From the Chair - June 27, 2012

June has moved by very fast and we have seen a number of markers of progress during the month.  A key thing that has emerged this month is that we are really going to need your help!

At various points this summer, we will be soliciting feedback in a number of ways on key products that we are developing for the state of Texas.  Please consider committing some of your valuable time to reviewing documents or participating in some of our stakeholder processes.  Below is a list of events with tentative dates and their descriptions.  If you have any questions about any of the items or would like to express your interest in them, please Contact Us.

New voluntary Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines for Texas. Council members, stakeholders, and researchers at Children's Learning Institute have been working on successive versions of new guidelines for the state of Texas.  These guidelines will consist of four domains of development and speak to what children ages birth to 48 months should know and be able to do.  Ideally, these guidelines will influence professional development, practices in early care and education settings, and support new parents in promoting the healthy development of their children.  These draft guidelines are scheduled to be posted for public comment on July 20, 2012 and will be up for at least 30 days.  The Council will send out multiple e-alerts announcing the posting of the guidelines and asking for feedback.  If you know great candidates to review these guidelines, please ask them to sign-up for our listerv in the box to the right.

New voluntary core competencies for Texas early childhood professionals. The Workforce and Professional Development subcommittee of the Council has been working with April Crawford, Ph.D. to draft new core competencies for Practitioners, Administrators, and Trainers. Core competencies are statements about the professional knowledge and ability in key areas of practice.  These new documents will drive early care and education training and professional development, and will help organizations and individuals set goals related to professional development and practice.  Amazing progress has been made to date! The Council is reviewing drafts of the Administrator and Practitioner competencies.  Next, we will post these documents for public feedback as early as August 1, 2012. Please help us reach as many stakeholders as possible when we announce their posting with an e-alert.

Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) recommendation stakeholder meetings and surveys. QRIS are systems that help providers, parents, and policymakers measure and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs in multiple settings.  They are complex systems that often include tier program requirements for providers, ratings of programs, and funding disbursements to programs based on quality level.  The Council will host 2 stakeholder meetings regarding QRIS - one in September and one in October. We will also be surveying stakeholders throughout the process to acquire more information about specific topics along the way.  If you are interested in our stakeholder meetings, please email us to let us know. If you want to participate in our surveys, please stay tuned to our listserv.  The first one should be launched in early July.

Online comparison tool parent survey. The Council is creating a new online crosswalk tool that will allow users to readily compare different sets of state and federal program standards, as well as national accreditation standards.  Traditionally, these tools speak to providers and administrators only; however, we also want to make the tool as usable for parents as possible.  To that end, Council staff is conducting focus groups to inform the development of the tool, which, fortunately, we collected enough participants; however, we will also be doing a follow-up survey of parents to confirm some of our findings from the focus groups. This survey should launch in late July. If you work with parents, please help us get it in their hands!

Consultation for early childhood education degree articulation agreements. Finally we need your help getting out the word about our newest request for proposals. The Council is seeking to contract with a consultant to conduct research on early childhood education degree articulation agreements between higher education institutions in Texas. You can read more details about the opportunity on our RFP page. The submittal deadline is July 17, 2012.

As you can see there is a tremendous amount of work underway.  Our final products will only be better with your support, feedback, and participation.

Sincerely,

John W. Gasko, Ph.D.

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