Letter from the Chair - March 28, 2012

A tremendous amount of work has been completed by the Council in the month of March.  We have delivered presentations, signed contracts, and completed drafts of deliverables.  We have moved the ball significantly on some of our major projects.  First, on our work to develop new voluntary Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines, we have signed a contract with Richards/Carlberg to conduct market research on how new and expecting parents access, receive, and utilize information on child development, and to design a marketing approach for the guidelines to ensure they get into the hands of as many parents as possible.  Additionally, our volunteer writers have completed drafting 3 major sections of the new guidelines, which will be handed off to our stakeholder group for review in early April.  Secondly, the Council has finished the second draft of its recommendations to the Governor on early childhood data systems in Texas.  The Council will work to finalize these recommendations by mid May.

Next, the Council signed a contract and began work on developing Quality Rating and Improvement System recommendations for Texas.  The Council selected ICF as a vendor for this initiative, and we are really excited to work with them on this important project.  The QRIS initiative will include three rounds of stakeholder events to discuss, vet, and validate the vendor's findings.  Please let us know if you would like to participate in these events by emailing us: stateadvisorycouncil@uth.tmc.edu. We also have made major strides in developing new core competencies for early childhood professionals in Texas.  Our staff has developed draft versions of competencies for Administrators and Practitioners, which the Council will review this month.  Look for these competencies to be ready for public comment by this summer.  Our web developer has also moved the ball forward on the new Texas Trainer Registry system for Texas, as well.  The new system is 99% finished and will be debuted with the entire Council this month.  It should be ready for public launch by Summer 2012.  Finally, our partners at the University of Texas at Austin - Ray Marshall Center will be submitting their first deliverable to the Council in their work to provide us with the first early childhood needs assessment in Texas in 40 years.

The Council has also gone to great lengths to reprioritize funds that were originally reserved to build The On Track System (TOTS), an interagency early childhood data exchange system.  The Council has finished its process in making new funding decisions, and our new investments are described in the A Closer Look article.  We hope you will take a minute to learn how the Council is trying to improve school readiness in Texas.  We greatly appreciate all the feedback we received during this reinvestment process.

As you can see we have been busy.  Time is a serious risk in completing the Council's projects, so we are moving at a very, very rapid pace. It is important, if any of the Council's projects are important to you or you have feedback to give, that you stay aware of our timelines and stay connected to our communications. Please stay tuned for continued updates on our progress.

Thank you for your continued interest and efforts in support of the Council's work.

Sincerely,

John W. Gasko, Ph.D.

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