Graduates pose against a gray wall

VTAEYC News: Full Circle at VTSU Graduation

By Sharron Harrington and Brenda Schramm

Dear colleagues,

Sharron Harrington and Brenda Schramm are co-writing this letter: as supervising faculty at Vermont State University (VTSU) in addition to directing VTAEYC’s Career Advancement department, Brenda recently participated in graduation at VTSU’s Lyndon campus. She had the honor of walking with VTSU ECE Online bachelor’s degree graduates, including many VTAEYC’s T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Vermont scholars.

We want to spotlight two grads: Vickie Gratton, a member of our T.E.A.C.H. Advisory Committee, graduated while she is also opening Spark Academy, a much-needed early childhood education center in Swanton. Way to go, Vickie!

Anne Simonds and I (Brenda) started working on our degrees together years ago, when we were both running family child care homes. Our careers took different paths, but we are reunited as colleagues, since Anne is now one of our Quality Support Specialists on the SPARQS team. She worked hard to reach this degree, and it was so special to walk together for her graduation. Congratulations, Anne!

VTSU graduates pushed through COVID and personal obstacles to reach their bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education. The VTSU ECE Online program was created at the right time for them, allowing students to hone in on what they needed to do to earn that degree. It is intense, but so gratifying for the graduates. This model has been so successful, and worked for our students really well: our first cohort had 10, and this spring, we had 30 students graduate. Some are going on to master’s degrees.

We give a lot of credit to VTSU ECE Online Program Director Heather Duhamel, who knows how to collaborate and build student success. She just joined VTAEYC as our part-time Higher Education Outreach Manager—welcome, Heather!

Higher ed programs like VTSU/Castleton and VTSU ECE Online are critical to preparing our talented and committed workforce. VTAEYC’s Career Advancement team is here with resources like T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® scholarships and to help ECE students navigate their pathways and options.

Every graduate is part of the solution: leading ECE classrooms, opening programs, increasing program capacity, and rising as leaders and advocates for children, families, and high quality early childhood education.

Our heartfelt congratulations to all graduates!

Pictured above: VTSU ECE Online graduates and faculty

VTSU ECE Online Graduates

Abigail Gendreau | Bristol Family Center
Amanda Clark | Family Child Care Home
Amy Glen
Anne Simonds | VTAEYC
Ariel Rose
Ashlin Velez | Part 2: The Early Years
Cassidy Kittredge
Desiree Vatter
Elisa Jones
Elliemae Bachelder
Eva Pare-Maynard
Faith Sullivan
Heather Smires
Jessica Collins
Karen Harrington | Northshire Day School
Leah Lagasse
Mariah Gadwah
Megan Chenaille
Meghan Krueger
Michele Bowen
Morgan Williams
Nikita Lenahan | World of Discovery
Stephanie Muñoz Wells | Northshire Day School
Summer Spaulding | Orange County PCC
Susan Lapointe | Little Tots Academy on the Commons
Tina Clark
Trudy Heinrichs | The Little School
Tysea Kurjiaka | The Little School
Vickie Gratton | Spark Academy
Whitney Andrews

Graduating? Apply for Student Loan Repayment Assistance

Congratulations, early childhood education graduates!

The Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program offers up to $4,000 in education debt relief per year for eligible Vermont early childhood educators.

Apply by July 15 and you may qualify for a one-time supplemental payment of an additional $4,000!

“The Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program has been truly life-changing for me! I no longer worry about how I’ll stretch my budget to ensure my loans are paid each month.”
– Vermont Early Childhood Educator

Learn more about the Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program for Early Childhood Educators and apply!

Professional Recognition Bonuses! Grace Period Ends July 15

Did you complete a degree or credential this year? Congratulations! If you are eligible for a new or higher Career Ladder Level Certificate, you may also be eligible for a professional recognition bonus.

