In The Know May 2021

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WHAT’S NEW? May 2021 Updates


Our centers are growing! We are currently hiring for a Maintenance Tech. This year-round position is perfect for someone passionate about keeping students safe and our spaces functioning and beautiful.

In addition to the Maintenance Tech position, we’ll be hiring for five bus driver positions, six center staff positions, and an ECE Coach position.

We will open positions again in mid-June and be ready to interview at the end of July.


Please welcome Dave Steinberg to the Transportation Department. He is our new substitute bus driver. Dave earned his CDL in December 2020. This was no small feat. While training behind-the-wheel, he simultaneously delivered food for the Lacey Center. You’ll now see Dave supporting the Friendly Grove Center as their bus driver. His strong work ethic and reliability will benefit our program.


Charro Vatne has resigned.


Don’t forget to review the e-alerts for May 2021.

Learn more about fiscal and administrative flexibilities in the April 14 Information Memorandum from the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, “Updated Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Fiscal and Administrative Flexibilities.

You are champions for our students and their families, but the emotional weight you carry from the work you do can start to feel overwhelming. This month, take the time to implement self-care strategies that help prevent compassion fatigue. Read more in “Preventing Compassion Fatigue: Caring for Yourself.

WHAT’S NEW In Education?



  • May 14: Gold Checkpoints due
  • May 28: Center Conference #2 due


  • Turn in Observation Checklist – Classroom (E 08) to your Center Director


  • Observations entered into Gold
  • Lesson plan submission to your Center Director
  • Classroom Use Team Meeting Agenda (E 40)
  • Active supervision training


  • Daily attendance
  • Daily transition checklist (30-minute face-to-name count)


  • Follow up on education/mental health concerns, make IEP referrals

Making our list & checking it twice!

Make sure each of these items are on your checklist this month.


Now that children are back in the classroom, it is important to maximize outdoor play opportunities. Below are five ideas for outdoor play from Head Start Body Start:

  • BOOM DRUMS: Use plastic barrels or buckets of whatever size you want. Bolt them to the ground or not and let kids bang on them. Instructions for all of these enhancements can be found in Rusty Keeler’s book, Natural Playscapes. A 26-page excerpt, including the above Do-It-Yourself Playscape Projects can be found at Earthplay.
  • LOOSE PARTS: Use blocks, boards, “tree cookies” (log slices), and milk crates for outdoor construction play. Give children chalk, fabric, paintbrushes, or water for enhanced imaginative play.
  • BUILD A VINE TEPEE: Add a hideaway to children’s playspace and naturalize their outdoor environment. Do-It Yourself instructions can be found at Natural Learning Initiative.
  • COLOR: Brighten and create a welcoming environment by adding painted rocks, mosaic stepping stones, windsocks or pinwheels to your playspace.
  • RECYCLED MATERIALS: Use your imagination. Add some cardboard boxes or pipes for construction play. Add tins, buckets, or bottles for children to bang on to create music and movement opportunities.

Check out the Nature-Based Learning video and Our Natural World activities from ECLKC. The “Light” study in the GOLD digital library is a great start for outdoor investigation ideas.

WHAT’S NEW In Family Service and ERSEA?


A large focus should be placed on kindergarten transition. The year of COVID has presented many challenges, and will continue as families get ready for the big transition. Remember, relationships are the key to successful conferences.

As you prepare and plan for each individual conference, consider the following:

  • What is going on with the family?
  • What support do they need?
  • What information is pertinent to each family?
  • What will happen? What do you need to do before, during, and after the conference?
  • What do you need to get ready?


The transition to kindergarten is challenging for many of our families. As you prepare to support our students in this transition, consider reading through the following resources:


Do your families have school-aged children eligible for free or reduced lunch? Have they been receiving additional EBT benefits? Check out the FAQ section and more of the OSPI Pandemic EBT Guidance for School Districts to see if they qualify and/or there is information to share with families.

Note: Flyers available in several languages at the same sites

For questions or further support, contact Anne Rothert at [email protected].

WHAT’S NEW In Health, Nutrition, and Safety?


It is time to prepare your files for archiving! Please see the updated Procedure 100 document for more information.

If you haven’t already, you will receive Summer Safety packets to send to families in June. Please email for a digital copy if you need to print additional copies.

Many classrooms will be spending extra time outdoors. If you’re looking for an activity to
get kids moving and learning, try Choosy’s Mystery Movement from Choosy Kids.


  • USDA Attendance and Point of Service Meal Counts are due by May 5. Please use ChildPlus Report 2315 for point of service meal counts in the classroom.
  • Hybrid Meal Delivery Tracking forms need to be uploaded into ChildPlus at the end of each month. If you do not have the most updated form, please email the Food Service Coordinator. Forms can be customized to make meal distribution tracking easier. Please contact me if you would like assistance.
  • Working Menus and kitchen documentation need to be sent into the Central Office Attn: Patricia by May 5. These include:
    • Cooking & Reheating Log
    • Food Surface Sanitizing Log
    • Cooling Temperature Log
    • Refrigeration Temperature Log
    • Receiving Logs
  • Kitchen Opening/Closing Checklists must be reviewed by your supervisor prior to submitting to the central office.
  • Center management staff, please complete your monthly monitoring and turn in your Food Safety Checklist before May 20.
  • USDA Enrollment Forms must be completed on all new enrollments. Be sure the form is complete and signed by the parent. Don’t forget to upload this into the enrollment attachment section of ChildPlus.
  • Food Plans need to be signed off on before a child can attend in person. Food plans must be provided in the kitchen prior to the first day a child is in attendance to ensure we have the food to accommodate.
  • Return to in-person service meals look different than family-style meals. If you have questions about how your meal service should look, how to plate meals to meet USDA compliance, or need training for your staff, please email the Food Service Coordinator.


