The Importance of Kindergarten
Connie Hall is a Kindergarten teacher in Sparks, Nevada and was named the 2023 Nevada State Teacher of the Year, the 2019 Certified Employee of the Year for Washoe County School District and has received two Certificates of Commendation from United States (Nevada) Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Minor in Common Core State Standards from Concordia University-Portland in Portland, Oregon. In addition to teaching, Hall serves on the school Leadership Team, is the Director of Comprehensive Children’s Activities: Global Coordination & Early Childhood Interest for Messages of Hope International Ministries, serves on the Nevada State Superintendent’s Teacher Advisor Cabinet, is a Nevada Kindergarten Think Tank member, and Washoe County Early Childhood Advisory Council member.
Supporting Children and Families
Toni Whitaker, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics and the Division Chief of Developmental Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. She directs the UTHSC Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and serves as consultant and Ambassador to Tennessee for CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program.
Supporting State Systems of Early Childhood
Dr. Wendy Grove is the director of the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness at the Ohio Department of Education, where she helps develop and implement policies for preschool special education and early childhood education. Wendy earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from Gonzaga University, a master’s degree in sociology from Portland State University, and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Akron. Dr. Grove has a wide range of experience teaching experience, from preschool students, to middle school students in special education, to undergraduate and medical students.
Fanica Young, Julianna Kim, and Danica Moise
We invite you to read our interviews with Fanica Young, Julianna Kim, and Danica Moise, doctoral scholars and former OSEP interns. They each share what brought them to the field and how their doctoral programs have shaped their practice.
Kara Georgi is a parent to two children in New York and is a Member of the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance Birth Parent National Network. She is an Alliance Certified Trainer for the Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work.
What do you remember most about your experiences with early intervention?
Early Intervention was a game changer for me and my family. It was where I got the help and support I needed most for helping my child with some of the challenges we were facing. The best part is we went from being strangers to a family team to working to build on strengths and skills for long term success for not only for my child, but for us as parents too.
B. Gerard Woodrich is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Approved Clinical Supervisor. He obtained his Master of Social Work degree from Southern University, New Orleans, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge. Mr. Woodrich specializes in treating depression and trauma-based anxiety due to emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. His greatest passion is centered around helping young African American males and at-risk youth using innovative and relatable techniques.
Katherine (Katy) Neas, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Education
Sherry Lachman, Associate Director for Education, Income Maintenance and Labor, White House Office of Management and Budget
Bert Wyman, Program Examiner, White House Office of Management and Budget
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to improving the lives of young children with disabilities and their families. We are working to ensure that every child who needs individualized and high-quality early intervention services receives them as early as possible. We have called on Congress to double funding for these services and we have made strategic investments to expand the number of early intervention providers, including in underserved communities. We are also developing user-friendly resources and technical assistance on expanding access to early intervention for early childhood state and local administrators and service providers, families, and advocates. As part of this effort, on December 14, the Department of Education, in partnership with the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, hosted a webinar where we released informational guides for early childhood stakeholders to promote innovative and effective strategies for identifying and serving all children eligible for early intervention services.
Sadia Batool is a physician with a current focus on supporting families and professionals in Early Childhood Systems. Her passion for Early Childhood systems stems from her personal experience of receiving life changing early intervention services for her daughter with autism.
October is Learning Disabilities / Dyslexia / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month.
By: Eliza Young
Disability is a broad term that may seem hard to define. There are the medical definitions and the legal definitions, but what matters to me is how my disabled community defines disability.
Who can be included in the disabled community? What unites all disabled people? The answer, like for most communities, is a set of shared experiences of the world.
Note: October is Learning Disabilities / Dyslexia / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month.
By Kristin Kane
October is a great month for awareness, some impressive groups come together this month to share information about a specific issue. At the heart of it is a goal that helps others understand why the issue is important and why we should pay attention. Raising awareness can take different forms, but it is the connection of people that brings meaning to why a community raises awareness.
This month is Dyslexia/LD/ADHD Awareness Month, and I had the honor of sitting down with Resha Conroy, a parent of a child with Dyslexia. She is also a member of the National Center on Improving Literacy Family Engagement Advisory Board and has started her own non-profit, Dyslexia Alliance for Black Children