By Sharron Harrington, Executive Director
I’m excited to welcome 2024! This past year saw a lot of big beginnings and expansions in Vermont’s early childhood education system. To start, Act 76 became law. Here at VTAEYC, we launched the new System for Program Access to Resources for Quality Supports (SPARQS). We expanded programs for every stage of career development, from scholarships to student loan repayment, from gap grants to apprenticeships, and we kept up aligning systems and processes with the Unifying Framework for a future national ECE profession.
It’s a lot of work to start and expand big initiatives. When you’re working in an early childhood education program, it is also a lot of work to keep track of all these changes, and how they affect you.
What I look forward to in 2024 is momentum – locking new systems into place, and seeing how they provide real benefits to you, and Vermont’s children and families.
Our VTAEYC team has the energy and spirit to help our new and expanded programs fly, the creativity to incorporate what they learn from you, and the tools to make necessary tweaks. Look below for lots of opportunities to learn what’s coming next from VTAEYC.
And we hear your questions as a new legislative session begins, Act 76 implementation continues, CCFAP rates increase, and the Universal Pre-K committee begins their year-long study. In addition to our own resources, we’ll keep you connected to resources from the CDD, Let’s Grow Kids, First Children’s Finance, the Commission for Professional Excellence in ECE, and others.
Most of all, we’ll continue to advocate for equity and excellence in early childhood education for children, families, and early childhood educators.
2024 NAEYC Public Policy Forum Goes Virtual
Details and registration
VTAEYC + NAEYC members: Save the date for this year’s Public Policy Forum, February 25-26. This year’s event is virtual only. Vermont’s Team Lead is Beth Wallace, VTAEYC’s Associate Director of ECE Engagement.
Registration is $100 for members in good standing. The fee for nonmembers is $130 and includes an entry-level membership.
Registration is now open. This year, register directly through naeyc.org/events/policy-forum.
New Advancing as a Profession PD:
Communicating About Our Professional Identity
It’s time to share with our communities who we are and what we do in order to get public support for an early childhood education profession with well-compensated, well-prepared, individually licensed early childhood educators across all settings.
This workshop is centered around the recently-developed “Professional Identity Toolkit” that is full of ideas and resources for communicating with families and others about the unique role and specialized skills that early childhood educators have in their work with children and families. Learn more about Advancing as a Profession and register.
New: SPARQS Overview Webinar, CLASS Trainings
January 10, 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Details and registration for the SPARQS Overview
Have you heard of SPARQS, but are unsure what it is or how it can help your program?
The SPARQS Overview webinar will help attendees gain an understanding of the System for Program Access to Resources for Quality Supports (SPARQS). By the end of the training participants will be able to identify the mission of SPARQS as well as its three main components; Coaching and Support Services, Assessments, and the Vermont Early Childhood Networks. Attendees will learn who the dedicated Quality Support Specialist is for their region and have a chance to ask questions about the program as a whole.
Also: Register for a CLassroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) training with Nikki Bearor. This series will help familiarize ECE programs with this assessment tool. Each training includes 1.5 professional development hours. Learn more and register for a CLASS training.
Curtis Fund Commitment Scholarship Expands,
Spring Applications Close January 15
Earn a Child Care Certificate from CCV tuition-free, and get paid a stipend, with the Curtis Fund Commitment Scholarship Program. This scholarship is now open to any student enrolled or enrolling in the Child Care Certificate program at CCV.
Applications for Spring 2024 are due January 15. Learn more and apply.
✅ Northern Lights Enters #vtaeycAC Attendance
From Northern Lights: VTAEYC Conference Attendance has been entered! Northern Lights at CCV is responsible for entering attendance from sponsors into BFIS Quality Credentialing accounts. This year, the VTAEYC annual conference included 43 training sessions with more than 1,900 individual attendance entries.
If you do not see a session in your BFIS account or didn’t receive a specific DPD form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
VTAEYC is Hiring: ECE Program Assessment Specialist
VTAEYC is hiring an ECE Program Assessment Specialist, part or full time.
This position offers an exciting opportunity for experienced and passionate early childhood educators who are skilled at providing technical assistance and consultation to programs on continuous quality improvements to advance in a Quality Rating Systems (QRS), such as Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS). Ideal candidates will have direct knowledge of approved STars Assessment tools, including CLASS. Learn more and apply.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program
Reduces ECE Debt by $120K in December
In December, the Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program for Early Childhood Educators helped pay down $120,000 in Vermont ECEs’ student loan debt.
Do you have student loan payments? The Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program for Early Childhood Educators provides up to $4,000 per year to reduce the student debt of full-time early childhood educators. Under new eligibility guidelines, many early childhood educators also receive a $4,000 retroactive payment. That’s $8,000 toward your student loan debt this year. Learn more at vtaeyc.org/slrap.