DECAL Download

By Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

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Your source for news and information from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. You will hear from Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs and special guests to give you an update on all things DECAL.

Episode Date
Episode 56 - Virtual Town Hall with Governor Brian Kemp and Dr. Kathleen Toomey
2487

On Tuesday, August 11, DECAL held a special Virtual Town Hall webinar on COVID-19 for Georgia child care providers and advocates featuring Governor Brian Kemp and Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.  This was an opportunity for child care providers to hear directly from state leaders and ask their questions as many programs reopen and return for school.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Aug 11, 2020
Episode 55 - COVID Considerations in Returning to School
2366

Who’s ready for Back to School?  From virtual at-home learning to in-person classroom instruction and everything in between.  But this year, it’s about more than backpacks and notebook paper, it’s asking if your child is socially and emotionally prepared for school in the age of COVID-19.  Joining us to talk about COVID Considerations in returning to school is Allison O’Hara, Program Director of Inclusion and Behavior Support, with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, and Cheryl Benefield, Program Manager for Safe and Supportive Schools with the Georgia Department of Education.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Aug 05, 2020
Episode 54 - After School Programs and CACFP Afterschool Meals
1660

While parents are at work, many of Georgia’s children spend time in afterschool programs. These programs offer a safe and supportive environment with structured activities and good nutrition. As schools begin to reopen with in-person and virtual learning options, afterschool programs are also developing plans to successfully and safely welcome back students.

Katie Landes, director of the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network joins us today to talk about how these critical afterschool programs are preparing to re-start operations. Tamika Boone, DECAL’s Director of Nutrition Services is also here. She will talk about how many of these afterschool  programs can add a nutritional component to ensure that our most vulnerable children have access to the nutrition they need to thrive.

 

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jul 29, 2020
Episode 53 - Car Seat Invention Prevents Hot Car Deaths
908

Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs talks with 12 year-old Lydia Denton inventor of a car seat device that detects when babies have been left in a hot car. Lydia is joined her mom, Covie Denton who is a science and math teacher.

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Jul 24, 2020
Episode 52 - Guidance for 2020-2021 Georgia's Pre-K Program
2160

Classes in Georgia’s Pre-K Program have been closed since March due to COVID-19.  Teachers and students utilized distance learning to finish out the year.  Now, plans are underway to reopen Pre-K this fall, balancing quality learning with health and safety.  Joining us to talk about plans for reopening Georgia’s Pre-K Program is Susan Adams, Deputy Commissioner for Georgia’s Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports; Dr. Caitlin Dooley, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning with the Georgia Department of Education; and Sharon Foster, owner of Bells Ferry Learning Center in Woodstock, who operates three Georgia’s Pre-K Program classes.

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Jul 14, 2020
Episode 51 - Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning
1556

Last April, a $250,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta allowed our Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning to assist essential workers and child care providers during COVID-19.  Joining us to talk about the grant, part of the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Recovery and Response Fund, is Carrie Ashbee, Executive Director of the Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jul 08, 2020
Episode 50 - Special: WSB Radio Interview with Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs
329

Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs is interviewed by Scott Slade for WSB Radio's Atlanta's Morning News about this year's Look Again campaign.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jul 01, 2020
Episode 49 - Look Again 2020
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For the seventh consecutive year, DECAL is calling for families and caregivers to increase awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles.  This year’s Look Again campaign is held in conjunction with National Heatstroke Prevention Day, recognized nationally on July 1, 2020, which urges Americans to understand how to prevent pediatric vehicular heatstroke.  Joining us to talk about ways to prevent pediatric vehicular heatstroke is Rhonda Parker, Child Care Services Director of Field Operations, and Dr. Andrew Grundstein, a Professor of Geography at the University of Georgia.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jun 30, 2020
Episode 48 - CCS Virtual Visits
1896

Each year, DECAL’s Child Care Services consultants conduct more than 14,500 visits to more than 4,500 licensed child care programs in Georgia to ensure they are caring for children in safe, healthy, and nurturing environments.  But when COVID-19 hit Georgia in March and the number of open child care programs dropped to 30-percent the scope of those visits changed.  Here to talk about Virtual Visits in Georgia Child Care Programs is Pam Stevens, Deputy Commissioner for Child Care Services, and Directors of CCS Field Operations Dana Morrison and Rhonda Parker. 

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jun 24, 2020
Episode 47 - Summer Food Service Program
1495

As school districts across Georgia announced system-wide closures to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, many families and advocates were concerned that children who rely on schools to provide healthy meals would be deprived of critically needed nutrition. DECAL’s Nutrition Services works year-round to mitigate food insecurity among Georgia’s children through the Child and Adult Food Service Program and the Summer Food Service Program. Joining us to talk about how the division is helping to ensure that the most vulnerable children continue to have access to meals during the pandemic is Tamika Boone, Director of Nutrition Services, and Cindy Kicklighter, Manager of Nutrition Marketing and Outreach. 

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jun 17, 2020
Episode 46 - Special: Georgia Focus from Georgia News Network
1560
Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs talks with Host John Clark about the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and current issues facing early child care and education in Georgia.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jun 16, 2020
Episode 45 - Path2College 529 Plan "My Life's Dream" Challenge
1692

It’s never too early to be thinking about your child’s college education.  Even if your child is in one of Georgia’s licensed family childcare learning homes, child care learning centers, or Georgia’s Pre-K Program.  And now, here’s something fun to do with the kids that could entertain and help secure their future!  It’s called "My Life’s Dream" Challenge and here to talk about it is Mitch Seabaugh, Executive Director of the Path2College 529 Plan.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jun 10, 2020
Episode 44 - Summer Transition Program
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For the eleventh year, DECAL is offering a Summer Transition Program for students preparing to enter Georgia’s Pre-K Program and Kindergarten.  However, this year, the program will be a little different due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.  Joining us to talk about the Summer Transition Program is Jackie Shivers, Director of Quality Support for Georgia’s Pre-K Program, and Meghan McNail, Summer Transition Program and Outreach Manager.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jun 03, 2020
Episode 43 - Reopening Child Care in Georgia
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With many businesses reopening here in Georgia, the need for child care is on the rise so parents and families can return to their jobs.  Family Child Care Learning Homes and Child Care Learning Centers are operating under some strict guidelines that include smaller class sizes, temperature checks at the door, and meals served in classrooms. Joining us to discuss the child care comeback and what parents can expect is Dana Morrison, Director of Field Operations in our Child Care Services Division, Melissa Herndon, Southeast Regional Manager for Child Care Services, and Nadia Davis, a parent to two children enrolled with Primrose Alpharetta East. 

