Keystone Stars



One indicator of high quality programs is the employment of a teaching staff that has the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children's learning and development and to support families' diverse needs and interests. Children benefit most when their teachers have high levels of formal education and specialized early childhood professional preparation.

Teachers who have specific preparation, knowledge, and skills in child development and early childhood education are more likely to engage in warm, positive interactions with children, offer richer language experiences, and create more high-quality learning environments. Opportunities for teaching staff to receive supportive supervision and to participate in ongoing professional development ensure that their knowledge and skills reflect the profession's ever-changing knowledge base.

Pennsylvania Keys to Professional Development is a comprehensive, statewide career development system for practitioners serving children and families in early childhood and school age programs including: child care; early Head Start and Head Start; Early Intervention; public school; and private academic school.

This system provides a clearly articulated framework that defines pathways which are tied to certification (leading to qualifications and credentials) and addresses the needs of individuals and adult learners. Elements of the Pennsylvania Keys to Professional Development system include: a core body of knowledge, qualifications and credentials, quality assurances, access, and outreach and funding.

The goal for building a professional development system is to create a quality improvement system in which all early childhood programs and practitioners are supported and encouraged to improve child outcomes. The Pennsylvania professional development system aims to strengthen early childhood and school-age programs through the development of a well-qualified, skilled, and diverse workforce.

Scholarships & Tuition Assistance

There is now a financial program that can help you and your staff to reach your educational goals.

The RISING STARS TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM pays 95% of tuition costs (up-front) for eligible college coursework taken by early learning professionals, with a maximum benefit of $6,000 per individual each fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). 


FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to read about the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program


For more information, visit

There are several Higher Education Institutions working within the Mid-State Regional Key to provide you with the opportunity to attend their coursework and utilize the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance program.  


Eastern University

Harrisburg Area Community College (click here for registration tips)

Messiah College

Northampton Community College

Pennsylvania College of Technology

Penn State Harrisburg

Penn State York

Shippensburg University

West Chester University


You do not need to attend one of these institutions in order to take advantage of Rising STARS Tuition Assistance. This is only a sample and not an all-inclusive listing.


Please contact Kate Neiderer at the PaKey @ 1-800-284-6031 for requirements and application questions.

Supervision Modules
Supervision Awareness Month Overview

Staff Meeting Files

Week 1- Definitions & Ratios

Week 2- Count, Count, Count

Week 3- Out of Classroom Supervision

Week 4- Team Talk


Find more information on career requirements, degrees and credentials, financial assistance, PQAS, standards and CBK/PDR on the PA Keys web site. Click to visit the Careers page >>

To view professional development opportunities go to and log in to the PD calendar. 

Mid-State Regional Key has a no refund policy for MSRK funded professional development events.  In some instances, a voucher may be issued to be used for future MSRK funded events.  Please contact the Regional Key for additional voucher information.