Staten Island Alliance for North Shore Children and Families

The Institute is pleased to announce that in January 2019, we began a new project, funded by The Staten Island Foundation, to coordinate and support the work of the Staten Island Alliance for North Shore Children and Families. The Alliance is a collective impact initiative, bringing together local stakeholders interested in improving the outcomes for young children and their families. Collective impact is a methodology that brings people and organizations together to achieve social change. Over the last couple of years, the Alliance has explored the barriers and opportunities that North Shore families, child care providers, social service agencies, higher education, and other important organizations and leaders encountered in the local environment.

The Institute will serve as the backbone organization for these coordinated efforts, partnering closely with the Alliance’s Steering Committee and working groups to refine policy principles and priorities, track regulatory and legislative progress that pertains to the Alliance’s agenda, recognize and amplify the expertise of Alliance members, and seek communications opportunities to influence change for North Shore families and children. The Institute will also work with the other relevant collective impact initiatives on Staten Island to strengthen the infrastructure needed to promote greater equity and drive social change within vulnerable communities. The Institute plans to work with the steering committee, the working groups, the parent committee, and community partners to identify activities and opportunities that align with identified priorities and to provide data and evaluation support to guide these actions and measure their impact.

Our newest team member, Jared Carroll, will lead the work of this project. He has begun meeting with all of the relevant stakeholders on Staten Island and is excited to help the Alliance move into its next phase of implementation. "It's been inspiring to learn about the strong community of partners that the Alliance has brought together. The spirit of collaboration is truly unique, and I feel lucky to be supporting their work."

This project is supported by The Staten Island Foundation, which has been a fundamental source of support in the collective impact work happening across Staten Island. The Foundation’s Executive Director, Betsy Dubovsky, stated, “We welcome the able Project Director that the Institute has brought on board for the Alliance work. We value the Institute’s strong expertise in the field of early childhood and its connections to relevant agencies and partners throughout the city and state and we look forward to collectively improving outcomes for young children and their families on our Staten Island North Shore.”

We welcome Jared to the Institute team and look forward to helping the Alliance improve early childhood education opportunities for young children and their families on Staten Island.

NNERPP Membership for the New York City Early Childhood Research Network

We are thrilled that the New York City Early Childhood Research Network was recently accepted to become a member of the National Network of Education Research Practice Partnerships (NNERPP).   NNERPP supports a professional learning community of researchers and policymakers located throughout the country who have formed education Research Practice Partnerships, which are “long-term mutually beneficial formalized collaborations between education researchers and policymakers.” Through NNERPP, the Research Network has access to useful resources that will help us strengthen our collaboration. We will also be able to share our experience and lessons learned on developing partnerships to address early childhood education.

The opportunity to learn from others who are dedicated to building sustained partnerships between researchers and policymakers comes at an especially critical juncture for the Research Network. In 2019, we are embarking on new horizons to deepen our partnerships. New research studies focused on the workforce supporting infants and toddlers are underway and new scholars are joining our group, including three early career scholars. We are launching a new website that will share the resources from the Network as well as other NYC-based early childhood research. And finally, we will be disseminating findings on key themes from across our studies through a series of “Research Spotlights” that will include insights from educators, leaders, policymakers, and other early childhood champions. To join our mailing list to get the most recent updates on the Research Network please email info@earlychildhoodresearchny.org. And stay tuned as we announce other new work.

To read the announcement from NNERPP, click here.

The Aspire Registry Winter Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their winter 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.

In the winter newsletter, the Aspire Registry team emphasizes the importance of children playing outside even in the cold weather! The director of a QUALITYstarsNY program in Utica, NY shares her tips for scheduling or improving outdoor play routines. The Aspire Registry team also discusses how the Aspire Registry App is now available to everyone, not only early childhood trainers. Directors can use the app for their program’s training sessions and members can use it to access their virtual membership card. In addition, the newsletter features Baby Charlie, the son of Amy Ludwig, Policy and Communications Manager at New York Works for Children. He shares what enjoys doing outside and how he loves to laugh and smile especially when he hears songs!

To read the newsletter, click here. 

Nancy Carlsson-Paige: Technology and Young Children

As a follow up to our previous blog post, the Institute is pleased to share information about a webinar based on Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige’s keynote at the Children’s Screen Time Action Network Conference. Dr. Carlsson-Pagie will offer a full exploration of how and why screens interfere with developmental milestones crucial to children’s well-being. She will illustrate the difference between what children "learn" from screens and what they learn through physical, hands-on activities. The webinar will take place on November 5th at 7:30 pm, register here.