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

May 27, 2020
Episode 42 - Toddler Time At Home
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The age-old expression says, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  That was the case in April when schools and many child care programs closed due to COVID-19 and families moved to online learning for their children.  Here at DECAL, we introduced Georgia’s Pre-K At Home for four and five year olds, and Toddler Time At Home for children 12 to 36 months old.  Joining us to talk about Toddler Time At Home is Bridget Ratajczak, Child and Family Development Supervisor here at DECAL, along with Tiffany Grindle, one of our Infant Toddler Specialists.  Also two parents, Dr. Dana Rickman, mom to 3-year-old twins Alexandra and Riley, from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and Randy Hudgins, dad to 8-month-old Everett, and also Director of Research in our Quality Innovations and Partnerships Division.  

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May 20, 2020
Episode 41 - Planning for the Child Care Comeback
2221

Across the nation, COVID-19 has taken its toll on the childcare industry…either shutting down programs completely or reducing enrollment capacity due to CDC and health department requirements.  Now many programs here in Georgia are gradually reopening and trying to determine how best to use federal aid issued through the CARES Act.  To assist these programs, DECAL and Quality Care for Children have been hosting a series of webinars to help with financial success after COVID-19 and guidance on using the CARES funding.  Joining us to talk about the webinars and some important advice for childcare programs is Monique Reynolds, Director of Early Childhood Education Business Support Services with Quality Care for Children, and Laura Wagner, Community Outreach and Partnership Director for Quality Innovations and Partnerships here at DECAL.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

May 12, 2020
Episode 40 - Special: WSB Radio Interview with Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs
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Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs is interviewed by Scott Slade for WSB Radio's Atlanta's Morning News.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

May 11, 2020
Episode 39 - STABLE Payments and CAPS Essential Service Workforce
1973

Last Friday was a big day in our efforts to help Georgia child care providers and families respond to the impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.  Beginning May 1, all licensed Georgia child care providers are invited to apply for STABLE payments. These payments represent the first phase of administering $144 million Georgia received under the federal CARES Act.  Also on Friday, we opened up Tier Two of the CAPS Essential Services Workforce to include those who work within the food supply chain like grocery stores, farming, and food delivery and pick-up.  Joining us is Elisabetta Kasfir, Deputy Commissioner for Georgia’s CAPS Program, and Woody Dover, Enterprise Project Management Director here at DECAL.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

May 06, 2020
Episode 38 - Georgia's Pre-K At Home
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On April 1, as part of the Public Health State of Emergency, Georgia’s public elementary and secondary schools…including Georgia’s Pre-K Program…were closed for the remainder of the year.  That left many families scrambling to continue their child’s learning at home.  To assist families through these challenging times, DECAL launched Georgia’s Pre-K At Home.  Joining us to talk about Georgia’s Pre-K At Home and our efforts to stay connected with students and families in Georgia’s Pre-K Program is Faith Duncan, Director of Field Operations, with three of our Pre-K Specialists: Allison Morrison, Devon Porter, and Jill Vandenbos.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Apr 29, 2020
Episode 37 - Balancing Work, Life, and School during COVID-19
2401

Families have always helped with homework and supervised chores around the house, but the new world of the COVID-19 Coronavirus with its Shelter in Place orders have presented new challenges for children and parents alike.  Joining us to talk about how to co-exist in this new normal…minus any blowups and tantrums…is Allison O’Hara, Program Director for the Inclusion and Behavior Support Program here at DECAL. 

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Apr 22, 2020
Episode 36 - Special: Commissioner Jacobs talks with WABE's Martha Dalton about child care programs open during COVID-19
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Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs talks with WABE's Martha Dalton about Georgia child care programs who are open and serving children and families during COVID-19.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Apr 20, 2020
Episode 35 - COVID-19 and Georgia's CAPS Program
1941

Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services, or CAPS Program, provides scholarships to help with the cost of child care so parents can work or attend school.  The program not only helps families navigate their children’s early years, but also connects families with resources to help them become self-sufficient.  With many child care learning centers and family child care learning homes closed due to COVID-19, many CAPS families and providers have been impacted.  Joining us to talk about CAPS and the impact of COVID-19 during the Public Health State of Emergency here in Georgia is Elisabetta Kasfir, Deputy Commissioner for the CAPS Program.    

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Apr 15, 2020
Episode 34 - Special: Commissioner Jacobs talks with Tim Bryant on WGAU Radio Athens
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Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs is interviewed by WGAU Radio's Tim Bryant about the impact of COVID-19 on Georgia child care learning centers and family child care learning homes.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Apr 09, 2020
Episode 33 - COVID-19 impact on Georgia Child Care Programs
1993

An episode recorded Tuesday, April 7, 2020, during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Crisis and Public Health Emergency here in Georgia.  Here at DECAL, we are practicing social distancing and working from our homes.  We are also under a Statewide Shelter in Place Order from Governor Brian P. Kemp that runs through Friday, April 13.  Our special guest is Pam Stevens, Deputy Commissioner of Child Care Services. 

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Apr 08, 2020
Episode 32 - Special: Georgia's Pre-K At Home on Good Day Atlanta
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Deputy Commissioner of Georgia's Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports Susan Adams is interviewed by Good Day Atlanta's Katie Beasley on the popular program seen weekday mornings on WAGA-TV (FOX) 5 Atlanta.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Apr 03, 2020
Episode 31 - Dr. Meghan McBride, Georgia Piedmont Technical College
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Georgia’s CAPS Program provides scholarships to help with the cost of child care so parents can work or attend school.  The program not only helps families navigate their children’s early years, but also connects families with resources to help them become self-sufficient.  Today we talk with someone who has participated in this program from GED to PhD.  She's Dr. Meghan McBride, Dean of Adult Education at Georgia Piedmont Technical College.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Apr 01, 2020
Episode 30 - Children's Oral Health
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According to Attendance Works, a national organization that addresses chronic school absenteeism, persistent dental pain, along with related trouble eating and sleeping, makes oral health one of the leading causes of chronic school absenteeism among young students. Among school-age children, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease, five times more prevalent than asthma! Joining us to talk about the importance of dental health among our youngest learners is Dr. Adam Barefoot, Director of Oral Health with the Georgia Department of Public Health; Allison Setterlind, Director of the Head Start Collaboration Office; and Kim Tillman, Health Services Manager for Easter Seals of North Georgia.    

