Charting Texas' Early Childhood Future: An Open House at the Capitol
On December 5, 2012, the Texas Early Learning Council
hosted an early childhood policy open house at the Texas Capitol in
Austin. We shared our work with early
childhood stakeholders and legislative staff. Attendees were
invited to learn about our initiatives and discuss their
sustainability before the start of the upcoming 83rd
Texas Legislature. The Council's grant will end in August
2013, and the sustainability of our initiatives is becoming
Visit our Facebook
page to view pictures from the event.
The meeting began with an introduction from Dr. John Gasko,
former Chair of the Council. Beginning with a quick overview
of the data from the statewide
early childhood needs assessment. Then, LaShonda Brown,
Chair of the Council, and Don Titcombe, Manager of the Council,
discussed the importance of the Council's initiatives in light of
our rapidly growing child population.
PowerPoint Presentation from the Plenary Session. [ Click here for the PDF
For our initiatives, sustainability relates to many types of
resources, including funding, staff, and future expansion of the
reach of the projects. More importantly, sustainability
relates to the long-term impact the Council's work can have on
families, children, and other early childhood stakeholders.
Learn more about the projects that we discussed at the meeting
and download information sheets in the tabs below.
Learn more about the sustainability of our initiatives
The Council is currently developing the Texas Early
Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS) for early
childhood professionals in Texas. Comprising the Texas
Trainer Registry, a new workforce registry, and many professional
development resources, TECPDS will be LinkedIn.com for early
Learn more about TECPDS:
- The Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office, consisting of
only two staff members, handles the daily operations of the
TECPDS. Clearly, as the system expands, more staff and
resources will be needed.
- The online registry will need ongoing system and technical
- The system would benefit from increased enrollment and
participation incentives - for instance, SB 265 from the 82nd
Legislature greatly increased the amount of registered trainers and
those applying to be registered in Texas.
The Council is currently developing new, voluntary Infant,
Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines for
Texas. Marketed as "Little Texans. Big Futures.", these
guidelines are based on responsive caregiving techniques and are
designed to inform all types of caregivers about the importance of
early childhood development, as well as how adults can support the
healthy development of young children. The guidelines will
also be the basis of the Council's public outreach campaign,
coming in 2013.
- As part of the Council's outreach campaign, the Council will
fund the development of a mobile app, commercials, and other
efforts to engage parents and providers and direct them towards
these new guidelines.
- The Council will make all of the materials developed for this
campaign available to stakeholders who wish to fund public
awareness campaigns in their communities.
- Media is very expensive - as part of a sustainability vision
the Council recommends that the Legislature create a private/public
fund in which foundations, corporations, and others could invest in
ongoing public awareness efforts.
- The Council will fund the development and distribution of the
ITELG and supporting materials; however, resources will limit the
reach of the materials. Any state investment in printing and
distribution will support parents and providers in receiving this
- The Council will fund an online training module for the
guidelines - this aspect of the project will need on-going
administrative and technical support.
Learn more about the ITELG:
Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home
(BEECH) is an innovative research study on quality improvement in
home-based child care. Currently underway in both English and
Spanish, study participants utilize an online professional
development system that consists of 20 highly-interactive training
sessions. If the professional development system proves
effective in improving quality among home-based providers, this
system could be expanded statewide for all home-based providers as
an online professional development tool.
- BEECH is incredibly affordable for the state.
- To run effectively, the system requires an administrator and a
coordinator, as well as funds to solve technology issues as they
- For $500,000, BEECH could be made available to at least 1/2 of
the home-based providers in the state over the next 2 years.
- The cost per provider is about $85 each.
- A Spanish version of the system has already been created, at no
cost to the state.
- Since BEECH is based off of a research-tested and proven parent
training model, it has the potential to serve as an effective
parenting intervention as well.
Learn more about BEECH:
The Council has two projects on early childhood data, The On-Track System
(TOTS) and the Quality
Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). After an extensive
study of the feasibility of an early childhood data exchange
system, known as TOTS, the Council released recommendations to
guide the design and build of an early childhood data system in
Texas in the future. The Council is currently developing a
set of recommendations for the development of a statewide quality
rating and improvement system for Texas. Both of these
projects highlight the importance of early childhood data for the
Council's work and for our state in the future.
- To move forward, TOTS and QRIS will require legislature
- Both systems will require significant resources, including
funding and staff. Learn more about the financial cost of
TOTS in the TOTS
Recommendations. (Information on the cost of the QRIS
will be available in the QRIS Recommendations in 2013.)
Learn more about TOTS and QRIS:
The Texas Community
Campaign for School Readiness is a project that assists local
communities with assessing their early childhood needs and
providing opportunities to improve their local early childhood
systems. In 2011, the Council awarded grants to four
communities in Texas: Brownsville, El Paso, San Antonio, and
Wichita Falls. In each community, the Early Development
Instrument is implemented in kindergarten classrooms, assessing the
school readiness of local children in five areas: social
competence, emotional maturity, language and cognition,
communications skills, and physical health and well-being.
EDI data is collected on individual students, but is aggregated at
the community level to produce results on the community, not
individual students. After receiving their community-level
data, the communities can then plan early childhood systems
improvements based on the data.
Learn more about TCCSR:
Early Childhood Standards Comparison Tool is an online,
searchable database of early childhood program standards,
categorized by broad topics and more specific sub-topics. The
comparison tool will allow users to compare state and federal
program standards, as well as state and national accreditation
standards. Currently in development, the tool will be online
and users will be able to easily search standards with keywords or
through the search feature. The comparison tool will be
hosted on the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office
- Web maintenance of the online tool
- Administration of the online tool
- Updates to the data (program standards) in the future
Learn more about the comparison tool: