Early care and education.

Moving Toward an Early Care and Education Career Pathway in the Washington Region

Washington Region Early Care and Education Workforce Network

Since 2016, the Washington Region Early Care and Education Workforce Network (The Network) has focused on organizing, developing and rolling out an implementation plan to create an early care and education career pathway for the DC region based on educator competencies and tied to compensation and quality.

This multi-jurisdictional project was one of the National Academy of Medicine technical assistance state networks that launched after the release of its 2015 report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8. The Network remains the only one in the country that is working across state lines.

The Network is housed at Washington Area Women’s Foundation with funding from the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative. The Women’s Foundation established the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative in 2008, as a multi-year, multi-million dollar collective funding effort. The Collaborative is supported and directed by corporate funders and local and national foundations.

To catalyze implementation of the Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 recommendations, the National Academy led a national “Implementation Network” of states across the country working to implement recommendations from the report.

In announcing The Network, Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, The Women’s Foundation president and CEO, wrote [link to the content currently posted as Jennifer’s January 5, 2017 post, which should be relocated on the website] , “Our region decided to form a team based on the unique needs in our region, including better serving our multi-cultural immigrant population with high numbers of dual language learners; embracing that the ECE workforce in our region is highly transient across state lines and thus could benefit from transferable credentials and compensation levels; and counteracting the lack of connectedness to a valued profession and to peers in ECE.”

The Network represents different sectors in early care and education (ECE) in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland; City of Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia; and Washington, D.C.  For example, the D.C. state superintendent of education’s office is represented, as are child care resource centers, infant/toddler care centers, and community and family centers in Maryland and Virginia.

Such on-the-ground authorities plus higher education professionals in each jurisdiction lend their expertise through The Network’s 25-member Steering Committee [link to Steering Committee list].  Of the Steering Committee members, seven comprise a Core Team [link to Core Team section], which serves as leadership for the project, overseeing the budget and ensuring streamlined decision-making.

Although localized to best serve the unique nature of the Washington Region, The Network’s career pathway project relies on four of the recommendations for early care and education professionals in the National Academy of Medicine’s Transforming the Workforce report. Those four National Academy recommendations focus on:

 

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The Network’s career pathway project is grounded in four of the recommendations in the National Academy of Medicine’s Transforming the Workforce report, as well as the considerations put forth in the report regarding workforce compensation and well-being.

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In addition, The Network’s project reflects the considerations put forth in the National Academy’s report regarding workforce compensation and well-being.

Guiding the Creation of a Regional Approach to Enhance the ECE Workforce

In 2015, Washington Area Women’s Foundation recruited a wealth of talented, experienced practitioners and thinkers to guide the development of a regional approach to improving early childhood care and education by linking quality and compensation for teachers and care providers. Over a period of months, The Women’s Foundation launched work on the Washington Region Early Care and Education Workforce Network Implementation Plan For Competency-Based Career Pathways, collaboratively tackling one of the region’s most critical issues. 

With funding from the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative, the Foundation provides professional project management services and facilitates the subject matter expertise from the project’s 21-member Steering Committee and a subset Core Team of advisers.

The project purpose is “mapping competency-based career pathways that are linked to quality and compensation and can be used across the region.”  For guideposts, the project has created (1) a career pathways document above and (2) a blueprint for implementation mechanism below.

In addition to furthering the economic, developmental and societal benefits of a robust early care and education delivery system, the project aims to play a central — even transformative — role in  creating high quality early childhood experiences that foster positive learning and development.

Steering Committee, Core Team, & Higher Education Working Group (as of 6-7-2018)

District of Columbia

  • Judy Berman, Deputy Director, DC Appleseed
  • Elizabeth Groginsky*, Assistant Superintendent of Early Learning, Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Government of the District of Columbia
  • BB Otero*, President, Otero Strategy Group

Maryland

  • Barbara Andrews*, Administrator, Early Childhood Services, Children, Youth and Family Services, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Jennifer Arnaiz, Manager of Child Care Resource and Referral Center, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Steven Hicks, Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Early Childhood, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Jacqueline Grant, President, Maryland State Family Child Care Association
  • Jennifer Iverson*, Executive Director, Prince George’s Child Resource Center
  • Gladys Whitehead, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Prince George’s County Public Schools

Virginia

  • Wynne Busman, Executive Director, Infant/Toddler Family Day Care
  • Betsi Closter*, School Readiness Coordinator, Fairfax County Office for Children
  • Malinda Langford, Senior Vice President of Programs, Northern Virginia Family Services
  • Tammy Mann*, President and CEO, The Campagna Center
  • David Remick, Executive Director, Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council
  • Anne-Marie Twohie, Director, Office for Children, Fairfax County Department of Family Services