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Mar 25, 2020
Episode 29 - Special: WSB Radio interview with Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs
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Searching for high quality child care can be a daunting experience.  Add a pandemic like COVID-19 and the search can be even more of a challenge.  DECAL says while many child care programs have temporarily closed as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, many are still open and available to serve children and families in all corners of the state.  DECAL encourages families searching for child care to visit www.qualityrated.org or call 1-877-ALL-GA-KIDS for assistance.  They are also working with child care advocates to assist families in their search.  Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs talks with WSB Radio's Scott Slade on Atlanta's Morning News.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Mar 20, 2020
Episode 28 - Registration for Georgia's Pre-K Program 2020-2021
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In many parts of Georgia, it’s time to register your child for the 2020-2021 school year in Georgia’s Pre-K Program.  The purpose of Georgia’s Pre-K Program is to prepare children for success in Kindergarten and later school years.  Pre-K programs usually operate on the regular school system calendar for the length of a typical school day and are offered at local public schools or through private providers of preschool services.  Joining us to talk about registering for Georgia’s Pre-K Program is Jackie Shivers, Director of Pre-K Quality Support, and Faith Duncan, Director of Pre-K Field Operations.  Ladies, welcome to the podcast.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Mar 18, 2020
Episode 27 - Our Response to COVID-19 Coronavirus in Georgia
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From the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, this is a special edition of DECAL Download: COVID-19 Coronavirus in Georgia and DECAL’s response.  Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs and Chief Communications Officer Reg Griffin host our special coverage with Deputy Commissioner for Georgia’s Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports Susan Adams, Deputy Commissioner for CAPS Elisabetta Kasfir, Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administration Rian Ringsrud, and Child Care Services Director of Policy and Enforcement April Rogers.  We also talk with Jamie Rechkemmer, VP of Education and Quality with Childcare Network, site of the first Georgia teacher in a child care setting testing positive for COVID-19.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Mar 16, 2020
Episode 26 - 2020 Summer Food Service Program
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It may be March, but our Nutrition Team has their mind on Summer and the need for eligible organizations to serve healthy meals to children when school is not in session.  Last year we served over 4.8 million meals across Georgia, but the need is always growing.  Joining us to talk about the Summer Food Service Program and how your organization can play an important role is Tamika Boone, Director of Nutrition Services, and Cindy Kicklighter, Manager of Nutrition Marketing and Outreach.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Mar 11, 2020
Episode 25 - Path from Pre-K to College Sweepstakes
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It’s never too early to be thinking about your child’s college education, even if your child is four years old!  That’s the idea behind the Path from Pre-K to College Sweepstakes happening during March and sponsored by DECAL, Path2College 529 Plan and the Georgia Student Finance Commission.  Four lucky Pre-K students will be randomly selected to win $1,529 and give a little boost to their college tuition.  Here to talk about the sweepstakes is Mitch Seabaugh, Executive Director of the Path2College 529 Plan.  

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Mar 04, 2020
Episode 24 - Update on Quality Rated/CAPS 2020 Deadline
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For child care providers in Georgia receiving CAPS funding, the clock is ticking.  In order to continue to receive CAPS payments for your children and families served, you must be Quality Rated by December 31, 2020.  Here to talk about the CAPS/Quality Rated 2020 Deadline is Laura Wagner, Community Outreach and Partnerships Director; Denise Jenson, Quality Rated Director; and Shawnell Johnson, Director of Family Support with the CAPS Program.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Feb 26, 2020
Episode 23 - Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Top Ten Issues to Watch
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In January, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education presented its 16th edition of Top Ten Issues to Watch Report.  This year’s report considers the educational progress Georgia has made over the past decade and how are we are preparing for 2030.  Joining us to talk about the Top Ten Issues is Dr. Dana Rickman, Vice President of GPEE, and Dr. Robert Gaines, Director of Communications.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Feb 19, 2020
Episode 22 - Georgia Focus on PDG Grant
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Governor Brian Kemp has announced that Georgia has received a three-year, $11.2-million Preschool Development Renewal Grant (PDG) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education. Georgia is one of only 20 states to receive this grant that will allow the state to expand efforts to help families access high quality early childhood services statewide. This funding builds on an initial $2.9 million PDG planning grant the state received in January 2019.  In this episode, Deputy Commissioner of Georgia's Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports Susan Adams talks with John Clark on the Georgia News Network's "Georgia Focus" program about the grant and its impacts. 

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Feb 17, 2020
Episode 21 - 2020 Legislative Update
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The 2020 Georgia General Assembly has been in session for almost a month now.  The opening week starting January 13 included the annual State of the State Address by Governor Brian Kemp.  Joining us to discuss the General Assembly and the State of the State is Liz Young, Director of Government Relations and Special Projects for DECAL, and Rian Ringsrud, our Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administration.

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Feb 12, 2020
Episode 20 - Inclusive Early Learning Week 2020
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All next week, February 10-14, the State of Georgia and all of us at the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning are celebrating Inclusive Early Learning Week.  It’s our effort to increase public awareness and advocacy for inclusion…and to celebrate inclusive classrooms here in Georgia.  Here to talk about this special week and how you can get involved is Veronica Thomas, Inclusion and Behavior Support Manager, and Codi Parham, Behavior Support Specialist.    

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Feb 05, 2020
Episode 19 - ServiceNow
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With over 700 employees across the state, Information Technology is vitally important to the success of our agency, from personal laptops and smartphones to custom applications on a myriad of servers and websites.  2019 was a busy year of moving information to the cloud and rebranding of DECAL IT and formally establishing our internal IT Service Management processes using ServiceNow, a cloud-based IT service management platform.  Here to talk about ServiceNow and other improvements currently happening in IT is Dennis Brice, Chief Information Officer for DECAL, and Arun Kandel, our Chief Information Security Officer and Chief Technology Officer. 

