program in 1990.
“BRIDGE stands for Building Responsible Individuals in a Daily Growing Environment, and we encourage our children to give back to the community without expectations attached,” notes Leticia.

At Bridge, giving to the community comes in many forms. They have hosted children-inspired variety shows where the monies raised were used to help a cancer fund, an animal shelter, and several other  organizations in need. Books and pajamas are collected and distributed to the local women and children’s shelter.
Because the program is located in a community building with a Senior Center, the children have had the unique opportunity to create cards for and interact with the senior visitors. The children also make cards for women and men in the military, filling them with words of encouragement.

Along with a local church, the Frostburg Bridge children create “Love Bags” which they fill with toothpaste, crossword books, and other needed items. The bags are distributed to the residents of a local nursing home.
In the daily operations of the center, Leticia welcomes the support of her Co-Director, Tausha Smith. “She’s left handed, I’m right handed and so she is like my other hand.” Leticia is also grateful for the help she received with Maryland EXCELS from her Quality Assurance Specialist, Darlene Schmidt. Leticia commented, “(I) probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to get to that Level 3 without Darlene’s assistance.”

Thank you for all the fantastic work in the community!
What's New
Congratulations to Pamela Burdette - Winner of the Frog Street Curriculum!

Pamela is a Maryland EXCELS family child care provider in Carroll County and she is the lucky winner of the September Frog Street PreK curriculum and learning materials giveaway valued at $5,000! Congratulations, Pamela!

New Giveaway from InvestiGator Club! 
On November 30, 2016 we will draw two Maryland EXCELS winners for the InvestiGator Club® PreK Curriculum and Materials Giveaway. Read our flyer for more information! All programs with a published quality rating on the date of the drawing are eligible.

We're Listening

Earlier this fall we held two Maryland EXCELS Listening Sessions. Randomly selected early childhood and school age professionals were invited to talk to us about their experiences with Maryland EXCELS. The goals of the Listening Sessions were to gather feedback from you and to hear about your experiences with Maryland EXCELS.

Some of the recommendations are:

Provide more training on basic computer functions.

Families need more information about Maryland EXCELS and the importance of choosing quality programs.

Programs and providers want more help marketing their businesses to increase enrollment.

There is a need for more transparency on how documents are reviewed and rated.

All of the recommendations are valued and are being considered by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland EXCELS team at Johns Hopkins University, Center for Technology in Education.
Please continue to keep your ideas coming and look for new information and improvements soon!  You can provide your feedback and suggestions any time.

Email us at
Training Opportunities 
New! Family Engagement in Early Childhood Website for Parents and Families and Early Childhood Provider Module Are Unveiled

Ready At Five, in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Division of Early Childhood Development (DECD), and the Institute of Innovation and Implementation University of Maryland School of Social Work, has developed a Family Engagement in Early Childhood website for parents and families titled "Maryland Families Ready To Connect." This website offers information to parents and families about what family engagement is, how to practice it and the benefits of building a partnership with providers and schools to support young children's school readiness. Website topics include school readiness, supporting transitions, partnering with providers, families as leaders and advocates, choosing quality child care, and learning from 0-3. The Family Engagement in Early Childhood website is available in both English and Spanish.
Maryland EXCELS Work Group and Training Schedule
Are you interested in attending a Maryland EXCELS approved Core of Knowledge Training? Would you like the opportunity to work directly with a Quality Assurance Specialist on developing, revising, and submitting documentation? Consider attending a Maryland EXCELS Workgroup or Training.

 Ready, Set, STEM: December School Readiness Symposium!
Save the date for the Ready at Five School Readiness Symposium "Ready, Set, STEM!" featuring Heidi Schweingruber, PhD, Director, Board on Science Education, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on December 6, 2016 at Turf Valley Hotel in Ellicott City, MD.  Registration is now open at Ready at Five.
November Happenings!
Animals such as geese, monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, salmon and whales migrate, or move to warmer environments in preparation for the winter months. Did you ever wonder how far they have to travel? Use a map and let the children map out the travel of migration!
Thank you
Maryland EXCELS is thankful for YOU, the providers who are dedicated to giving children in the state of Maryland quality child care. Your dedication to families, education and self-growth not only has an immediate impact on the children, but it can also affect long term success.
Adding your program’s policies for preventing the spread of flu and other illnesses helps to ensure that families and staff members are doing their part to keep everyone healthy.  Since flu season is approaching, these tips may be helpful:
Is your program taking all the steps to prevent and control influenza?

It's time to prepare for the 2016-2017 influenza (flu) season. Influenza virus infection can be more serious than the common cold for children. 

The "Influenza Prevention and Control: Strategies for Early Education and Child Care Programs" handout will help you learn more about how to lessen the impact of flu in your Head Start or early education/child care program. The handout is available in English and Spanish
To request complimentary print copies of the handout while supplies last e-mail   Quantities requested are not guaranteed.