Memo about Vermont Early Childhood Professional Development System

17 November 2016

Memorandum

To: Child Care and Early Learning Providers         

From:   Reeva Murphy, DCF Deputy Commissioner for Child Development     

Subject:  Vermont’s Early Childhood Professional Development System

Date:             November 17, 2016

Cc:                  Melissa Riegel-Garrett, Ken Schatz, Hal Cohen, Community Child Care Support Agencies

Dear Child Care Providers:

I’m writing to provide you with current and accurate information on CDD support for your professional growth and professional development opportunities.

With funding from the Federal Government under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), CDD invests approximately 1.4 million dollars a year to provide a professional development system for Vermont and regional professional development opportunities across Vermont. Our primary goal is to support you in providing professional practice that results in great daily experiences and healthy development for children and relationships with families that promote family strengths. We believe an excellent, comprehensive, well-coordinated professional development system has the potential to improve the environments you work in, increase respect for your important and complex work, and your well-being as professionals who make a difference in the lives of Vermont’s children and families every day.

Our current system that includes Northern Lights Career Development Center and Resource Development activities in 12 regional Community Child Care Support Agencies  does some very good work and has provided essential supports for the child care workforce for many years. As we’ve studied that system over the past five years, we’ve found that improvements are needed to make training and professional opportunities more coordinated, consistent, accessible and known across the state. We want to make sure that the system is built on what research tells us about best practice and incorporates all of the required training and qualifications in new federal requirements and in Vermont’s revised child care regulations.  We want to make it work for you.

Last January, with participation and advisement from the Building Bright Futures Professional Preparation and Development Committee and Community Child Care Support Agency Executive Directors, CDD made a commitment in the CCDBG State Plan to transform Vermont’s Early Childhood Professional Development System (VT EC PDS) beginning in January of 2017. Lots of details on that yearlong effort can be found at http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/ecpds-transformation.

Transformation, by definition, means change. The components of the VT ECPDS will include the systems elements and functions of the Northern Lights Career Development Center, the Bright Futures Information System, and Regional Professional Development Opportunities including regionally based training specialists or coaches that you can call for information and support. Our commitment to investing in professional development for the early childhood and afterschool workforce has not changed. It will not be the same system you know today and the people you call may change but the system is not going away.

CDD is negotiating with a community based organization and potential partners to administer the transforming VT ECPDS in January 2017.  There will be a period of transition as things change. During that time, CDD is committed to ensuring that elements of the system that are critical to you, the providers, remain in place.  

CDD’s licensing team is ready to work with you if the transition in the professional development system affects meeting licensing requirements, though we do not anticipate that it will. There will be on-going opportunities available for professional development throughout any transition period. Here’s how to find them 

  1. Search the Bright Futures Information System Course Calendar to find professional development opportunities scheduled around the state.  Click here to find the Course Calendar.  Vermont Afterschool has trainings listed as Statewide, and many Starting Points groups post their trainings in the Course Calendar.  If you’ve never used the statewide calendar before, you can find a guide for using the system here:  Course Calendar Tutorial.
  2. The CDD licensing unit has designed and piloted an Introduction to the New Regulations training and this will be offered on-line and in regional trainings beginning in January of 2017.  In addition, an orientation package that meets the new orientation requirement of the regulations is also being designed and will be offered in early winter of 2017. Check on the CDD website for information about the new regulations and trainings at: http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/laws-regs
  3. Trainings are often available through approved Northern Lights sponsors and other state agencies such as the Vermont Department of Health.  To ensure that any training you participate in meets the definition of professional development in the regulations (rule 2.2.36), please be sure that when you sign up, the sponsor provides you with verification of your attendance that meets the Northern Lights requirements (see the Certificates of Attendance list on the Northern Lights Cover Page at: NL Cover Sheet )
  4. A variety of low-cost options for on-line training is listed on the Northern Lights website at NL Approved Online Sponsors

CDD will continue to provide you with accurate and up to date information about the transformation process, transition and on-going opportunities for professional development. You can follow our updates on the CDD Blog at http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd-blog .

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we express our gratitude to your dedicated services as child care providers for children and families in Vermont. Because of you, thousands of parents can go to work each day, knowing that their child is safe, happy and well cared for.  We sincerely appreciate the work that you do.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.