Support the show (http://www.decal.ga.gov)

Jan 29, 2020
Episode 18 - CAPS Family Support and 2Gen
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When Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) Program moved from DFCS to DECAL, part of the restructuring was the addition of a Family Support component, working alongside Program Administration and Scholarship Administration.  The new CAPS Program was charged with working with families to help them achieve self-sufficiency, beyond the need for assistance in paying for child care.  Here to talk about CAPS Family Support and the 2Generation Strategy of working with both children and their families are Donna Johnson and Shawnell Johnson, co-directors of CAPS Family Support.  

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Jan 22, 2020
Episode 17 - Inclusion and Behavior Support Helpline
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Research tells us that, regardless of their abilities, children in high-quality child care programs are better prepared to enter school and more likely to develop healthy social and emotional skills.  Here at DECAL, we’re proud of our Inclusion and Behavior Support Services Unit, and a new helpline they recently launched that makes assistance just a phone call away.  Joining us today are the Inclusion and Behavior Support Regional Supervisors who help staff the helpline, Michelle Clark (west), Katie Hagan (south), and Lindsey Urry (east).  

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Jan 15, 2020
Episode 16 - Pre-K Teachers of the Year
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For the fourth consecutive year, DECAL has named Georgia’s Pre-K Program Teachers of the Year, recognizing a winner from a local public school system and a winner from a private child care center.  Joining us to talk about the Teacher of the Year recognition are Heather Williams and Johnathon Hines, our 2019-2020 Pre-K Teachers of the Year. They’re joined by Meghan McNail, Summer Transition and Outreach Manager for Georgia’s Pre-K Program.

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Jan 08, 2020
Episode 15 - Meet the Interns
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Since 2016, DECAL has offered paid internships to students currently enrolled in a Georgia college, university or law school with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.  This semester our interns are representing Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Rice University, and Savannah State University.  Here to talk about the DECAL Internship Program is Darien Watson, Recruiter Specialist with our Human Resources Division, along with Interns Neomi Fletcher, Jessica Snelling, and David Mahone.

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Dec 18, 2019
Episode 14 - Family Ambassadors
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In August, DECAL introduced a new group of Family Ambassadors to help promote school readiness among the vulnerable and underserved populations in their communities.  Today we have 42 ambassadors representing 27 counties across the state.  Here to talk about the Family Ambassadors is Bridget Ratajczak, Child and Family Development Supervisor; and Ann Panzica, Child and Family Development Specialist. 



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Dec 11, 2019
Episode 13 - CAPS/Quality Rated 2020 Deadline
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For child care providers in Georgia receiving CAPS funding, its crunch time!  In order to continue to receive CAPS payments for your children and families served, you must be Quality Rated by December 31, 2020.  Right now, around 54-percent of the programs receiving CAPS have been Quality Rated, and about 67-percent of children receiving CAPS are enrolled with a Quality Rated Provider, but that still leaves a lot of providers to be rated.  Here to talk about the CAPS/Quality Rated 2020 Deadline are Elisabetta Kasfir, Deputy Commissioner over the CAPS Program, and Dr. Bentley Ponder, Deputy Commissioner of Quality Innovations and Partnerships, which includes Quality Rated. 



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Dec 04, 2019
Episode 12 - DECAL Holiday Special
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A special holiday episode featuring DECAL employees sharing their favorite traditions and wishes for 2020. Nutrition Health Educator Diana Meyers has suggestions on how to eat healthy through those holiday parties and dinners!



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Nov 27, 2019
Episode 11 - Georgia Public Library Service
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When’s the last time you went to your local library?  If it’s been awhile, you’re missing out on some great resources and, even better, in today’s digital world, you don’t even have to leave your home to visit a library.  Joining us is Wendy Cornelisen, Assistant State Librarian with the Georgia Public Library Service.  



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Nov 20, 2019
Episode 10 - Farm to Early Care and Education in Baldwin County
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In September, Commissioner Jacobs presented the Second Annual Baby Golden Radish Award to the Baldwin County School District for creating an innovative and successful Farm to Early Care & Education Program that advances the learning and development of its Pre-K and Head Start students.  Joining us to talk about Nutrition in the Baldwin County Schools and the Farm to ECE effort is Susan Nelson, Director of School Nutrition for Baldwin County School District; Lori Smith, Director of the Early Learning Center; and Diana Myers, DECAL’s Nutrition Health Educator.



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Nov 13, 2019
Episode 9 - Deal Center for Early Language & Literacy
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In June 2017, a new Georgia center with a mission to improve reading skills among young children officially opened at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.  This was a $5.1 million initiative of former Governor Nathan Deal and named after his wife, Sandra Deal, who is a former schoolteacher and advocate for quality early learning.  We’re joined today by Dr. Theresa Magpuri-Lavell, Executive Director of the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy.  



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Nov 06, 2019
Episode 8 - A Chat with Coy Bowles from the Zac Brown Band
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A chat with Coy Bowles, lead guitarist for the Grammy Award winning Zac Brown Band, author of children’s books, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning. Coy joins us on the podcast after speaking to more than 700 DECAL employees at an All Staff Meeting held at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.  



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Oct 30, 2019
Episode 7 - Meet Chief Legal Officer Ira Sudman
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From Criminal Background Checks to Open Records Requests, the DECAL Legal Unit stays busy supporting our departments as well as working with other state and federal agencies, and the general public.  Leading that team of 27 staff members is Chief Legal Officer Ira Sudman.  We are also joined by Greg Brown, Legal Services Officer with DECAL. 



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Oct 23, 2019
Episode 6 - 2020 Open Enrollment
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It's almost time for Open Enrollment for State of Georgia employees, including all of us here at DECAL.  This year Open Enrollment is October 21 through November 8.  Our guest this week is Sabrina Henry, Human Resources Operations Supervisor.  



