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Remembering Liege Motta

It is with profound sorrow that I write to inform you that Liege Motta passed away peacefully on Nov 22, 2019, surrounded by her family.

Liege was loved and respected by many. Through her active Facebook account, she often reminded us all to act on our commitment not only to children, but also immigrants, women restrained by antifeminist societies, and for governmental transparency. 

In the world of early childhood and teacher education, her expertise was put to good use.  Liege worked at Bank Street College, Hunter College, and The City College Center for Worker Education, and the NY Early Childhood Professional Development Institute.  For many years she was a curriculum developer and mentor at Columbia University’s Medical Center Nursery, and at NYC public schools during the rollout of universal pre-k programs.   Her interests in early literacy, authentic assessment, and the arts, including her participation in NYC choral groups, went hand-in-hand with her love for teaching and her approach to life-long learning.

She was a cherished colleague who will be missed.

A memorial in her honor will be organized at The City College Center for Worker Education in the spring of 2020.  Date and time TBA.

Vicki Garavuso

City College CWE

The Aspire Registry Fall Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their fall newsletter. Since 2015, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. The newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

The fall newsletter introduces members to SharedSourceECNY, a web-based resource that offers videos, documents, and other information gathered from experts in the early childhood field. SharedSourceECNY members also have access to exclusive cost saving programs, like discounts on classroom supplies, food service suppliers, and other employee benefits. In addition, the newsletter features Stacie Boelkins, the Director of Christ the King Early Childhood Education Center. Stacie shares her experience using SharedSourceECNY and offers tips for exploring the site.

Read the newsletter: The Aspire Registry Fall Newsletter 2019

Executive Director Sherry Cleary Named University Dean of Early Childhood Initiatives

The Institute's Executive Director, Sherry Cleary, has been named the new University Dean of Early Childhood Initiatives, effective immediately. Sherry will add this new role to her existing portfolio and continue to focus on early childhood issues within CUNY, throughout the state, and nationally. 

Sherry has served for 13 years in the Office of the Senior University Dean as the Executive Director of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, a unique public/private partnership that harnesses the combined efforts of city and state agencies, private funders, and CUNY to establish a workforce system that insures training, funding, standards, and credentials for individuals who work with young children throughout New York. The Institute also leads the NYC Early Childhood Research Network, which has launched eleven studies focusing on the workforce serving children from birth through 5 years. Sherry co-chairs the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council for the state of New York.  She also is a past President of the New York State Association, and has served on the Board of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. In addition, Sherry was named to the six-member Early Childhood Working Group, which built the model to be used for New York City’s Universal Pre-kindergarten implementation.
More recently, Sherry has played a major role in the design and implementation of the Family Empowerment Community College Pilot at CUNY, which provides students with vital on-campus child care and career counseling. She has also taken on the new CUNY Early Childhood Workforce scholarship. Given her expanding work in this area and CUNY’s particular interest in building more robust supports for student parents, Executive Vice Chancellor Jose Luis Cruz has asked Sherry to integrate the excellent work and the dedicated personnel of CUNY’s campus-based childcare programs into her portfolio.

Congratulations Sherry on this well-deserved recognition!

A Special CDA Program at CUNY

The Council for Professional Recognition’s latest newsletter features the 12-credit bearing Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) offered at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) in partnership with the Institute. The CDA is the most widely recognized national credential in early childhood education and an important stepping-stone on the career pathway for many early childhood educators. The newsletter highlights how the CDA program at CUNY SPS provides assistance and supports to students in completing the credential application process. In addition, the newsletter discusses the Head Start parent cohort an initiative launched by the Institute and ACS that provides parents of children enrolled in ACS early education programs with scholarships to obtain a CDA. This year several parents in the program traveled to New York State Association for the Education of Young Children (NYAEYC) annual conference with their instructor Claudine Campanelli, the Institute’s Director of Career Services and Higher Education, to present posters at the student poster session.

Thank you to the Council for Professional Recognition for featuring our CDA program! 

To read the newsletter, click here.

The Institute’s Diana Diaz Elected President of the National Workforce Registry Alliance

The National Workforce Registry Alliance (the Alliance) is an association comprised of members from throughout the country who oversee early childhood workforce data systems. In NYC, the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute operates the Aspire Registry, New York’s early childhood workforce database under the leadership of Diana Diaz. The Institute is proud to announce that Diana has been elected to the office of President for the Alliance. The Aspire Registry database and statewide training calendar for early childhood and school-age professionals helps teachers, providers, directors, trainers, and anyone who works with children to keep track of important information about their careers, including education and employment history, professional development experiences, and a whole host of demographic data that helps us understand and support career advancement. The Aspire Registry is also used by regulatory agencies to ensure that early childhood educators meet the requirements for qualifications and professional development as set forth in the statute.

Diana has been active in the Alliance and has served on the Board of Directors in the past. She will begin her term as President-Elect in the fall and then will serve a 2-year term as President of the Alliance in a year. In this role, Diana will provide leadership to a Board of Directors that informs and strengthens the early childhood and afterschool workforce through collaboration with state registry systems and national partners. The Institute commends Diana for accepting the responsibility of this profound leadership position.

The Aspire Registry and the Institute’s other initiatives continue to translate proven approaches and research into policy and practice to create a comprehensive system for teachers, directors, administrators, policy leaders, funders, and other individuals who want to create an exemplary and well-compensated early childhood workforce.

Learn more about the Institute’s work.

