Letter from the Chair - August 30, 2013

After three very busy years of work, the Council's three-year grant from the Administration of Children and Families comes to an end on August 31, 2013.  It's hard to believe that almost four years have passed since we started the process of writing our grant application, under the leadership of our previous chair John Gasko.  Serving on the Council has been an incredibly rewarding experience for my fellow Council Members and me.  We are proud of our accomplishments and will to continue serving the early care and education system in Texas.

We will continue to share updates with you through our website, social media accounts, and newsletters.  In the next few months, we will be sharing more resources with you, including the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System and Quality Rating and Improvement System Recommendations.  My fellow Council Members and I will be working in our organizations and networks to continue to share the Council's documents and resources with our state.

This month, we have been working to share the messages of our public awareness campaign on the importance of early childhood and responsive caregiving with parents in our state.  The new Little Texans. Big Futures. website, www.littletexans.org, has received over 23,000 visitors from all over Texas and the nation!  We've gotten excellent feedback from parents, child care providers, and policymakers - I hope you've had a chance to visit the website, view the TV and radio ads, and check out all the other resources on the website for parents and early childhood providers.

Currently, the Council is reviewing the second draft of the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Recommendations.  These recommendations are designed to help our state develop a statewide, cross-sector QRIS.  The Council dedicated significant time to these recommendations at our two Council meetings this year.  We hope to release these recommendations online soon.

I hope you have had an opportunity to review the two new documents we released in August, an alignment of Texas' early learning guidelines and the final report on our study of the capacity and effectiveness of higher education to meet the needs of students in early childhood programs in Texas.  Texas' Early Learning Pathways is an alignment of the Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines and the Texas Pre-kindergarten Guidelines.  The document creates a birth to five early learning continuum for Texas.  The final report of the higher education capacity and effectiveness study details the results of our study, including data from higher education institutions themselves and recent graduates of their programs in early childhood and child development.

Finally, the new, completely online Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System will launch in October 2013 at the Texas AEYC Conference in San Antonio.  We are currently conducting user testing on the system (the new Texas Trainer Registry and an all-new Texas Workforce Registry) and will have more updates soon!

Thank you for your continued support of the Council and our work to improve school readiness in Texas.

Sincerely,

LaShonda Y. Brown

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