The third webinar in the Making Strides in Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) Series took place on October 6, 2016. The focus of the webinar was approaches to professional development, and we heard from representatives from Maricopa County Human Services Department in Arizona and their partners. Supporting the early care and education (ECE) workforce has been a central focus of many EHS-CCP grantees and in the webinar we learned about the innovative strategies taking place in Maricopa County. While the recording of the webinar isn’t posted yet, it will be available – along with questions and answers – on ECLKC, and we will post the link here when available.
Maricopa County Human Services Department has a deep history implementing Head Start and Early Head Start, and like many other grantees EHS-CCP was the first time they formally partnered with child care providers. From the beginning of the partnerships staff at the Department recognized the need to support directors alongside child care teachers, and they developed strategies to train staff and sustain improvements made at child care partner sites.
One of the highlights from last week’s webinar was hearing about the ‘Director’s Academy’ implemented as part of Maricopa County Human Services Department’s grant. We learned that Maricopa County Human Services Department held a kick off “baby shower” event with directors to celebrate the new partners, introduce them to the Head Start Program Performance Standards, and build rapport among a group of peers. This collaborative learning structure provides ongoing opportunity for training as well as peer support.
We also learned about the Education Navigator Initiative, which is an important part of Maricopa County Human Services’ EHS-CCP grant efforts to support teachers’ professional development. The grantee partnered with Rio Salado College for this initiative. Teachers are supported to identify gaps in training, develop individualized professional development plans, and receive support for other educational services (e.g., assistance with college admissions processes, scholarship applications). This tailored approach helps to ensure teachers are successful in their journey to achieve a CDA and beyond. The Education Navigator also provides ‘education cohorts’ in which groups of teachers collaborate on key aspects of their professional development – such CDA completion, course assignments, and study groups. Partners are seeing improvements in teacher behavior as a result of this effort!
A central theme emerged in the webinar, which is the strong importance of engaging directors in order to successfully engage teachers. Having a support structure to help ensure directors have the tools they allows directors to foster an environment in their programs that help teachers achieve success. We look forward to hearing more about Maricopa County Human Services’ implementation activities in the future!
We’ll post a link to the recorded webinar when it is available. In the meantime, you might be interested to check out the first two webinars in the series, along with other resources and tools, posted on the Making Strides in Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships page on ECLKC.
Foundations for Families offers EHS-CCP grantees targeted technical assistance and strength-based coaching of key start-up staff. We have helped multiple organizations design, plan for, and draft successful proposals for EHS-CCP. Please be in touch with Amy Augenblick, Executive Director, at 703-599-4329 or [email protected] to learn about how we can support you and your program.