Technology for the Head Start and Pre-K Counts programs

Technology for the Head Start and Pre-K Counts programs

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. strives to enhance the knowledge of the children who participate in our Head Start, Early Head Start and Pre-K Counts programs. During the summer we have purchased Smartboard projectors and iPads to be used in our classrooms. With this technology, there is more interaction of the whole class by having the children manipulate objects on the board and use of the special pens. The iPads are connected to the smartboard projectors so the teacher can display what is on the iPad to the whole class. The teacher can use this as a basis of discuss with the children. The projectors are also connected to the Internet so staff can access a number of early learning sites, such as The goal is to make learning fun and ensure all children are being prepared for their transition to kindergarten.

This technology will expose the children to a new way to learn. With this interactive technology, the child is more motivated since they can actually touch and move objects that are being projected. There is more socialization in the classroom when the lessons are being taught to the whole group. The interaction will enhance "Team Building" skills.

In our Early Head Start program the staff will have iPads to take to the homes to support the curriculum and visits with the families. They will be able to assess the child's motor and vision skills.

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. has always strived to enhance the knowledge and abilities of the children we serve. We will keep working on this goal so children in our programs can easily transition to kindergarten, and hopefully continue to be motivated to learn throughout their education.

Establishing a Back to School Routine

Establishing a Back to School Routine:

It was another fast summer and most students regardless of the age are back in school. The start of school tends to be an adjustment for the entire family until everyone gets used to the new school schedule. The sooner a parent or guardian starts the transition from summer mode to school mode is better for the whole house. Here are some suggestions so everyone has a successful 2015/2016 school year: 

• Establish an appropriate bedtime for each family member. (Most important stick to it even on the weekends or holidays!) 

• Set goals to start making healthy food choices. (There are numerous community farmer's markets and/or stands setup that sell inexpensive locally grown fruits and vegetables.) 

• All family members need to keep hydrated so drink plenty of fluids which are good for the body and skin. (Try to reduce the caffeinated and sugar based drinks that are not good for the body or teeth.) 

• Create good study, homework habits and work environment. (Make sure your work environment is well lit, no music, television or interruptions. Purchase a calendar or planner so you can write down your due dates and finish assignments on time and not at the last minute.) 

• Participate in a hobby or activity that helps you release your stress. (Stress is not good for the young or old so everyone needs a release when they feel like they're hitting their breaking point.) 

• Ensure there is an open line of communication with your child (ren)'s teachers and school(s). (Make sure to complete initial paperwork on time. Attend open houses, meet and greets and other functions to support your child (ren) in their learning environment.)




PIC Fills Three Positions

PIC Fills Three Positions

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) has recently filled three positions. Tara Manderino joins PIC as the Planner/Grants Writer, Suzann Bloom is the new Youth Program Supervisor, and Erika Doyle is the new Employment Training Supervisor at the  PA CareerLink® Westmoreland County.

With a solid grants writing background, Manderino brings over 20 years of non-profit experience to the corporation. Along with grants writing, she is experienced in communications and social media. Prior to joining PIC, Manderino was previously employed by Mon Yough Community Services in McKeesport, the Monessen District Library Center, and SPHS, Monessen. She holds a B.A. in English from the Pennsylvania State University.

As the new Youth Program Supervisor, Suzann Bloom, oversees the 21st Century Community Learning Centers’ afterschool and summer programming, and supervises other PIC youth programs, including the Summer Youth Work Experience program.

She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science/Ecology from Juniata College, and an M.S. from Slippery Rock University in Parks & Resource Management/Environmental Education. Prior to coming to PIC, Bloom’s previous work experience includes River Quest, Green Building Alliance, and the Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education.

Erika Doyle is the new Employment Training Supervisor at PA CareerLink® Westmoreland County where she oversees the Title I programs.  A collaborative project between multiple agencies, PA CareerLink® provides services to Pennsylvania employers and potential employees. This position is a promotion for Doyle who previously served as an Employment Specialist at the PA CareerLink® Fayette County. She has been employed by PIC for 13 years. Her positions prior to joining PIC include Case Manager, Litigation Assistant, and Paralegal. Erika holds a B.A. in English from the Duquesne University.