Each month the Nutrition Services program will feature a fruit or vegetable that is harvested in Washington for that month.

May is a month for colorful produce; we will be featuring beets and watermelon radishes during the month of May.


Watermelon radishes are available year-round with peak seasons in the spring and fall. The watermelon flesh is white closest to the exterior becoming pink to magenta as you get closer to the middle of the root. Both the root and greens are an excellent source of Vitamin C. They can be served fresh or cooked, hot or cold. The flavor of a watermelon radish is mild and sweet, but not as sweet as watermelon!

Learn the radish basics and use this radish video to connect the classroom and home. More resources are available at


Beets come in a variety of colors including yellow, white, red, and candy-striped (Chioggia Beets). Beets are delicious roasted, baked into chips, or served raw as sticks or thinly sliced.

Learn the beet basics and use this beet video to connect the classroom and home. More resources are available at

Look for your center cook to include beets and watermelon radishes on the menu throughout the month of May.

As the weather is improving, there is more opportunity for children and parents to get outside and explore their surroundings. Some families may choose to get their hands in the dirt and start planting gardens, and others may just be looking to go out to a park, go for a walk, or just stretch their legs. The Vroom Outdoor Adventure guides (in English and Spanish) offer dozens of activities for students and families.

Encourage families to incorporate more outdoor play into their lives, because:

Playing outdoors helps children develop resilience, self-confidence, initiative, creativity and more. It encourages the joy of movement; it nurtures wild imaginations, experimentation, friendships, social connections, and behavior. Please send these flyers out to families and encourage them to get out and about.


Do you have an interest in helping shape our food and nutrition program for the upcoming year? If you answered yes, then you should consider joining SNAC! The commitment is three meetings per year in the fall, winter, and spring. The intent of the committee is to help establish goals, review curriculum, give menu input, and test new products. If you are interested in joining the committee, please connect with your center director who will forward your information to the Food Services Coordinator. Spring Meeting Monday, May 24 | 1:30–3 pm | Held via Zoom

WHAT’S NEW In Mental Health? 


  • DECA-p2 will be done by families when enrolling or during the first home visit.
  • If we go back to full-time, in-person services, teachers will do the teacher DECA-p2 after the child is in class for 4 weeks.
  • Mental Health Specialists are here to offer support on accessing the e-DECA web platform, difficulties with inputting DECA-p2 scores, and supporting teachers with strategies reports to share with parents/caregivers.
  • Please outreach to your MHS for added support if you are falling behind on your e-DECA data collection and input. We are available for refresher training on how to find the DECA strategies that are appropriate for individualizing. Individualizing for areas of need on the DECA is a requirement. To individualize, you will use the DECA strategies from the e-DECA site. 

For more information about DECA administration, please see the DECA Procedure. 


  • Second Step and CPU will be done weekly following the Second Step schedule. Second Step Module training will be done at the center. Your logins for Second Step and CPU are on the inside cover of your Second Step book. Home links will be sent home with educational packets. 


  • Please let families know that they can get Mental Health Specialist support for family needs, not just child behavior needs! We are here for them! To start this process, please have the family fill out an A77 with your center’s assigned MHS’s name on it. 


  • Time to start thinking about creating step-by-step visuals and social stories for all the teaching we have in front of us. Marin and Marian are here to support centers and classrooms in the creation of social stories.
  • Social Stories for wearing a mask are available by request, as well as for how we will eat once back at the centers.
  • Share your ideas for social stories and needs around social stories with your Center Director and MHS. Center Directors have access to Boardmaker to support individual student needs. Mental Health Specialists will support Social Stories for program-based needs and the needs of students on Behavior Support Plans.



  • Follow all PBIS checklists beforeclassroom opening. Follow through after the classroom opens.
  • Send PBIS at home letter with family meeting and at-home PBIS matrix. Explain to the family how to use the resource.


  • First, track concerning behaviors for 2 weeks with support from Center Director.
  • Then, receive support from Center Director and Educational Coach on individualizing.
  • Finally, ask parent/caregiver to sign A-77 and fill out MH-01 to send to Mental Health Specialist. 


  • Implement BSP and monitor the behavior.
  • Request support from MHS and center director to clarify any difficulties you are having with implementing the BSP.
  • Hold monthly meeting with MHS, parent/ caregiver, and center director to discuss successes and difficulties with the team. Make any plans necessary. Implement any new changes in the plan. 


  • Plan individualized support based on DECA scores, using DECA strategies for each child with needs, weekly. Document in lesson plan with child initials by the activity. 


  • Second Step and CPU will be sent home with Home Links with families.
  • Sensory activities within the universal curriculum sent home weekly.
  • Connecting Parent/Caregivers with MHS when family has needs. Sign A-77 before referral.
  • Request support with DECA Individualization from CD when you need support with individualization.