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Oct 16, 2019
Episode 5 - Celebrating 15 Years of Bright from the Start
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In 1996, the Georgia General Assembly created the Office of School Readiness to administer Georgia’s Pre-K Program, license child care centers participating in the Pre-K Program, administer federal nutrition programs and provide early intervention services. Eight years later, in 2004, Governor Sonny Perdue and the Georgia General Assembly created Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning to further streamline the state’s services to Georgia’s children from birth to age five and their families. The department was formed by merging the Office of School Readiness with units from the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Education, and the Georgia Child Care Council. We’re using this episode of DECAL Download to wish ourselves a Happy 15th anniversary and take a look back.



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Oct 09, 2019
Episode 4 - Meet Deputy Commissioner of Finance and Administration Rian Ringsrud
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With an annual budget of over $847 million, DECAL’s Finance and Administration Divisions play an important role in the success of our agency.  Supervising these important areas, as well as the Nutrition Division, is Rian Ringsrud, Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administration.  Today we chat with Rian and then check in on our new 2019-2020 Georgia's Pre-K Program Teachers of the Year Heather Williams of the Central Georgia Technical College Child Development Center in Warner Robins/Houston County, and Johnathon Hines of Barack H. Obama Elementary School in DeKalb County. 



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Oct 02, 2019
Episode 3 - Celebrating the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge Grant
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It was December, 2013, when the US Department of Education and the US Department of Health and Human Services awarded Georgia the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant, totaling $51.7 million over four years.  This week, we look back at all that was accomplished in Georgia as a result of the grant.  Joining us are three key people in the project: Susan Adams, Deputy Commissioner for Georgia’s Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports; Dr. Bentley Ponder, Deputy Commissioner for Quality Innovations and Partnerships; and from Chicago, former Deputy Commissioner for System Reform and now Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Policy with the Ounce of Prevention Fund Kristin Bernhard.  

Sep 25, 2019
Episode 2 - Nutrition Health Educator Diana Myers
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As we’re teaching Georgia’s youngest learners the importance of language, literacy, math, and social skills, it’s also important to help them develop healthy habits in eating and physical activity early on.  Joining us to talk about developing and maintaining healthy habits is Diana Myers, our new Nutrition Health Educator here at DECAL.  

Sep 18, 2019
Episode 1 - Georgia Pre-K Week
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Community members and leaders from around the state are going back to school as part of Georgia Pre-K Week, an annual event to celebrate Georgia’s nationally recognized Pre-K program and other quality early learning centers.  This is our ninth year partnering with Voices for Georgia’s Children and the dates are October 7-11.  Joining us to talk about Georgia Pre-K Week and how your program can get involved is Dr. Erica Fener-Sitkoff, Executive Director at Voices for Georgia’s Children, and Liz Young, DECAL's Director of Government Relations and Special Projects.

Sep 11, 2019
Episode 52 - Longitudinal Study of Georgia's Pre-K Program
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In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly authorized a longitudinal study of Georgia’s Pre-K Program to examine children’s learning outcomes and the quality of their classroom experiences.  This study is currently following over 1,100 children from Pre-K through the fifth grade.  Here to talk about the latest results is Susan Adams, Deputy Commissioner for Georgia’s Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports, and Dr. Bentley Ponder, Deputy Commissioner for Quality Innovations and Partnerships.

Sep 04, 2019
Episode 51 - GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students
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One of our strongest supporters and child advocates is GEEARS, the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students.  On this episode of DECAL Download, we take a closer look at GEEARS and its work here in Georgia with Executive Director Mindy Binderman.

Aug 28, 2019
Episode 50 - Project LITTLE
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Research shows the more words you speak, sing, or read to your baby has an impact on how fast your child will learn to speak and read.  On this episode, we learn more about Project LITTLE for Lifting Infants and Toddlers Through Language-rich Environments.  Our guests are Nicole Wilson, Infant Toddler Program Manager for DECAL, and Bobbie Dent, Executive Director for The Phoenix School in Decatur.  

Aug 21, 2019
Episode 49 - Diane Early Study on Georgia's Pre-K Program
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After 26 years of administering Georgia’s Pre-K Program, we all know that students are better prepared for Kindergarten and excel in math, language, and literacy.  But how are those same students doing four years later, when they are tested at the end of third grade? DECAL Deputy Commissioners Susan Adams and Dr. Bentley Ponder discuss a recent Pre-K Study that looked at the relationship between participation in Georgia’s Pre-K and the Third-Grade Milestones assessment scores.  

Aug 14, 2019
Episode 48 - A Chat with Commissioner Jacobs
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Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs responds to your questions from social media.

Aug 07, 2019
Episode 47 - Back to School Special
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All across Georgia, it’s Back to School time and that can have an impact on your whole family’s schedule and routine.  On this special edition of DECAL Download, we’re going to try and cover all of your questions for Back to School from starting Georgia’s Pre-K Program, to Before and After School care at your child care program, to how this impacts your CAPS scholarship.  


Jul 31, 2019
Episode 46 - Meet Chief Information Officer Dennis Brice
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A conversation with Dennis Brice, our new Chief Information Officer for DECAL.  Most recently Dennis was VP of Technology at McKesson and brings more than 25 years of engineering, strategic thinking, and broad IT experience to DECAL. 

Jul 24, 2019
Episode 45 - School Age Programs
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When you think about child care outside the home, you might think about infants, toddlers, or Pre-K students…but for many families it also includes after-school care for children ages five and up.  In Georgia, over 2,700 licensed child care programs offer after-school care, and over 45-percent of our CAPS scholarships help pay for it. Here to talk about school-age programs in Georgia is Pam Stevens, Deputy Commissioner of Child Care Services; Melissa Davis, Director for CCS Quality Operations, and Michelle Garris, School Age Specialist for DECAL.

Jul 17, 2019
Episode 44 - Summer Meals Program
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Each year, Bright from the Start administers the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, created to ensure that children 18 and under can continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they don’t have access to lunch or breakfast at school.  Here to talk about this effort in Georgia is Cindy Kicklighter, Nutrition Marketing and Outreach Manager, and Phyllis Oliver, Nutrition Director with the Chattooga County Schools.