Higher Education

  • Cecelia Alvarado^, Education Program Coordinator, University of the District of Columbia Community College
  • Teresa Bridger, Professor, Prince George’s Community College
  • Charlene Dukes, President, Prince George’s Community College
  • Kim Kelley^, Vice President & Provost of Rockville Campus, Montgomery College
  • Sonia Pruneda-Hernandez^, Professor, Montgomery College
  • Christine Schull^, Professor and Assistant Dean, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Bweikia (Kia) Steen*^, Associate Professor and Director of Early Childhood Programs, Trinity Washington University
  • Gladys Williams^, Program Director, Educational Administration, Trinity Washington University

Philanthropy/Policy

  • Ameisha Cross, Director of Policy and External Relations, National Black Child Development Institute
  • Cemere James, Vice President of Policy, National Black Child Development Institute

__________________________

*Core Team Member

^ Higher Education Working Group Member

Staff:  Martine Gordon, Early Care and Education Program Officer, Washington Area Women’s Foundation

Core Group

 

Barbara Andrews (right) joins an early childhood teacher in a child and parent activity at the ECS classroom.
Barbara Andrews (right) joins an early childhood teacher in a child and parent activity at the ECS classroom.

Dr. Barbara J. Andrews, Administrator, Early Childhood Services (ECS), Montgomery County, MD

“I see the regional ECE Workforce Network as having the potential to be very powerful in connecting the early childhood workforce of today and helping create the workforce for tomorrow.  Moving to a competency-based framework that can be used across the region will afford more opportunities for everyone who works in the early childhood field and more options for employers.”

Barbara has worked in the education field in early childhood, elementary and before-and-after-school programs for over 30 years.  At ECS, she oversees the Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program, the Child Care Resource and Referral Center, Early Childhood Mental Health, Child Care in Public Space, the Family Involvement Center, two Commissions, and multiple contracts with community partners.  She has experience in the government, non-profit and school sectors.  After working as a teacher in early childhood she attained an MA in Education and Human Development from George Washington University and a Doctorate in Education from George Mason University.  She has worked as an administrator, a grants and professional development specialist, a college professor, and a trainer with students and professionals in education.  While she has worked with all age groups from infancy through adulthood, Barbara’s specialization and passion has always been in early childhood education.

 

BB Otero at a panel discussion. (©2012 Washington Times)
BB Otero at a panel discussion. (©2012 Washington Times) 

Beatriz (BB) Otero, President, Otero Strategy Group, Washington, DC

BB Otero heads an innovative consulting practice integrating education, health, human services and community development supports, with a focus on socially responsible policy and practice. She advises several philanthropic institutions and local governments in strategic planning, policy development and funding strategies. Ms. Otero served for four years as Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services for the Government of the District of Columbia. For 25 years BB led CentroNia, a nationally recognized child and family services organization serving over 1,200 children and their families. BB has a wide range of international experience and has served on numerous local and national boards, including boards of education, hospitals and think tanks. In 2000, she was named Washingtonian of the Year.

 

Kia Steen presents at WAWF’s ECE Summit 2016 in Washington, DC.
Kia Steen presents at WAWF’s ECE Summit 2016 in Washington, DC.

Dr. Bweikia (Kia) Foster Steen, Associate Professor and Director of Early Childhood Education, Trinity Washington University, Washington, DC

“Early childhood educators lay the foundation for later social, emotional, and academic success.  Through the Washington Region Early Care and Education Workforce Network, I have the unique opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals who share an understanding that early childhood educators are valuable members of our education system and deserve professional recognition, respect,  and compensation.” 

Kia earned her doctoral degree from the University of San Francisco in International and Multicultural Education. She has worked in early childhood and elementary settings and has taught on the collegiate level at New York University in the Early Childhood program and George Mason in the Initiatives in Educational Transformation program. Her research deals with promoting academic excellence among children of color during the early years of schooling by implementing developmentally appropriate practices that will promote positive early learning experiences.

 

Betsi Closter (center) strategizes with colleagues.
Betsi Closter (center) strategizes with colleagues.

Elisabeth L. (Betsi) Closter, School Readiness Coordinator, Fairfax County Office for Children (OFC), Fairfax, VA

“Establishing a competency-based career pathway for early childhood educators tied to compensation demonstrates the value placed on early childhood education as a respected profession. Early childhood educators throughout our region who demonstrate the competencies essential to providing developmentally and culturally responsive experiences for young children and support for their families need to be compensated at rates that are linked to their practice. I am honored to be a member of a team that is working to make that happen.”

