Letter from the Chair - May 30, 2012

The month of May has been a time of determination for the Texas Early Learning Council.  Many of our projects are in those critical middle phases of project development that can seem unending.  Council Members, staff, and stakeholders have all been demonstrating a significant amount of fortitude during this phase of the Council's work.  For example, Council Members have just reviewed the second draft of our early childhood data recommendations for Texas.  This is a very difficult subject area for many, but we are inching closer to consensus-based recommendations that will move the data conversation forward in Texas.  Our Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines Stakeholder Group and our volunteer writers at Children's Learning Institute have traded versions of draft guidelines back and forth several times.  Disagreement is an important part of the process, but sometimes it is hard to remember that at this phase, when people are tired and ready to move forward.

The Council is also at a middle point in its development of new core competencies for early care and education professionals.  Council Members reviewed drafts of competencies for Administrators and Practitioners; now, we need to buckle down and finish the supporting text for the documents, such as introductions and descriptions of how the competencies could be used.  Finally, as our staff dives deeper and deeper into the process of creating both a new online workforce registry and a new standards and guidelines crosswalk tool for the state, the magnitude of the work seems to be growing larger and larger. At the start of the this ambitious plan, we knew these moments would arise, and we knew it would be tough, so I know we can succeed in crossing the finish line with quality products for our state.  We appreciate your patience as we move forward; things may veer off track, but we will keep you informed as best we can about where we are at and how we plan to move forward.

Projects aside, the Council has also recently been through transition regarding membership.  We say goodbye to two outstanding members, Sasha Rasco and Dottie Goodman, as their positions have changed.  At the same time, we welcome two newcomers to the Council: Jonel Huggins and Michelle Adams.  Ms. Huggins is a Program Specialist and 619 Coordinator for the Texas Education Agency and Ms. Adams is the Assistant Commissioner of Child Care Licensing for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.  Read the appointment announcement from the Governor's office.

We thank Sasha and Dottie for all of their hard work and efforts with the Texas Early Learning Council.

Sincerely,

John W. Gasko, Ph.D.

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