From the Chair - June 30, 2011

The Council is continuing to move forward on many of our important goals.  I am particularly excited to report about efforts on our Data Systems project.  As you may know already, the Council is currently investigating the feasibility of building an integrated early childhood data system for Texas, which we are calling The On-Track System (TOTS). In June, Council members met in Austin for a visioning session on this project.  Key themes explored were:

  • What does long-term success of TOTS look like?
  • What are key business questions to be considered in the development of TOTS?
  • Should TOTS measure the progress of children, programs, or both?
  • How should information be delivered: system usability considerations?
  • How aligned are systems in Texas?

The visioning session was a great step forward in consideration of the feasibility of building TOTS.  Our next step is to conduct a summit on TOTS in July to solicit more critical stakeholder feedback on the topic.

We are also excited to report that we released Where Do We Go From Here: Designing a Quality Rating and Improvement System in Texas, an in-depth working paper that maps out the Texas early care and education system, and broaches important subjects relevant to the development of a QRIS in our state. If you would like to know more about the Council's QRIS efforts, please visit our webpage on the subject.

Two other exciting developments this month were the release of the Texas Community Campaign for School Readiness request for proposals and the start of our contract with the Ray Marshall Center and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas to conduct the first statewide early childhood needs assessment in Texas in 40 years.  These two incredible needs identification projects will go a long way in designing our state's approach to early childhood issues, focusing resources in the most appropriate ways, and informing stakeholders and policymakers about our most critical early childhood needs.

Finally, Council members and staff continue to work diligently to craft new Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines for the state, creating new supports for the early care and education workforce.  More updates will come on these important projects next month.


John W. Gasko, Ph.D.

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