Back to School

Are Your Elementary Kids Ready?
Submitted by Shelly Gilmore
CDE Supervisor, Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County

Back to School brings a lot of mixed emotions for children. Sadly, the sleepy mornings and lack of schedules are coming to an end, but the excitement of a new year awaits! There are a lot of ways parents can prepare children for the new year besides buying notebooks, bright shiny new shoes and school clothes. Here are 5 ways parents can assure their child has a smooth transition.

1. Work with your child to create a morning checklist
     The checklist can be posted on the refrigerator or in their room. Items on the checklist can be simple such as getting dressed, making the bed, brushing their teeth, feeding the dog, finding their bookbag, etc. Children can check items off each morning as completed.

2. Schedule a time and place to complete homework
     Head off daily battles by making homework part of your child's daily routine. Be sure to make yourself available during this time in case there are questions or assistance is needed. Provide input from your child and decide together when and where homework time should occur.

3. Make a sick day back up plan
     For working parents, parents attending training, etc., a good idea is not to wait for the morning the sickness strikes to panic that you do not have anywhere for your child to go. Since calling off from work is not always an option, a back up plan will assist you in getting to where you need to be on time.

4. Engage in regular conversations with your child
     My favorite place to do this is in the car when they can't run away or their friends are not around. Provide children with opportunities to tell you about their day and practice active listening. If children are having issues at school with other kids or they are worried about something this is the time to listen closely and provide suggestions on how to handle situations appropriately.

5. Touch base with the teacher periodically
     Let your child know that school is a family affair and you will be talking with the teachers regularly to check on progress and if there are any concerns. Email is a great way to communicate since life is hectic and everyone is busy. It's important to have the beginning of the year discussion and to ask the teacher what method of communication would work well for them.

2014-2015 Divisional Employees of the Year

2014-2015 Divisional Employees of the Year


The Private Industry Council (PIC) annually recognizes Divisional Employees of the Year. In late spring, staff members submit nominations, putting forward names of colleagues who have demonstrated exceptional knowledge of their respective programs, perform their job duties well, and put forth extra effort, going beyond what is required of them. 

We are pleased to announce the 2014-2015 honorees:


Early Childhood Development Division

Amy Oldland, Instructor in the Head Start of Fayette County Route 857-2 classroom, was named the Early Childhood Development Divisional Employee of the Year.


According to her nominator, Amy is very knowledgeable of the Head Start Performance Standards and Program Policies.  She meets deadlines and has developed a tracking form to ensure she meets requirements.  Amy is able to speak to parents to explain the benefits of the program and is willing to do whatever it takes for families to get the best services.  She is also willing to volunteer to recruit at special events to obtain program applicants.  Her actions show that she puts the children and families first.

Amy led the children in her classroom in the creation of an art mural for submission to the National Head Start Association’s “Head Start My Favorite Part” challenge in December 2014.  Her children’s artwork was selected as the winner. As a result, Amy attended the National Head Start Association’s conference in March 2015 and received a framed poster of the artwork, a classroom carpet of the artwork, and a $250 gift card for classroom art supplies.  Her successful efforts have helped to bring national recognition for PIC’s Head Start program.


Workforce Development Division

Doug McDonough, Job Developer for the EARN program in Fayette County, was named the Workforce Development Divisional Employee of the Year.


Doug was nominated for his knowledge of the Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN) program and for his ability to connect outcomes to work habits.  Due to his positive work habits, Doug has exceeded his goals for client job placements.  Doug has also been recognized for his willingness to volunteer his time and energy to improving other PIC programs.  He recruits EARN clients for YACHT (Young Adult Careers with Hands-on Training) program participation and offers assistance and ideas for the PIC Connection Radio and TV shows.  His extra efforts are valued as they help increase the performance outcomes of other PIC programs.

Congratulations Amy and Doug!  Keep up the great work!


Amy Oldland 2                  

 Tim Yucisin, President & CEO; Terri Campbell, Vice President of Operations, Amy Oldland; Debbie Parshall, Child Development and Education Classroom Manager


Dough McDonough 1

 Terri Campbell, Vice President of Operations; Doug McDonough; John Evans, Employment Training Supervisor; Sean Sypolt, Vice President of Education & Workforce Development