The Aspire Registry Summer Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their summer newsletter. Since 2015, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. The newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

The summer newsletter introduces members to the New York Works for Children team! Louisa Higgins, Director of New York Works for Children, Diana Diaz, The Aspire Registry Administrator, and Amy Ludwig, Communications and Policy Manager discuss their shared vision for early childhood professionals. Other team members share tips for navigating the Aspire Registry website and encourages members’ feedback for improving the system. In addition, the entire New York Works for Children team is featured in the spotlight. The team shares some interesting information about themselves and discusses their upcoming annual strategy meeting to evaluate the work over the past year.

To read the newsletter, click here.

New Partner for the CDA Program – LaGuardia Community College

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential is the most widely recognized national credential in early childhood education and an important stepping stone on the career pathway for many early childhood educators. In partnership with the Institute, a CDA Certificate is offered at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS). Graduates of the program receive 12 undergraduate college credits and preparation to obtain the national CDA Credential.

In order to create a pathway for early childhood professionals to continue their education in the early childhood field, CUNY SPS has articulation agreements with CUNY two-year colleges. Articulation agreements ensure that students can easily transfer the maximum number of credits to these partner institutions. We are pleased to announce that we have recently negotiated a new articulation agreement with LaGuardia Community College. Students who have earned early childhood credits at CUNY SPS will now be able to transfer those credits to the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Hostos Community College, and Kingsborough Community College, in addition to LaGuardia. CUNY SPS students now have transfer options in four of NYC’s five boroughs, making it easier for students to work while completing their education.

Learn more about the CDA.

Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate 2019 Graduation

On May 29, 2019, 47 students received their Child Development Associate Certificate from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. A group of students were continuing their professional development to further their career in early childhood education. Participants included child care owners, assistant teachers, and Head Start Teachers. Additionally, some students were making a change in their career and were new to the field of early childhood, including a military veteran. They all share a common desire to be great teachers and enjoy their work with children and families.

The majority of the students (33), were sponsored by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). The group were all parents with children in NYC ACS Head Start programs. They participated in their programs as volunteers, committee members, and delegate representatives. They worked to earn their CDA in order to continue to give back to the community programs that have provided so much to them and their families. They can now work as teacher assistants and lead teachers in the classrooms in which they once volunteered.

You can watch a short video here of CDA graduates discussing their experiences in the program, and another video here from Gary Dunbar, Assistant Director of the Committee for Early Childhood Development Head Start, discusses the importance of the Institute and ACS initiative to help parents of young children obtain the CDA.

The Institute applauds the hard work of the 47 CDA graduates and the Institute’s Director of Career Services and Higher Education, Claudine Campanelli. Claudine oversees the CDA program and the CPAC program in conjunction with the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

On a Special Note

One student in this year’s class was a special representation of the dedication that the graduates feel toward their education. Shontae Ferguson-Pryce was expecting a new baby and actually went into labor as the ceremony began! She was determined to walk across the stage to receive her CDA, so the order of the ceremony was rearranged and she walked the stage, aided by fellow graduates. After she received her certificate, EMT workers rushed her out of the building. Congratulations to Shontae on the birth of her baby boy!


NYC Comptroller Releases New Plan to Improve Infant and Toddler Child Care

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has released a new plan to improve services for children from birth to age three in NYC. The plan, NYC Under 3, examines the current state of child care in the city and puts forth a series of policy recommendations to address current issues related to affordability, availability, and quality of child care/early childhood education for children age three and under.

QUALITYstarsNY is mentioned in the plan as part of the discussion around assessing the quality of child care in New York City. As the report notes, QUALITYstarsNY served more than 200 center-based and family child care programs across New York City boroughs as of September 2018.  

If adopted, the six year NYC Under 3 plan would be the largest city-level expansion of child care for children birth to age three in the United States—making child care more affordable for NYC’s low- and moderate-income families with young children. 

NYC Under 3 Policy Recommendations

The Comptroller’s plan includes several proposed policies to help improve birth to three early learning opportunities in NYC, including:

  • Lower families’ financial contribution toward child care and expand child care assistance to families that make up to 400 percent of the poverty level.
  • Increase accessibility by offering start-up and expansion grants for child care programs to increase infant and toddler enrollment, and create a $500 million fund for construction and renovation of child care facilities.
  • Increase compensation for child care providers serving infants and toddlers and create parity between center-based educators and those in public schools.
  • Expand access to professional development opportunities and technical assistance for providers.

QUALITYstarsNY applauds NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer for making the city’s infants and toddlers, and their families, a priority. We envision the role of QUALITYstarsNY to be integral to the efforts outlined in the report. The efforts will only be successful if we, as a city, can be assured that our youngest children experience the highest quality. QUALITYstarsNY’s focus is on accountability AND excellence, both equally essential for success. We hope the city will adopt these measures to increase affordability, access, and quality of 0-3 child care in all settings. 

Read the full NYC Under 3 plan.

Early Childhood Hiring Fair

The CUNY School of Professional Studies is hosting an Early Childhood Hiring Fair this June. The goal of the fair is to provide a space for CUNY students, alumni and early childhood professionals to meet with recruiters from top early childhood programs across the five boroughs. Event highlights include giveaways, light refreshments, and career advisors who will be available to provide one-on-one career counseling. Children ages 3-10 are welcome to attend the fair that will feature a craft table!

Early childhood leaders with teacher and assistant teacher vacancies at their programs can register for a recruitment table and interview space for screening candidates at no cost.

Those interested in participating can RSVP to Maxine Barton at