Betsi has over 40 years of experience in early childhood education including classroom teaching, professional development, technical assistance, program monitoring, and community outreach. She has served as the County Early Head Start Coordinator and the Head Start Administrator, and as Child Care Specialist for Infant/Toddler Family Day Care, Inc. in Northern Virginia.  At ZERO TO THREE, Betsi led a national demonstration project on partnering Early Head Start and family child care. She is a member of the Northern Virginia Community College Early Childhood Development Advisory Committee.

 

Elizabeth Groginsky at a learning center opening. (©2014 OSSEDC)
Elizabeth Groginsky at a learning center opening. (©2014 OSSEDC)

Elizabeth Groginsky, Assistant Superintendent of Early Learning, Office of the  State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), District of Columbia

Elizabeth administers and coordinates programs related to the District’s efforts to expand and improve high-quality child care and development services in the public and private sectors and ensures strong consumer education and outreach. She has a 20-year track record in leading and developing multi-sector collaborations at the national, state, and local levels to shape and transform early childhood systems. She has served as the early childhood advisor to a Colorado governor; led an international organization’s school readiness partnership; directed a county-wide early childhood collaborative; administered a Head Start agency; and evaluated the quality of early care and education in a large urban setting.

 

Jennifer Iverson at a PGCRC training event in 2017.
Jennifer Iverson at a PGCRC training event in 2017.

Jennifer Iverson, Executive Director, Prince George’s Child Resource Center (PGCRC), Inc.

Prince George’s County has nearly 900 family child care providers and 400 child care centers, and as the primary professional development resource for these early childhood educators, PGCRC sees first-hand the impact of low wages on the workforce. About 1,500 attend our workshops and conferences each year, and their commitment to the children they serve is evident. However, if they don’t make even a living wage, much less a wage on par with their professionalism and training, how can they be expected to stay in the field?”

For 16 years at Prince George’s Child Resource Center, Jennifer has helped create healthy and nurturing environments for children. Her tenure began in 2001 as the After-School Program Specialist, where she coordinated and conducted training across three counties. In 2002, Jennifer co-wrote an Early Reading First proposal that resulted in a $1.6 million award by the United States Department of Education and project implementation three child care centers. Jennifer launched the Resource Center’s development department in 2006. She became Deputy Director in 2011 and Executive Director in 2016. Early in her career, Jennifer taught Pre-K, became a Master Teacher, and was a California Department of Education-certified child development teacher trainer. Jennifer holds an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.

 

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Tammy Mann leads a Campagna Center contingent in an annual parade in Alexandria, VA.

Dr. Tammy L. Mann, President & CEO, The Campagna Center, Alexandria,  VA

“I serve on WAWF’s Early Care and Education Workforce Network Core Team because I believe in the work. We live in a region where our boundaries are fluid. Early educators are impacted by policies and systems across our state and district lines. A regional framework to support the workforce is necessary if we are to succeed in supporting the workforce that makes early care and education possible for children in our communities.”

Tammy has worked at the national, state and local levels for the past 25 years, focused on the needs of children and families, especially those living in economic and socially challenged environments. A practitioner at heart, she has a longstanding goal of effectively translating research to practice. Prior to The Campagna Center, she served as Executive Director of the Frederick Patterson Research Institute and as Deputy Executive Director at ZERO TO THREE.  Tammy is a Board member of the Foundation for Child Development and the Buffet Early Childhood Institute and has held many other elected and appointed positions, including President of the NAEYC Governing Board. Tammy also has taught at Howard University and George Mason University. She earned her Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, with an Interdisciplinary Specialization in Infant Studies, from Michigan State University.

The formal implementation plan, Washington Region Early Care and Education Workforce Network Implementation Plan For Competency-Based Career Pathways, lays out the approach to achieving the project’s purpose:  “Mapping competency-based career pathways that are linked to quality and compensation and can be used across the region.”  The plan leads to two connected deliverables:

  • Career pathways document, a guide based on existing ECE professional credential/knowledge/competency frameworks in our region that establishes a practical and common set of quality standards for competencies at different levels, including suggested compensation levels, that are linked to identified competencies.
  • Blueprint for an implementation mechanism, a certification/credential process that assesses and verifies competencies among the region’s ECE professionals according to the competency levels defined in the career pathways document and that establishes suggested compensation levels that correspond to the certification/credential.

 

Implementation Plan Steps & Progress

The implementation plan for the development of the career pathway has three major steps:

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While the original implementation plan called for the work to be complete within one year, The Network members have found that the complexity of the work has required more time. However, the project is still following the three major steps.

Please visit the ECE Resources below for additional information on early care and education in the Washington Region and beyond.