Jul 10, 2019
Episode 43 - We Care Child Care Sweepstakes
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Back in the Spring, we told you about the Path from Pre-K to College Sweepstakes where four students in Georgia's Pre-K Program received scholarships of $1,529 from Path2College 529 Plan.  This summer, four more children will have a chance at one of those scholarships in the We Care Child Care Sweepstakes.  Here to talk about the sweepstakes is Mitch Seabaugh, Executive Director of the Path2College 529 Plan. 

Jul 03, 2019
Episode 42 - DIY Summer School
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School’s out for summer….but beware the Summer Brain Drain!  That’s when many children experience learning loss because they’re not engaged in educational activities during the summer. Joining us to talk about DIY Summer School is Faith Duncan, Field Operations Director for Georgia’s Pre-K Program, and Demetria Joyce, Instructional Learning Manager.

Jun 26, 2019
Episode 41 - Summer Transition Program
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For most kids, summer means school’s out…but for some younger high-risk children in Georgia, it’s a critical time for them to prepare to enter Georgia’s Pre-K Program or Kindergarten in the fall.  Our Summer Transition Program is currently underway and continues through July 12.  Our guests are Meghan McNail, Summer Transition and Outreach Manager, and Julie Barnett with Kindercare, a childcare provider offering the program in multiple locations.  

Jun 19, 2019
Episode 40 - Act Early Ambassador Jennie Couture
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In 2011, Atlanta-based CDC joined with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and the Heath Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau to launch “Learn the Signs. Act Early," an initiative to address skyrocketing rates of autism among American children.  Jennie Couture, DECAL's Director of Practice and Support Services, serves as Georgia's ambassador for this nationwide program.  We talk with Jennie about the importance of early intervention. 

Jun 12, 2019
Episode 39 - DECAL Scholars
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Our 2016 Economic Impact Study of the Early Care and Education Industry in Georgia showed that early care and education provides more than 67,000 industry jobs statewide.  The DECAL Scholars program promotes high-quality, stable learning environments for Georgia’s children, by supporting the early care and education professionals who work with them day after day.  DECAL administers these programs to encourage, support and reward Georgia’s early care and education workforce.  Here to talk more about DECAL Scholars is Charlotte Pelz, Program Director for DECAL Scholars.  

Jun 05, 2019
Episode 38 - Quality Rated Peer Support Network
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Child care providers sharing ideas, success stories, and lessons learned during their experience in our Quality Rated Program.  That’s the idea behind the Quality Rated Peer Support Network, established in 2015 as an additional support to providers. We'll talk with Rachael Lee, Quality Rated Peer Support Network Specialist, and Michelle Smith-Lank, owner and director of the Kid’s World Learning Center, a three-star Quality Rated program in Statesboro.

May 29, 2019
Episode 37 - Look Again
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For the sixth consecutive year, DECAL and several other state agencies are calling for families and caregivers of children to have a heightened awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles.  From our Child Care Services Division, we will talk with Rhonda Parker and Dana Morrison, both Directors of Field Operations, about the Look Again campaign. 

May 22, 2019
Episode 36 - Wellness Committee and Activity Challenge
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We all know how difficult it is to live healthy and eat healthy, especially with demanding schedules at the office and at home.  But here at DECAL, we have a group of health-minded employees who work hard to keep it top of mind.  DECAL Business Analyst Barbara Sanders, part of our IT division, chairs the Wellness Committee and joins us to talk about the mission of the group. 

May 15, 2019
Episode 35 - Early Education Community Partnerships
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DECAL is a statewide agency but we realize the real work in promoting early childhood education and working with children and their families takes place at a grass roots level in cities and towns across the state.  That’s why earlier this year we launched our Early Education Community Partnership initiative and named community coordinators in each of our six regions.  Our special guests in studio are Jill O’Meara, Early Education Community Partnership Manager, and Clayton Adams, Lead Community Coordinator in our Athens and Northeast Region, with field reports from all of our coordinators. ]]>
May 08, 2019
Episode 34 - Inspections for Georgia's Pre-K Program
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Since 1993, Georgia has had a nationally recognized Pre-K Program funded by the Georgia Lottery that prepares four year olds for success in Kindergarten.  Children four years of age on September 1 of the current school year who are Georgia residents are eligible to attend Georgia's Pre-K Program.  This year, we have over 81,000 students enrolled in over 3,800 classrooms around the state…both public schools and private child care centers.  Here to talk about our ongoing inspections of Georgia’s Pre-K Program classes is Judy Blasingame, Quality Support Coordinator, and Devon Porter, Pre-K consultant.

May 01, 2019
Episode 33 - Summer Camps
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School will be out soon and Georgia children will be participating in summer camps, church camps, cheer camps, and other traditional activities.  DECAL and Quality Care for Children are again collaborating to help parents ensure the camps they have chosen are safe places for children to play and learn.  On this episode, we talk with Pam Tatum, CEO at Quality Care for Children, and Pam Stevens, DECAL's Deputy Commissioner for Child Care Services. 

Apr 24, 2019
Episode 32 - Language and Literacy Endorsement
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Building on the success of Quality Rated and several of Georgia’s early learning programs, Governor Brian Kemp and DECAL have announced the creation of a language and literacy endorsement.  We know that early learning provides a strong foundation for the development of children’s reading skills and this endorsement will only strengthen that foundation.


Apr 17, 2019
Episode 31 - Zell Miller Foundation
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You can’t tell the story of Georgia’s nationally recognized Pre-K Program without quickly coming across the name Zell Miller.  After all, it was Governor Miller who in 1990 proposed the creation of the Georgia Lottery for Education…and that the lottery would support a new preschool program and college scholarship.  In 1992, the referendum passed and a pilot program brought 750 at-risk four-year-olds to 20 sites across Georgia.  Today Georgia’s Pre-K Program serves over 83,000 four year olds and is clearly part of Governor Miller’s legacy.

Joining us to talk about his grandfather and the foundation that celebrates Governor Miller’s leadership and legacy is Bryan Miller, Executive Chairman of the Zell Miller Foundation.

Apr 10, 2019
Episode 30 - CCS Child Care Inspections
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DECAL licenses and monitors around 4,600 child care programs in Georgia to ensure that they provide safe, healthy, and nurturing environments. On average, our Child Care Services consultants make 12,000 unannounced annual visits…a minimum of two per provider each year…to inspect and support licensed child care programs.  Today, we will take you on a "walk through" of one of these inspections.  Our guests are Northwest Regional Manager for Child Care Services Marsha Ruiz Crosby and Director of Research Randy Hudgins.

