Letter from the Chair - May 24, 2013
The month of May has flown by for us at the Council! We have been very busy all month working on some important projects, especially the Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines. With only a few months left on our grant, which ends on August 31, 2013, we will be sharing lots of new resources with you over the next few months. One of these new resources, the Texas Early Childhood Education Degree Articulation Agreement, is profiled in our Closer Look article.
First, I would like to share some exciting news - we will be distributing over 21,000 copies of the Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines to individuals and organizations across Texas! The order is currently at the printer and shipments will begin soon! The Guidelines will be delivered to over 300 communities in Texas! Over the past month, Council staff have been busy preparing new parenting resources to complement the Guidelines, including four parenting guides, available in English and Spanish. These will be available online in the next few months at www.littletexansbigfutures.org, but will also be printed and available at some libraries, pediatricians' offices, and WIC clinics in different areas of Texas. Also, to complement the English and Spanish versions, look for a new Vietnamese translation of the Guidelines to be available on our website in June.
I would also like to share some exciting news from last month related to theBeginning Education: Early Childcare at Home (BEECH) project. As you may recall, the project is a randomized control trial of a new online professional development system for home-based child care providers. We have two BEECH research studies, one among English-speaking providers in Houston and another among Spanish-speaking providers in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. After two years, the data collection for the first phase of the study (English-speaking providers) is complete! We are still collecting data for the Spanish-speaking providers (Phase II), but will finish in the summer.
I hope you have had a chance to review the Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool. The Comparison Tool allows users to compare program standards and accreditation standards for child care programs, including both state, federal, and national standards. After a lengthy development period, we launched the Comparison Tool in March 2013. Since then, we have received over 1500 visitors to the website!
Next month, we will be focusing on the public awareness campaign. The television and radio ads will be filmed next month, and we're looking forward to the ads airing in last summer! We're working with a marketing firm that previously helped us with the marketing the Guidelines last year. Before selecting a theme for the campaign, they conducted focus groups and interviews with both English and Spanish-speaking parents. Look for more information next month!
Finally, I hope you will be able to join us at the Council's next public meeting in Austin on Friday, May 31. Afterwards, the Council will be discussing some critical details about our recommendation for a statewide Quality Rating and Improvements System (QRIS). We will be spending the summer writing these recommendations. If you're interested in our decision-making about the QRIS recommendations, review the QRIS Strategic Plan.
Thank you for your continued support of the Council and our work to improve school readiness in Texas.
LaShonda Y. Brown