Early Childhood Care And Education Network

Louisiana is progressing toward a unified Early Childhood System, which was directed by Act 3 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session. In the past the early childhood system has been too fragmented, resulting in too few children prepared to be successful in kindergarten. When fully implemented in 2015-2016, the local networks will expand access to high quality, publicly-funded early childhood programs to families across Louisiana to ensure more children enter school kindergarten ready. VISION FOR A UNIFIED SYSTEM OF EARLY CHILDHOOD IN LOUISIANA VISION FOR A UNIFIED SYSTEM OF EARLY CHILDHOOD IN LOUISIANA FRAGMENTED SYSTEM Children are falling through the cracks and are not consistently prepared Teachers are not equally prepared nor rewarded for their work Families do not have easy-to-use information to make the best choice Providers are subject to inconsistent expectations and do not have equitable resources to achieve outcomes UNIFIED SYSTEM Common, high standards for what children should learn and what excellent teaching looks Teachers who are excellent at interacting with children and guiding learning are supported and rewarded Families apply through shared processes and are satisfied with their children’s experience Consistent expectations for health, safety and learning and adequate funding levels across programs based on serving children well Since 2013, 31 communities have volunteered to lead the way as pilot networks. They are building unified early childhood systems through innovative, coordinated approaches to ensure all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Community Network Pilots have demonstrated what can be achieved in unifying systems, and are guiding the state through the work of implementing Act 3. Led by these communities, in the 2014-2015 school year the state is hoping to expand the early childhood community network pilots to include all communities across the state. In the final year of the first phase of implementation, the state will working with communities to: Develop policies to fully unify the statewide early childhood system, which includes: Unifying expectations for providers Supporting all teachers to be excellent Giving families equitable access to quality options Expand early childhood pilots...

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Abney readers participate in Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program: South Slidell

Abney readers participate in Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program: South Slidell

Abney Elementary School students are participating in the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) program. This program provides a comprehensive approach to improving literacy outcomes for children, birth through grade 12. The Slidell “literacy line” includes the East St. Tammany Rainbow Child Care Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Abney Early Childhood Center, Abney Elementary, St. Tammany Junior High, and Salmen High School. 30wt2boud1.jpg Westchester Estates Garden Club members decorate their tree for the Slidell Christmas under the Stars celebration. They are, from left, Penny Crawford, Ethel Zansler, Ginger Meyer, Rosemary Kuhn, Catherine Shinn, Alice Green and Yvon Molinary. Abney also recently held it annual Christmas concert featuring the school band, chorus and dance teams. The groups performed to a packed house at the annual event. WESTCHESTER ESTATES Westchester Estates Garden Club members have selected the home of Lisa Ladner, 3819 Oxford Drive, for December Garden of the Month honors. Club members held their annual Christmas party and gift exchange recently at the home of club member Penny Crawford. Alice Green served as co-hostess. At the party, the members exchanged gifts and enjoyed a delicious meal followed by a variety of desserts. Members also recently decorated a tree for the annual Christmas under the Stars celebration in Slidell. Participating in this effort were Penny Crawford, Ethel Zansler, Ginger Meyer, Rosemary Kuhn, Catherine Shinn, Alice Green and Yvon Molinary. GREATER PALM LAME HOMEOWNERS The next HOA meeting will be Jan. 15 at 6:45 p.m. in the Slidell City Hall meeting room. All residents are invited and encouraged to attend. Yearly dues are $10 per household and can be paid at the meeting. The association has a new e-mail address: greaterpalmlake@gmail.com, and it allso can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Greater-Palm-Lake-Homeowners-Association. WWAM HOMEOWNERS The next meeting for the WWAM Homeowners Association will be Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Abney Elementary Cafeteria. All residents of Windsor Place, Westchester Estates, Abney Estates and Magnolia Heights are invited and encouraged to attend. FIRST BAPTIST CHRISTIAN SCHOOL The First Baptist Christian School Library Club recently took a trip to North Shore Square mall to purchase Christmas gifts for a needy child. Each member donated money to purchase gifts for a child from the First Baptist Church Giving Tree project. After purchasing the gifts, members were able to purchase Christmas gifts for friends and family members. Cindy Boudreau lives in the Pinecrest Subdivision. She may be reached at 985.649.6807 or 985.640.3985 or at...

