Looking Forward to 2012
2011 was an exciting year for the Texas Early Learning Council! We have made great progress on many of our initiatives to improve school readiness in Texas. Each of our Subcommittees has produced great work, and the Council looks forward to continuing our important work in 2012. Next year, the Council will release recommendations to Governor Perry on early childhood data systems and quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS). Our two-year projects, Texas Community Campaign for School Readiness and Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home (BEECH), will complete the first phase of work. Also, work on our expansive projects, especially the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System, will near completion. Finally, the Council will release our statewide early childhood needs assessment and launch the crosswalk tool for Texas early childhood stakeholders. Read more about the Council's work in 2012 on each of our initiatives, organized by Subcommittee.
The second year of the Council's grant began in October 2011. A summary of the Council's work in the first year of our grant is available in our 2011 Annual Report. To learn more about our projects and view a graphical representation of the Council's initiatives over the course of our three-year grant, see pages 10 and 11 in the 2011 Annual Report.
Data and QRIS
After an extensive feasibility study on The On-Track System (TOTS), a comprehensive, early childhood data exchange system, the Council is developing recommendations to Governor Perry. These recommendations will outline the feasibility issues for an early childhood data system for Texas, and establish steps that the State should take to implement TOTS in the future. Look for these recommendations to be released to the public in early 2012. Also, the Council is creating recommendation to the Governor for the development of a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). These recommendations will also be released to the public in 2012.
Collaborations and Standards
In Spring 2012, the Council will pilot and launch a new early childhood comparison tool of national accreditations and state standards for early care and education programs. The crosswalk tool will also be modular, allowing other organizations to host the crosswalk tool on their own websites. Working with a 25-member stakeholder group, the Council will continue work on the Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines (ITELG). In 2012, the Council will complete the development of the new ITELG, align these ITELG to the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, and develop the new statewide outreach campaign for the ITELG. Finally, the Council's mentoring research study on home-based child care, Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home (BEECH), will conclude its first round of research on home-based child care providers. In Fall 2012, the second round of 90 providers will begin the study.
Parental Outreach and Communications
The Council is conducting a statewide, early childhood needs assessment, gap analysis of services, and a child population projection to 2050. The needs assessment projects will be completed in 2012. The Council will release the findings of the needs assessment, gap analysis, and population projections in Spring and Summer 2012. The four communities in the Texas Community Campaign for School Readiness, a local early childhood needs assessment and systems planning project, will complete the first round of Early Development Instrument (EDI) assessments on kindergarten students in their communities during the Spring 2012 semester. Brownsville, El Paso, San Antonio, and Wichita Falls will also begin data analysis on the EDI results and begin their systems planning work, with the guidance of their newly-formed local stakeholders groups. After completing the initial outreach project, the Council's website, the statewide outreach campaign on school readiness will continue in 2012. The Council will be conducting a gap analysis of existing outreach programs and writing recommendations to the Governor to improve outreach to underrepresented populations in the future.
Workforce and Professional Development
The development of the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS) will continue throughout 2012. All components of TECPDS will be completed in Spring 2012. Resources materials for the system, including a cross-sector, early childhood professional compensation study, will also be completed in 2012. The Council will then develop materials to support the targeted pilot programs and final launch of the system in 2013. Additionally, the Council will begin researching and locating model higher education articulation agreements between 2-year and 4-year higher education institutions. This work with support the development of a toolkit and resources in 2013 for other institutions to replicate successful articulation agreements to support early childhood professionals seeking higher education opportunities.
Stay connected with the Council by joining our e-mail listserv (in the right-hand menu on our website) and by connecting with our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We send updates on our projects and opportunities to get involved in our work to our stakeholders regularly. The Council wishes you a Happy New Year!