Letter to WSA Members 4/13/10

Joel Ryan, Executive Director of WSA, wrote a letter updating our members on:

  • The state budget
  • State legislative accomplishments in 2010
  • Upcoming advocacy efforts on the federal level
  • New training events
  • WSA's impending move to Bellevue

Click here for the whole thing (pdf)

April 13, 2010

Dear WSA Members:

I want to thank all of the parents, directors, and staff that fought to ensure that despite
the very difficult budget situation in Olympia, funding for early education was
spared. You have probably heard by now that the House and Senate have passed their
compromise budget proposal. It now awaits the Governor’s signature. The budget
includes no cuts to the Working Connections child care program and ECEAP programs
are only being asked to reduce the number of children served by 29 kids. This is an
incredible accomplishment and you should be proud of your work!

We are also grateful for all of your help in moving several major early learning policy
bills forward. In particular, we were delighted to see legislation establishing an
entitlement program for ECEAP signed into law by the Governor as well as a bill
streamlining our child care subsidy system. Without the numerous calls, e-mails,
expert advice, and testimony none of this would have been possible. Please accept our

With our state legislative session finally coming to a close, WSA will now gear up for a
long and difficult fight for Head Start funding. We will be working closely with the Early
Learning Action Alliance (ELAA), our state association partners, and NHSA to help us
secure enough funding for Head Start and Early Head Start to maintain the recent gains
made under the economic recovery act. In addition, you can expect us to help our
members respond to new guidance and regulations from the Office of Head Start which
should be out as soon as the next few weeks.

WSA plans to be very active on the national policy front in two additional areas: 1) the
reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and 2) the
reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant. We have been consulted
several times by key staff on the House Education and Labor Committee, the Senate
HELP Committee, and administration officials. Jill Brenner, from Kitsap Community
Resources, is our point person on ESEA and has done a very nice job educating
policymakers about the P-3 model that has worked so well in the Bremerton school

You may be aware that WSA has recently started convening a quality and training
committee. The quality and training committee, chaired by President-Elect Connie
Mueller, worked very hard to strengthen our professional development
programming. As a result you will see regular webinars on a variety of topics starting
April 20th for a new ‘virtual cluster’ on family engagement, and a 2-part webinar on
fetal alcohol syndrome April 26th and May 3, both of which you can still register for
here. By now you have experienced our terrific Summer Institute which will take
place this year June 28th through June 30th in Ellensburg. Katy is hard at work rounding up the top of line speakers for this conference which has grown in popularity. We are
also adding two additional training conferences to our offerings. This November we will
host the first Management/Leadership Institute. This institute is envisioned as an
intensive professional development opportunity for first time and new supervisors. In
April 2011 we will be launching the Spring Institute – think Summer Institute but for
health, social services, fiscal, and parent engagement staff. At each of these events we
will offer you high level training that can be implemented in your program. CEUs and
Clock hours will be available to all those in attendance. These two new events will
mean that WSA will now offer members 8 professional development, leadership, and
networking opportunities each year plus regular webinars. And as has been the
practice, the price of attendance will be economical and we will not raise the price of
your WSA or WSTC dues. Please see the attached WSTC calendar for dates and times
of conferences.

As part of our work plan for 2010 we will be revamping our web site to make it even
easier to use. We hope to make our professional development sections a bit smoother
to navigate and with additional information. Our new intern will be helping us improve
our social networking opportunities including the creation of the WSA Facebook page—
which will allow our members to connect with one another on pertinent topics and share

We are happy to report that our work with Parent Ambassadors continues to pay huge
dividends for our members. Not only are parents receiving high quality advocacy and
leadership training, but as this legislative session is any indication, we are getting real
results. The Peppercorn Foundation which supports our Parent Ambassadors Program
(recently featured on KING 5) is so excited about our work that they have invited us to
reapply for funding on an earlier cycle.

Katy and I want to learn more about the work of local programs. Our goal is to come
out and visit with as many folks as possible. If you are interested in hosting us at your
program please contact Katy at Katy@wsaheadstarteceap.com. We are also available
to come out and talk with your staff and parents about WSA and the impact of the
various early learning bills passed this year in Olympia.

Finally, we want to let you know that as of April 23rd we are moving to a new
location. Our new space is a bit bigger and will give WSA a chance to grow and
expand in the coming years. You will be able to find us at 345 118th Avenue SE, Suite
220, Bellevue, WA 98005. Our new phone number will be (425) 453-1227.

Joel M. Ryan
Executive Director
Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP

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