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Rainbow Child Care Center seeks community partners to help with summer renovations

Rainbow Child Care Center seeks community partners to help with summer renovations

Rainbow Child Care Center is seeking community partners to assist in summer renovations at the center, which provides child care in Slidell for people who are working or attending school. Community partners are invited to adopt a specific area in the center, and renovate, refurbish, or update the learning equipment there. Rainbow has seven classrooms, one break room, two offices, and a playground. Each community partner will receive a plaque and naming rights to that room for the year. Partners also will be recognized during the center’s year-end Family Day at the Park, June, 2015. Rainbow, which has been in operation for more than 30 years in the Slidell area and is a nonprofit United Way agency, also has spaces available on its roster for children, ages 1-5. Rainbow Child Care Center is located at 121 Kingspoint Blvd., Slidell. It is a licensed “A”, 4 Star rated facility that is part of the ACT 3 Pilot Program. Tuition rates are sliding scale, based on income. There is a $50 registration fee, and the cost per week varies based on the percentage that Child Care Assistance pays and each family’s income. Rainbow provides families the opportunity to be self-sufficient by providing a quality child care program. “We believe strong families build strong communities,” said Dionne Graham, Executive Director. For information on the program, including registration, call 985.646.0718. For information on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, call Graham 985.646.1603. The information for this article was provided by Rainbow Child Care...

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Slidell Bubbly on the Bayou benefit for Rainbow Child Care Center

Slidell Bubbly on the Bayou benefit for Rainbow Child Care Center

Pop open the champagne and prepare to celebrate for a good cause with Rainbow Child Care Center’s annual fundraiser, Bubbly on the Bayou, being held March 11, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Patton’s Salmen-Fritchie House, 127 Cleveland Avenue, in Slidell. Featuring local leaders, gourmet brunch, music, auctions and more, Bubbly on the Bayou will entertain and delight the senses while raising money for the East St. Tammany Rainbow Child Care Center, a nonprofit private corporation that provides low-cost child care to low-income families attempting to break the cycle of dependence on public assistance. “Our fundraiser is so important because we have all seen budget cuts due to the scaling back of the economy,” Executive Director Dionne Graham said. “Unfortunately, our traditional presenting sponsor for our annual fundraiser is unable to provide support for us this year. We have also seen cuts in funding our program due to a restructuring of the Child Care Assistance Program. This fundraiser is so important because it helps us to meet our budgetary demands for day-to-day operations.” Bubbly on the Bayou will feature festive music, food and so much more, Graham said. “We are very excited to welcome all of those who are participating. It is going to be a great event and lots of fun,” Graham said. Local leaders attending this year’s event will include Parish President Pat Brister, serving as the event’s honorary chairwoman, and Slidell Mayor Freddie Drennan, Police Chief Randy Smith, and St. Tammany Fire Protection District 1 Assistant Fire Chief Chris Kaufmann, appearing as celebrity bartenders for the champagne brunch. Live music will be provided by the Smooth Dudes, a special brunch by Patton’s will be served, and live and silent auction items from local businesses and individuals throughout the area will be on hand for bidding. The event finale will feature a fashion show sponsored by My Girlfriend’s Closet, an upscale resale fashion boutique that holds sales every month to benefit the center. Tickets for the Bubbly on the Bayou are $65 per person, and are available at the Rainbow Child Care Center, 121 Kingspoint Boulevard, or at all Slidell Whitney Bank locations. While the fundraising festivities come once per year, Graham notes that the budgetary needs of the center continue throughout the year. “We are one of the only centers in the area that offers tuition based on a sliding scale. That is why it is so important to generate as much interest and donations to continue to be able to offer help to those that need it,” Graham explained. For additional information on Rainbow Child Care Center, to donate, or for event sponsorship opportunities, contact Graham at 985.646.1603.Landon Bissel, 3, shows off a stuffed toy...

