February 2012 - Initiative Updates at the Midpoint of Our Grant

February is flying by.  There is a lot of work to do on the Council's plan, and we are starting to feel the crunch.  In case you were not aware, the Council must complete all of our initiatives by August 31, 2013.  Now that we have reached the half way point of Fiscal Year 2012, it is important for us to look at what we have done and where we still need to go.  Below is an update on the status of all of our current projects and what is coming up on the horizon.  Please visit the embedded links to learn more about each specific project.

Data and QRIS:

  • The Council voted to stop development on TOTS due to sustainability and governance concerns; however, significant progress has been made in our state to bring us closer to creating an integrated early childhood data exchange system for Texas.  The Council will publish recommendations for the state on this matter by the middle of the summer 2012.
  • We are currently in negotiations with a vendor for our Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) project.  The Council will work with stakeholders and experts to produce a QRIS program design and recommendations for the creation of a QRIS in Texas.  This project should be completed by March 2013.

Workforce and Professional Development:

  • Council staff, as well as Texas Early Care and Education Career Development System staff, are working very hard to build a new Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS) for the state.  The system will include new core competencies for early care and education professionals, a career ladder, resources, the Texas Trainer Registry, and a workforce registry.
    • Currently the new trainer registry is nearing the end of its first development phase.
    • Work on the workforce registry will begin at the completion of the trainer registry.
    • Drafts for practitioner competencies and administrator competencies are nearing completion.
    • Work on competencies for coaches and mentors as well as trainers will begin at the completion of the practitioner and administrator competencies.
    • Work on the career ladder will begin at the completion of the practitioner competencies.
    • The entire Registry system should be ready to pilot by January or February 2013.
    • Council staff has also been working on a contract to conduct a compensation study of the early care and education workforce in the state.  Staff is finalizing the details of the agreement, and, the project should be complete by March 2013.
  • Council staff is currently investigating the feasibility of conducting a meta-analysis on mentoring and coaching.  Preliminary findings are leading us to believe that there is not a sufficient body of research on the subject to warrant a meta-analysis; however, a systematic review is still possible.  (Meta-analyses are statistical analyses of effect sizes of all research in a particular area - a "study of studies"; systematic reviews are methodical reviews of research to date on a particular subject.)  We are still investigating the issue; however, a final product should be ready by February 2013.
  • Finally, staff is currently looking into launching an RFP for a study of higher education articulation agreements related to early care and education degree programs.  We are just beginning to flesh out the details of this project.  The final product should be ready by March 2013.

Parental Outreach and Communications:

  • The Council is currently working with the Ray Marshall Center and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas to conduct an Early Childhood Needs Assessment in Texas-the first one in 40 years! This project will be complete by September 2012.
  • The Council launched its Texas Community Campaign for School Readiness during the Summer of 2011.  So far, our grantees are doing great.  Look for updates on the communities' progress in the next few months.  Work on the Texas Community Campaign for School Readiness will end in August of 2013.  Our grantees include:

United Way of Southern Cameron County for the Brownsville community.
United Way of El Paso County for the El Paso community.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County for the San Antonio community.
North Texas Area United Way for the Wichita Falls community.

  • Using the data gleaned from the needs assessment, the Council will embark on a robust public awareness campaign in year 3 of our grant.  This project will terminate in August 2013.

Collaborations and Standards:

  • The Council, staff, and a group of 25 stakeholders from locations throughout Texas are working on creating new voluntary Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines for Texas.  Researchers at Children's Learning Institute have already begun the actual drafting of the guidelines based on guiding principles and input from our stakeholder group. These guidelines should be ready in draft form by the end of summer 2012.
  • Council staff has been working diligently on creating a new early care and education program standards comparison tool for Texas.  Council staff has completed "crosswalking" the standards and is now refining the matrix.  Soon, our web developer will begin work to build the online tool.  The final product should be ready for review by mid-summer 2012.
  • Finally, researchers at the Children's Learning Institute are one-quarter of the way through a pilot research project on family-based child care called Beginning Education: Early Child Care at Home (BEECH).  The intervention includes the creation an online learning network specifically attuned to unique needs of family-based child care, as well as mentoring for a portion of the study participants.  This research will be completed by August 2013.

We will continue to update you on the progress of our initiatives through our INSIGHT newsletters, Important Update emails, social media pages, and on our website.  Stay connected to the Council for opportunities to get involved in our initiatives and work towards improving school readiness in Texas!

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