Apr 03, 2019
Episode 29 - Meet Deputy Commissioner for System Reform Dr. Bentley Ponder
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There have been some recent changes in our System Reform Division, the home of Quality Rated.  Former Deputy Commissioner for System Reform Kristin Bernhard accepted a position with The Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago.  Former DECAL Director of Research and Policy Analysis, Dr. Bentley Ponder, will follow Kristin in this important role.  Learn more about Bentley and his 14 years working here at DECAL.  

Mar 27, 2019
Episode 28 - Summer Food Service Program
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Each summer here in Georgia, eligible organizations help DECAL and the US Department of Agriculture serve healthy meals to children when school is not in session.  Our Summer Food Service Program reimburses these organizations for the cost of providing free meals and again this year we are looking for sponsors.  Our guests are Sonja Adams, Nutritional Services Director of Provider Services, and Cindy Kicklighter, Nutrition Marketing and Outreach Manager. 

Mar 20, 2019
Episode 27 - Path from Pre-K to College Sweepstakes
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It’s never too early to be thinking about your child’s college education...even if your child is in Georgia’s Pre-K Program.  That’s the idea behind the Path from Pre-K to College Sweepstakes, happening March 15 to April 30 and sponsored by DECAL and the Path2College 529 Plan.  Our special guest is Mitch Seabaugh, Executive Director of the Path2College 529 Plan.  

Mar 13, 2019
Episode 26 - Georgia's Professional Development System (GaPDS)
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Here at DECAL, we’re committed to ensuring that Georgia's youngest citizens receive high quality services to prepare them for school and for life. To help meet this commitment, we’ve developed the Georgia Professional Development System (GaPDS) where early childhood educators can create and maintain a profile and search and register for the latest training.  Recently GaPDS was upgraded to Phase 2 making it better than ever!

Mar 06, 2019
Episode 25 - Resources from GPB Education
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For decades, Georgia Public Broadcasting has been the perfect teacher’s aide welcomed in classrooms all across the state.  Now with robust content across all of their platforms…on air and online….there are even more resources for early childhood educators.  Our special guest is Laura Evans, director of education at GPB, where she plans and implements education projects and oversees educational content for teachers and students.  Of course, we think she’s great because prior to that she was an instructional learning manager here at DECAL! 

Feb 27, 2019
Episode 24 - Georgia's Pre-K Program Teachers of the Year
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For the fourth consecutive year, we’re seeking applications for Georgia’s Pre-K Program Teachers of the Year.  Since 2016, DECAL has recognized a winner from a local public school system and a private child care center.  Joining us to talk about this program are Meghan McNail, Summer Transition and Outreach Manager for Georgia’s Pre-K Program, and our 2018-2019 Teachers of the Year Becky Haden and Stephanie Westhafer.

Feb 20, 2019
Episode 23 - Celebrating Inclusive Early Learning Week
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All this week, the State of Georgia and all of us here at the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning are celebrating Inclusive Early Learning Week.  It’s our effort to increase public awareness and advocacy for inclusion…and to celebrate inclusive classrooms here in Georgia.  Here to talk about this special week and how you can get involved is Brandy Lochetta, Program Director, Inclusion and Behavioral Support for DECAL; Veronica Thomas, Program Manager, Inclusion and Behavioral Support; and Shawnell Johnson, Quality Improvement, and Training Unit Director from our Child Care Services Division.  

Feb 13, 2019
Episode 22 - Developmental Milestones
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From rolling over and crawling…to walking and playing, your child’s developmental milestones are something worth celebrating!  But they also offer important clues about your child’s overall development.  On this episode we talk with Bridget Ratajczak, Child Development Specialist in DECAL's Instructional Supports Division.

Feb 06, 2019
Episode 21 - Planning for Inclusive Early Learning Week
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The National Association for the Education of Young Children says that early childhood inclusion means that every infant and young child and their family has the right...regardless of ability…to participate in activities as full members of families, classrooms, communities, and society.  Here in Georgia, we celebrate Inclusive Early Learning Week February 11-15, 2019.  This week we talk with Brandy Lochetta, Program Director, Inclusion and Behavioral Support for DECAL, along with Michelle Clark, one of our Inclusion Specialists. 

Jan 30, 2019
Episode 20 - Georgia's Head Start Collaboration Office
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Since 1965, Head Start has offered comprehensive services to children and families to ensure that children, especially those of low income, are healthy and ready to learn. Learn more about Georgia's Head Start Collaboration Office and meet Director Allison Setterlind.  

Jan 23, 2019
Episode 19 - Georgia News Network interview with Carrie Ashbee
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Carrie Ashbee, Executive Director of the Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning, is interviewed by John Clark with Georgia News Network about DECAL's efforts to assist child care programs in Southwest Georgia impacted by Hurricane Michael.

Jan 22, 2019
Episode 18 - Preview of 2019 Georgia General Assembly
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It’s a big week here on Capitol Hill as the 2019 Georgia General Assembly convenes.  There’s a new governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, over 30 new house members, some new senators, new committee chairs.  Always an exciting time when the Legislature is in session…even more so this year with the 155th Georgia General Assembly.  We'll discuss with Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs, DECAL Deputy Commissioner of Finance and Administration Rian Ringsrud, Director of Government Relations Liz Young, and Polly McKinney, Advocacy Director with Voices for Georgia’s Children. 

Jan 16, 2019
Episode 17 - A Chat with First Lady Sandra Deal
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On November 30, 2018, Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal celebrated a milestone in her eight-year commitment to serving our state’s youngest learners and their families.  On that day, she visited her 1,000th school since Governor Deal took office in 2011.  Now, as the Deals prepare to leave office, we grab a few minutes with Mrs. Deal at the Governor's Mansion.

Jan 09, 2019
Episode 16 - A Chat with Commissioner Jacobs
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Happy New Year!  It is officially 2019, and we thought we would look back on 2018 today…with a look ahead to 2019 as well.  From CAPS and Child Care Services...to Georgia's Pre-K Program and Quality Rated...plus Nutrition, Inclusion, the 2019 Legislative Session, and more!  

Jan 02, 2019
Episode 15 - Update on Quality Rated
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In January, 2012, Georgia launched a voluntary system to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs.  Within a year, Quality Rated had over 1,100 early learning programs participating and that number has continued to grow. Let's get an update from Deputy Commissioner for System Reform Kristin Bernhard and and Quality Rated Policy and Partnership Director Laura Wagner.

Dec 26, 2018
Episode 14 - DECAL Online with CIO Craig Detweiler
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There was a time when to interact with a government agency you had to travel to a physical location.  The Internet has made that a thing of the past and now DECAL's virtual front door can be found on your laptop or even smartphone at www.decal.ga.gov.  For parents, providers, and the general public, there are so many ways to reach DECAL without leaving your home or office.  Learn more in this conversation with Chief Information Officer Craig Detweiler.   

Dec 19, 2018
Episode 13 - Response to Hurricane Michael
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In October, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle and then slammed into parts of Southwest and Central Georgia.  The hurricane had a major impact on Georgia’s cotton, pecan, and timber crops and caused structural damage to homes and businesses, including child care programs across some 20 counties.  We were able to help children and families through DECAL Nutrition Services and the Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning.

Dec 12, 2018
Episode 12 - Customer Service
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While many of our DECAL team members interact with providers and parents face-to-face in the field, we take a lot of phone calls every day across all of our divisions and always strive to provide excellent customer service.  Today we are talking with two members of our team known for providing excellent customer service: Renee Lind is Scholarship Administration Manager for Special Teams in the CAPS Program and Abby Mozo is a User Support Representative with the Georgia Professional Development System for Early Childhood Educators.  

Dec 05, 2018
Episode 11 - Quality Rated Grants
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DECAL partners with Quality Rated Child Care Providers around the state to offer Quality Rated Subsidy Grants, which pay higher reimbursement to two and three-star child care programs and benefit qualified families by charging zero family fees for the child who is participating.  Today we will learn more about Quality Rated Subsidy Grants from Taijha Harden, Subsidy Manager, and Laura Wagner, Quality Rated Policy and Partnership Director.

 

Nov 28, 2018
Episode 10 - Best Places to Eat in Georgia
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Thanksgiving Week seems like a good time to discuss food...and we mean really discuss food, as in the Best Places to Eat in Georgia.  As a state agency, our employees travel A LOT, especially our consultants working with providers and parents through CAPS, Child Care Services, Georgia’s Pre-K Program, Quality Rated, Nutrition and so much more!  For this episode, we’re calling upon some bonafide culinary experts, Deputy Commissioner for System Reform Kristin Bernhard and Chief Legal Officer Ira Sudman.  Hope you're hungry!

Nov 21, 2018
Episode 9 - Person First Language
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“Person First Language” is a different way of thinking about the words we use when we’re talking to or about people with disabilities.  In this episode we learn more about this topic from Brandy Locchetta, Inclusion Manager here at DECAL. We'll even take a quiz to see how much we know...and how much we have to learn! 


Nov 14, 2018
Episode 7 - Inside Scoop with the Commissioner's Executive Assistant
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Scheduler, assistant, gatekeeper.  Maybe the way to really get to know Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs is to get to know her Executive Assistant and Board Liaison Quandra Collins.  Hear what happens behind the scenes at DECAL and then take a quiz on how well Quandra really knows the Commissioner.

Oct 12, 2018
Episode 8 - Criminal Background Checks in Georgia
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In January, 2014, DECAL began implementing a state law requiring all employees in Georgia's child care programs to undergo a national criminal background check based on fingerprints.  For the next two years, DECAL is paying the cost of the initial national fingerprint scan for eligible early care and education workers.  Learn more about this law from DECAL Chief Legal Officer Ira Sudman and Legal Services Supervisor Christie Bearden.

Oct 12, 2018
Episode 6 - Meet Pam Stevens from Child Care Services
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Pam Stevens is our new Deputy Commissioner for Child Care Services, but you may know her from Quality Rated, or her years as a teacher, behavior specialist, or child care director.  Learn more about Pam and this important role in the licensing and regulating of child care programs in Georgia.

Oct 11, 2018
Episode 5 - Open Enrollment at DECAL
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Monday is the start of the Annual Open Enrollment for the 2019 Plan Year of the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).  Open Enrollment starts October 15 and runs through November 2.  Learn more from Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs and Sabrina Henry, HR Operations Supervisor at DECAL.


Oct 10, 2018
Episode 4 - Georgia's Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) Program
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The Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program has been serving Georgia’s children and families since 1972. The program is funded federally by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), also known as the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). In recent years, the program moved to DECAL from the Division of Family and Children Services. Elisabetta Kasfir is the Deputy Commissioner for Federal Programs.
Sep 28, 2018
Episode 3 - Georgia Pre-K Week
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We talk with Deputy Commissioner for Georgia's Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports Susan Adams about Georgia Pre-K Week, October 1-5, 2018. Now in its eighth year, Georgia Pre-K Week is coordinated by Voices for Georgia’s Children, a policy and advocacy non-profit organization. The goal of Pre-K week is to emphasize the importance of quality early childhood education by providing opportunities for leaders to engage with Pre-K classrooms in local communities.
Sep 27, 2018
Episode 2 - Introducing the Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning
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The Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning makes strategic investments to improve and expand high-quality early education to help ensure all children in Georgia are prepared to succeed when they enter kindergarten regardless of family income or location. Our guests today include Executive Director Carrie Ashbee and Advancement and Donor Relations Coordinator Sarah Tinsley.
Sep 25, 2018
Episode 1 - Chat with Commissioner Jacobs
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Governor Nathan Deal appointed Amy M. Jacobs as Interim Commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning in June 2014. In January 2015, she was sworn in as permanent commissioner. Commissioner Jacobs leads the agency responsible for the early care and education of hundreds of thousands of Georgia’s children. She oversees an annual budget of $700 million for programs focused on child care licensing, child and adult care nutrition, child care quality, and early childhood education, specifically Georgia’s Pre-K Program.
Sep 24, 2018