Does this sound familiar?
You are the director of a QUALITYstarsNY program and are reviewing your Aspire Staff Training Summary Report, only to notice that many of your staff members have not received training credit in key QUALITYstarsNY standards. As you consider what to do next, the program phone rings. You pick up the phone, making a mental note to follow up with your Quality Improvement Specialist later.
All too often we see this scene play out. Directors set up site-based training with the intention that applicable QUALITYstarsNY training standards will be applied. This is clear. What may not be so clear is why training certificates alone do not provide an adequate amount of information needed to accurately assess the full content of a professional development (PD) session, including relevant domain areas. When staff upload training certificates to their profiles for verification, key critical elements are usually missing, such as the session description, goals, objectives, etc.
Ultimately, the best way to avoid this issue is for professional development courses to go through the Aspire review process before the PD takes place. During the Aspire review process, all the essential information is pre-loaded into the system, providing a full picture of the content. This allows the Registry to accurately determine applicable NYS Core Competencies and QUALITYstarsNY standards, ensuring that educators receive credit in the appropriate domains. Submitting courses for review to the Registry allows programs to track all of their trainings in one convenient location. Another benefit of course approval is access to approved attendance sign-in sheet and training certificate templates. Once the training is over, the trainer simply enters each attendee’s Aspire ID number into a roster and – voila! – all the training information transfers to participant files automatically, without the participant ever having to upload one training certificate. It’s that easy. You can also use the Aspire Registry app to scan Aspire member QR codes as another easy way to take attendance. One side note- this process can also work for in-service PD for program staff. I will be covering this topic in greater detail in my next blog post.
It wasn’t that long ago that one of the more popular catchphrases heard by certain fans of a particular television series was “Winter is coming.” The meaning behind this phrase was meant to invoke warning as well as vigilance. In this same context, we too must be vigilant in the promotion of high quality professional development. Given that we are moving into the colder months, it is only appropriate to note that like winter, training approval is on the horizon, coming soon to QUALITYstarsNY and DOHMH-licensed programs. The difference is that the implication behind this pronouncement is more hopeful than ominous. As we build out New York’s early childhood workforce system, training approval is one of the next best steps.
So what does training approval mean for your program? It means that in order for training to meet DOHMH and/or QUALITYstarsNY standards, they must be Quality Assured. To be Quality Assured (QA) means that professional development sessions have gone through the Aspire Course/Event review process AND are facilitated by a credentialed trainer(s). The Quality Assured designation is a stamp of approval that highlights premier professional development while supporting educators to advance and improve their knowledge, skills and disposition in the field. In essence, you will not only find professional development that counts, but sessions that are facilitated by trainers who have met a higher standard based on their education and qualifications. I discussed this very issue in my last blog: PD Finder: What it is & Why you need it.
Once training approval goes into effect, only Quality Assured training events will count toward the five QUALITYstarsNY training standards. Similarly, only QA training will be accepted by DOHMH licensors in New York City. There may be some exceptions to this (i.e. NAEYC training, OCFS-approved distance learning, etc.), but this will mean that early childhood educators in NYC center-based programs and QUALITYstarsNY programs across the state will no longer (except in a few select cases) be responsible for uploading training certificates to the Aspire Registry. Instead it will be the responsibility of trainers and training organizations.
So by now you are probably wondering where you can go to find QA training. The place to go is the PD Finder. Utilizing search parameters such as key words, title, OCFS topic, and course type (including virtual training), PD Finder allows you to search for upcoming professional development training as well as the trainers who provide it. The best part is you can typically locate what you are looking for within a matter of minutes.As always, I am personally looking for your feedback and suggestions to make the PD Finder the premier professional development search tool in New York. Training approval is coming and we want to be ready. Have feedback? Let’s talk about it. Please post your comments below or send feedback to PDblog@nyworksforchildren.org.