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Newton, Larkin each named Slidell Athenians

Newton, Larkin each named Slidell Athenians

SLIDELL — Two Slidell women were honored with one of the highest awards bestowed upon local women. Sharron Newton was named the 2011 Athena Leadership Award recipient while Linda Larkin was awarded the 2011 Athena Young Leadership Award. The Athena Leadership Award is presented annually by chambers of commerce, women’s organizations and universities. The award is established through local host organizations in partnership with Athena International’s national underwriters, local businesses and individual sponsors. The recipients of this year’s awards were handed out last Wednesday at the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The other nominees were Lisa Clement, Kathy Lowrey and Kendra Maness. Last year’s Athena recipient was Sylvia Black, who said the Athena award honors an outstanding woman. “It’s about being who you really are, giving back to the community, having courage, being open-minded to learning and knowing how to celebrate and have joy in life,” Black said. “Just being nominated was an honor.” Clement works on behalf of women, children and the arts. Lowrey is always available to help anytime it’s needed. Maness helps with animals. Larkin is a go-getter and has been on the leadership team. Newton is a registered nurse who has dedicated her life to helping others. She has been a nurse and head nurse for Rotoplast International Inc. since 1993. Rotoplast International Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 to provide free cleft and palate anomaly surgery to children around the world. All of her work was done with Rotoplast International Inc. is done entirely without pay. Newton has served on the Board of Directors of Community Christian Concern, the Rainbow Childcare Center, the Northshore Community Foundation and the Slidell Northshore Rotary Club. She was also one of the volunteer coordinators for the 2011 Rotary International Convention that convened over 20,000 volunteers to New Orleans for the purpose of promoting the eradication of polio worldwide and promoting other international peach and charitable goals. She is also an active volunteer for the American Red Cross where she has been a CPR instructor since 1974. As a Red Cross volunteer, Newton worked the midnight to dawn shifts in local evacuation shelters after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For two years, Newton coordinated the delivery of care packages to Slidell men and women in the Armed Services stationed in the Middle East. She is also the recipient of numerous local and international awards. “My husband and I always say that if it’s up to be, it’s up to me. I?look around for positive people to surround myself with. It takes hard work to get where you are,”?Newton said while fighting back tears. “You have to wake up every day and be the person who is...

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Rainbow Childcare opens Parent Lending Library

Rainbow Childcare opens Parent Lending Library

Rainbow Child Care Center in Slidell recently was abuzz with activity as it celebrated the first anniversary of the Rainbow Reads program with the opening of its new Parent Lending Library. Volunteers with the New Orleans Hornets and United Way of Southeast Louisiana and St. Tammany were in each of the center’s seven classrooms to read to the children, play games on the playground and accompany them to pick out a book of their own inside the Hornet’s Buzzin’ for Books van. While the children were enjoying their many visitors, including the Hornets’ mascot, Hugo, another group of volunteers were putting the finishing touches on the more than 400 titles to be made available to Rainbow parents through the new library. Carol Gstohl, vice president of human resources for United Way, said they put cards and folders in the books to prepare them for checkout. Although she wasn’t in the mix with the children, she said, “I can tell the kids are having a ball.” The new lending library will encourage parents to read books to their children by making shelves filled with attractive titles available at the entrance to the center, said Dionne Graham, executive director of East St. Tammany Rainbow Child Care Center. Julie Borsch, Community Investment Development Executive with the Hornets, said volunteers from staff to season ticket holders get involved in the community through its Community Assist Team. They participate in two activities per month, and this was their first time at Rainbow Child Care Center. She said the center’s Rainbow Reads program was a good fit with the Hornets organization. They helped organize outdoor activities at Rainbow Child Care that included hoop shoots and races. The Hornets promote physical fitness and encourage children to live healthy, active lifestyles, while rewarding them with the gift of books, courtesy of the Hornets Bookmobile presented by Shell. “We’re having a wonderful day for literacy,” Borsch said. Shelly Cayette, director of Community Investment said, “We’re community partners with United Way and encourage love of reading for kids. When they told us about Rainbow,” she said they had to be part of the program. Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan and members of the Rainbow Child Care board were on hand for the official ribbon-cutting for the new library. But one supporter that Graham was particularly proud to have at the event was Kimberly Savoy. As a child, Savoy attended Rainbow Child Care and still returns as part of its story time reading program. She regularly donates books and other needed supplies to the center, Graham said. Savoy recently graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in education. “From what I see today, it’s great. The emphasis on reading will...

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