Letter from the Chair - July 31, 2013

It's been a busy and exciting month for the Texas Early Learning Council, especially in the last few days. We are putting the final touches on our statewide public awareness campaign on the importance of early childhood and responsive caregiving, branded as "Little Texans. Big Futures." After many months of planning, our TV, radio, and online ads will start airing in Texas on Monday, August 5!  If you live in Houston, Dallas, or the Lower Rio Grande Valley, you will see and hear the TV and radio ads over the next eight weeks.  We have also secured time to air the TV commercials with local PBS stations across Texas, and our online campaign has a statewide reach.

We created a new website for the public awareness campaign, which will include a new online tool to view the Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines, new parenting guides based on the Guidelines, information about selecting quality child care and the importance of screening for developmental delays, and all of the TV and radio ads from the awareness campaign!  We'll be sending an email on Monday, August 5th to announce the campaign and the new website. After you've had a chance to visit the website, come to our new Little Texans. Big Futures. Facebook page to tell us your favorite TV ad!

The Council also released three new resources for our state this month.  First, the Vietnamese version of the Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines was released this month to complement the versions in English and Spanish.  We are happy to be able to provide the Guidelines to child care providers and parents who speak the third most spoken language in Texas.  Also, the report from the Texas Early Childhood Workforce Compensation Study was released last week.  I hope you've had a chance to review this new data on wages, benefits, and retention of child care professionals in Texas.  Also, the new mentoring toolkit, "Partners in Action," was released.

Next month, we will be finalizing the Council's recommendations for a statewide quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for Texas. Earlier this month, the Council approved the draft recommendations.  These recommendations will detail how our state could create a QRIS to promote quality improvement in early childhood programs.

Finally, the new Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS) is almost complete. This new system will house the Texas Trainer Registry and a new Texas Workforce Registry, as well as lots of new resources for professionals. For example, we are almost finished with new online training modules based on the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators. These modules will allow professionals to learn about the Core Competencies and receive a certificate for training hours. We're also finishing two new sets of core competencies for trainers and mentors that will be available soon. We'll have more information on TECPDS, the Core Competencies, and the new training modules in the next few weeks.

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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