September 2015

Tara Laxer
September 15, 2015







The Early Learning Coalition is incredibly proud to provide
Palm Beach County’s families with information and community resources
to meet all your early learning and child care needs at a variety of
new community-based locations including our Riviera Beach office,
located at 2051 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite 300, Riviera Beach, FL 33404.



Our other community-based locations are in West Palm Beach and Belle Glade at the following addresses:

3111 S. Dixie Highway
Suite 142
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

401 SE 2nd Street
Belle Glade, FL 33430

Families/Parents can make an appointment to meet one-on-one with one of the Coalition’s Family Services Specialists. We also invite you to view our website at ELCPALMBEACH.ORG, where you can complete applications online for both programs: Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) and School Readiness. Please click the green text on the top of any Coalition website page: ‘Click here to apply for VPK and School Readiness services’ and you will be directed to the all-new, online “Family Portal” created by the Office of Early Learning (OEL).


The Coalition’s Family Services and Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Departments

Our teams are working hard to ensure the families/parents of Palm Beach County are able to acquire information and resources to meet all their early learning and child care needs. Just last Friday alone, these teams spearheaded an open enrollment event and were able to enroll approximately 400 children in the state-wide Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program!


Online Assessment Tool: Teaching Strategies GOLD (TS-GOLD)

Roll-Out to Early Head Start (EHS) Expansion Grant Child Care Providers

Early Head Start

The Early Head Start and Family Services teams have partnered to enroll families eligible for both School Readiness and Early Head Start into the Coalition’s Early Head Start program. A unique quality of this grant is its focus on enrolling dually-funded children who qualify for both Early Head Start and Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Scholarships. 


At the beginning of Hurricane season, we sent out our newly completed Early Head Start Emergency Planning Guide.  The guide serves as a foundation piece for each participating child care provider’s own emergency plan and is based on Head Start guidance from the federal level.


We have set our training calendar for the 2015/16 Fiscal Year and we will gather with the participating child care providers to train them on various topics including the Early Head Start standards, partnering with parents, classroom interactions and instruction, child abuse and neglect reporting, and first aid/CPR re-certification.


We are also in the process of recruiting family members to participate actively via parent meetings and as part of our Policy Council.  One of the key pieces of the grant, for Early Head Start and Head Start programs alike, is the leadership and valuable insight that is provided by the participating families and we are excited to deepen our work in this area.


Teaching Strategies GOLD (TS-GOLD)

The TS-GOLD assessment program in Palm Beach County is currently working with 116 child care providers who are collecting observations for over 4,000 children.  The online observation and documentation system through TS-GOLD starts at birth and continues through VPK, so a child’s progress in learning and development can be celebrated from the very first day they begin their early learning experience.  Dr. Barbara Becraft, Assistant Director of Assessment, has been leading the Assessment team and recently presented the work being done in Palm Beach County at the One Goal conference in Tampa, sharing our journey and experiences to date.  Congratulations to Dr. ‘B’ and her phenomenal team for all their hard work!


Early Learning Coalition



Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce


The Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County was so pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the “Preventing Florida Brain Drain” event by the Central Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce. The new Superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach County, Dr. Robert Avossa, addressed a crowd over 400 people when he discussed his own background of struggle and triumph and the need to invest in our children at every level. The Coalition’s Chief Executive Office, Mr. Warren Eldridge, moderated the event with key educational and business leaders including Ms. Kelly Smallridge of the Business Development Board, Mr. David Lawrence, Chair of the Children’s Movement, Ms. Christina Lambert, President/CEO of the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, Mr. Tony Carvajal, Executive Vice President at the Florida Chamber Foundation, and Ms. Kimberly Lea, President of Keiser University.

Check out all the amazing work from the various organizations represented at the event!


Business and Development Board


Children’s Movement


Education Foundation of Palm Beach County


Florida Chamber of Commerce


Keiser College




Center State Bank’s School Supply Drive

The Coalition is grateful to the Boca Raton’s branch of the Center State Bank for collecting much needed school supplies over the past month. This helped some of our families as their children headed back to school in August. The bank collected several items including notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, etc. The supplies were distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at our new community-based locations. 


Cory Bell, President and fantastic staff!


Legislative Delegation


The first of many Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation meetings took place at Palm Beach State College (PBSC), where County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger welcomed the delegation members and presenters to the first of many hearings. In addition, Dr. Ava Parker, Palm Beach State College President also welcomed the community to the facility and discussed the college’s priorities for the upcoming session.  Chair of Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation Lori Berman gave her farewell speech to the crowd as she passes along the title to the incoming chair, State Representative Marilyn Hager.  We congratulate them both!

The Early Learning Coalition (Coalition) and Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County (CSC) presented their 2015-2016 legislative priorities to state elected officials on Wednesday, September 9, 2015. Mr. Warren Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition, discussed the restoration of School Readiness funding to 2001-2002 state and federal levels to assist the hard working families of our county who currently wait for services. There are an estimated 58,000 children on the wait list throughout the state of Florida. In addition, the Coalition emphasized aligning Florida law with the federal government’s Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) reauthorization requirements. Mr. Eldridge offered the delegation members to join us in visiting some of the local child care providers in the upcoming year.

Dr. Lisa Williams-Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of CSC, spoke in detail how to best maximize spending per pupil with high-quality early child care. She discussed the need to enhance the statewide School Readiness Program, which provides approximately 225,000 children of low-income families with early learning opportunities that support children’s development and families’ economic stability. In Palm Beach County, between 10,000 and 12,000 children are included.

To learn more about the Palm Beach County Delegation hearing schedule please click the following link:




The Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County’s Early Head Start Partnership grant was selected by the Girl Scout of Southeast Florida to be one of many recipients for their “Baby Basics Infant Supply Drive” in the month of October 2015. The Girl Scouts will earn community service hours for their work in the community. More information coming soon!





Article of Interest

JetBlue Book Vending Machines Dispense Free Kids’ Books in D.C. Neighborhood

Check out the video!

Seven-year-old Iyana George loves to read, but in her southeast Washington, D.C., neighborhood, finding books is not so easy.

A recent study commissioned by JetBlue found that, in this neighborhood, there’s just one age-appropriate book for sale for every 830 children.

Despite that, Iyana has managed to amass quite the book collection. She tells ABC News that she got her books “from the vending machine.”

As part of JetBlue’s “Soar With Reading” initiative, three book vending machines were placed at three different locations around the Anacostia neighborhood in July. The machines dispense kids' books for free.

The program has donated 16,000 books in the community, and has committed to giving out 84,000 more.

The program has many fans at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church.

“We're reading books that are in the vending machine, so now they can take that book home and read it over and over again … and it's just wonderful,” Shelley Hudson, the church’s first lady, said.

Literacy experts say that owning the books can inspire children to read more.

While the vending machines are in the neighborhood temporarily, JetBlue hopes its experiment will inspire local business to start selling more children’s books.

“I know we're making an impact in the community,” said Icema Gibbs, JetBlue’s director of social responsibility.

JetBlue is in the process of selecting the next community for its book vending machines.





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Special Notice: If you require Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations to participate in any ELCPBC event or activity, please notify Christie Young, Single Point of Contact, by phone at 561-214-7424 or by email at within at least seven (7) days of the event.  Accommodations will be provided at no extra charge.