From the Chair - March 25, 2011

The Texas Early Learning Council is moving rapidly to implement important projects aimed at improving school readiness in our state, and we are gaining knowledge along the way.  Council Members recently visited the United Way in Wichita Falls, Texas to investigate community level school readiness assessments; our Council Manager, Don Titcombe traveled to Washington DC to learn the most up to date trends in early care and education and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems in the country; I recently returned from Yale University were I spoke on a panel at the Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference on ensuring quality in early childhood programs.  The scope of the work included in the Texas Early Learning Council's three year plan to improve school readiness in our state requires that the Council continue to expand its knowledge of early childhood research and trends.  I encourage you to continue to learn along with us.  Please be sure to follow us on Facebook andTwitter.  Also be sure to take a look at some of the pieces in our "What are we Reading" section of all of our INSIGHT e-newsletters.

Our Council is currently moving forward on many fronts.  In workforce and professional development, we have drafted a career lattice for the Texas early care and education workforce; look for us to ask you for your feedback on it soon.  We are also reviewing Texas's Core Knowledge and Skills Areas for early childhood professionals, hoping to expand their relevance to all sectors and their comprehensiveness in describing early care and education competencies.  Our work on a new early childhood Data system for Texas is set to begin next month.  Please take a look at our website to read more about our Data systems plans.  The Council's work on understanding the early care and education needs of Texas took an exciting step forward last week, as researchers responded to our request for proposals (RFPs) for a statewide early childhood needs assessment.  Ideally, we will award this contract next month. To improve collaboration and knowledge among the sectors of our Texas early care and education landscape, the Council posted an RFP last week for research and design related to a program standards crosswalk tool. There is still time to submit your proposal!  Finally, the Council sent out invitations to community members to participate in our Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines Steering Committee.  These 15-20 experts and community leaders, will inform and guide our process as we develop new voluntary Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines for Texas.  Our Council is also working closely with ZERO-TO-THREE to inform this process.

As you can see, the Texas Early Learning Council is moving fast to improve school readiness in our state.  It is important to us that we hear from community members, stakeholders, policymakers and others throughout this three year process, and we need your help to do so.  Please help us spread the word about our projects.  Our newsletter will always announce new RFPs, important events, opportunities to provide the Council with critical feedback on projects, and key information on early care and education.  We could use your help getting the message out.

John W. Gasko, Ph.D.

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