Letter from the Chair - March 27, 2013

Happy Spring!  I hope you had a wonderful spring break with your families and friends.  March has been a very busy month for the Texas Early Learning Council.  We started the month off with a major announcement, the release of the new, voluntary Texas Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines!  Thank you to everyone who has shared these Guidelines through email and social media - we're very excited to share these Guidelines with our state and appreciate your help in their promotion!  We have more resources coming soon related to the Guidelines, including new early learning guides for parents and caregivers with information on child development in all four of the domains of growth and development and divided by a child's age (0-8 months, 8-18 months, 18-36 months, and 36-48 months.)  We are also translating the Guidelines into Spanish, which should be available on our website next month, and we have started the process to align the Guidelines to the Texas Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines.

In addition to the new Guidelines, we have some other major projects beginning this month and next month.  We met for the first time with the marketing firm that will be producing the materials (including radio and television ads) for our public awareness campaign.  The public awareness campaign will focus on some key elements of the Guidelines, including responsive caregiving and selecting quality child care.  We're also developing a new website for the public awareness campaign, www.littletexans.org, to feature all the resources we're creating for the Guidelines and the public awareness campaign, including printable documents and downloadable videos.  We are also inching closer to selecting a vendor to develop the new Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System; the decision could be made as early as next week!  We will also be reviewing proposals soon from vendors seeking to develop new, online training modules for early childhood practitioners and administrators based on the Core Competencies.  These training modules will be available on the TECPDS website later this year.

Also coming soon are reports from two of our major research projects, the early childhood workforce compensation study and the higher education articulation agreement toolkit.  The compensation study looks at the pay, benefits, and retention of early childhood providers in Texas, both home-based and center-based.  We will post the final report of the compensation study on our website in the next few months.  As we discussed in our newsletter last month, the higher education articulation agreement toolkit is almost complete and will be posted on our website in the next few weeks.  The final report will be a toolkit to assist institutions of higher education to create articulation agreements that better support early childhood education and child development students who transfer from local community and junior colleges to other institutions, like 4-year universities.  Both of these projects produced some interesting insights into the professional landscape of early childhood providers in Texas.  We look forward to sharing these reports with you as soon as they are complete.

Finally, I hope you were able to review the revised Core Competencies that we released through email last month.  After some stakeholder feedback, we decided to revise the previous document and add some new resources for professionals.  Using this new document, I hope you will be better equipped to access your current knowledge and skills and select professional development opportunities.

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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