If you have never applied for a Level Certificate or if you earned a Level Certificate after 2018 but didn’t receive a bonus, VTAEYC continues to offer a time-limited grace period for recognition bonuses with generous funding from the CDD. The grace period ends July 15.

Click here to learn more about Professional Recognition Bonuses and the time-limited grace period.

Join Today: VTAEYC+NAEYC Members Receive Early Registration to Annual Conference

In 2024, VTAEYC+NAEYC members will receive the benefit of early registration to the Annual Conference. Members will also receive a special conference registration rate.

Registration will open in August. There is no non-member early bird access in 2024. Join or renew your VTAEYC+NAEYC membership today to ensure your access to early registration!

Join or renew for early registration to #vtaeycAC 2024

New: CLASS Certification Training July 1-3

July 1-3
8:30 am – 4:00 pm each day | Virtual
$275 fee covers training and certification

In response to requests, Teachstone will offer a three-day CLASS Training July 1-3.

CLASS 2nd Edition Pre-K–3rd Observer Certification Training is a three-day, hands-on training that prepares individuals to certify as CLASS observers with proven reliability in measuring the quality of educator-child interactions across a diversity of settings. With this comprehensive training, participants develop their understanding of the CLASS tool, learn how to formally observe interactions, and become certified to document the quality of interactions, setting the stage for data-driven program improvement.

Register for the Training

CLASS is a tool used by the SPARQS team. Don’t yet receive SPARQS updates? Manage your preferences and subscribe to SPARQS updates here.

VTAEYC Is Hiring!

VTAEYC is hiring for two new positions to support professional development and workforce recruitment and retention.

Early Childhood Education Professional Development Specialist
Early Childhood Education Workforce Development Specialist

See All VTAEYC Job Postings


Early Childhood Education Profession Roundtable Update June 11

The Advancing as a Profession initiative continues our new monthly leadership roundtable update calls for Vermont early childhood educators and stakeholders engaged in the design of a future early childhood education profession!

In our session on June 11, we’ll discuss work on pathways into the profession for the future workforce. This is highly relevant for CTE center directors/ instructors, ECE program directors/ owners, people engaged in ECE preparation programs, ECE students, and other stakeholders.

Register for the June 11 Roundtable at 12:30 PM
Learn more about Roundtable Updates
Learn More About Advancing ECE As A Profession

Wellness Institute for Family Child Care Homes

Saturday, June 22
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Capitol Plaza, Montpelier

You asked, we listened! VTAEYC is excited to offer the 2024 Wellness Institute for Family Child Care Home owners and their staff. Please join us for an exciting day full of professional development, self-care giveaways, and connection and rejuvenation with your peers.

Register For The Wellness Institute


Are You Responsible for Your Program’s Insurance Decisions? Take This NAEYC Survey

NAEYC is seeking strong data about liability insurance challenges: a critical issue gaining attention. For this survey, NAEYC is specifically targeting responses from individuals in programs who are responsible for decisions regarding liability coverage.

English Language Survey
Spanish Language Survey


Read Op-ed “Act 76 Is Leading to Newfound Stability for Child Care Programs and Families”

Our programs are expanding, increasing compensation for our staff and in some instances, offering health insurance and other employee benefits for the first time. In some of our communities, we are even seeing new programs open to meet the demand for quality child care.”

This op-ed by 15 early childhood education leaders has been published in media outlets throughout the state as we near the anniversary of Act 76 becoming law.

Read the Op-Ed


Upcoming Dates from VTAEYC and Partners

Visit our Events Calendar

Registration open: Wellness Institute for Family Child Care Homes, Montpelier, June 22

Registration open: CLASS Pre-K Certification Training, July 1-3

Registration open: Early Childhood Educators Institute, virtual, July 30 + August 1, 6,  8

Save the Date: Vermont Child Care Providers Association Annual Conference, September 21

Save the Date: Vermont Afterschool Annual Conference, October 24+25

Save the Date: VTAEYC Annual Conference, October 28+29