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.

In the fall newsletter, the Aspire Registry celebrates six years since launching in 2012. The Aspire Registry Team is grateful for their members especially the feedback they have shared that has influenced system updates. Members suggested making the Aspire Registry website more user friendly, which resulted in the launch of a new site. It has heightened website security and other additions including a Help Center. The newsletter also features a spotlight on a new member of the Aspire Registry Team, Juliet Tarantino. Juliet recalls an experience teaching at a bilingual elementary school and shares her hobbies outside of work.

To read the newsletter, click here.

Leslie Capello Appointed New Director of QUALITYstarsNY

The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Leslie Capello as the new Director of QUALITYstarsNY. After a national search, Leslie stood out as the candidate who could best lead QUALITYstarsNY into the future. Leslie will join the Institute having served as the Deputy Director of Early Childhood for Children’s Aid Society in NYC. Prior to joining Children’s Aid, Leslie served as the Early Head Start Director at Grand Street Settlement and as the Early Head Start Education Director at Educational Alliance. Before coming to New York, Leslie was in California working with Head Start and as a Professional Development Coordinator. Leslie has been a teacher of children from 6 – 36 months and has been a site supervisor. Her deep experience and understanding of early childhood education makes her suited to lead QUALITYstarsNY during a time of continued growth.

2017 Annual Report

The Institute is pleased to announce the release our 2017 annual report! Our mission is to identify the challenges faced by early childhood educators and develop and influence the innovative approaches, systems, and public policies that address them. We work at several levels to improve the early childhood workforce and expand quality improvement across the state, from building and operating statewide systems to helping individual educators in their career advancement with intensive coaching, mentoring, tutoring, and new models of professional development. We've tried to capture the essence of our work in this report and trust you will find it informative. Our deepest gratitude for your continued support! 

Download the report here.

Summer Intern at the Institute: Meet Ramisa

The Institute was pleased to have a summer intern, Ramisa Bashar, this year through the Opportunity Network, an organization devoted to helping high school students achieve their college and career goals with a variety of supports beginning their sophomore year of high school and lasting throughout college. Ramisa was kind enough to share her reflections on her summer internship with this guest blog post. We wish her the best of luck as she begins her college career at Queens College in September!

Ramisa Bashar

Hi, I'm Ramisa Bashar, the summer intern.  I am a fellow at the Opportunity Network, a nonprofit organization that serves as a career and college readiness program for students from underrepresented communities.  Through this program, I learned about an internship at the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute and jumped on the opportunity.  The internship piqued my interest because the Institute is affiliated with CUNY and I plan on attending Queens College in the fall, so I hoped to network with CUNY staff and alumni while there.  Additionally, it was an opportunity to learn about the administrative positions and work that is involved ‘behind-the-scenes’ in nonprofits.  I began working at the Institute before I had officially graduated high school, which made me considerably younger and less experienced.  But, to my surprise, the staff gave me respect and expressed a desire to collaborate.

Upon entering the office my first day, I knew I liked it.  Like most, my expectations of the people in high administrative positions were: white and male.  However, the commitment to diversity and inclusion at the Institute is observable: women in positions of power and people of color working at every level.  I recall Dona Anderson, the Institute’s Deputy Executive Director, explaining the importance of having the staff as diverse as the people whom they served.  I relaxed immediately and felt that I could contribute to not only the Institute, but any future position at a major company or organization.

The largest project I have helped with is database entry for Start with Stars, a project under QUALITYstarsNY that helps to improve challenged programs not yet ready to participate in QUALITYstarsNY.  I worked closely with Becky Plattus, the Special Projects Manager, to prepare for the new version of the Aspire website.  This involved reviewing and compiling spreadsheets, continuous tests of the website for bugs and errors, and ultimately inputting data.  I had the exciting opportunity to speak one-on-one with web developers and be a part of a new phase of the Institute, as they transition into the digital age.

Eventually, I also learned about different aspects and initiatives of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute.  For example, in a meeting for the Leadership Initiative, I learned about the NYS Children’s Program Administrator Credential (CPAC) — a credential for teachers and administrators that indicates they are prepared for the management and leadership work involved with early childhood.  One of the Leadership Initiative directors spoke about the experience so passionately, that I can see myself obtaining the certificate.

Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate 2018 Graduation

Claudine Campanelli

This accomplishment was like giving birth to a new beginning of my life and to set an example to my kids that through hard work and perseverance you can accomplish anything you put your mind to if you have faith”.

– Ray (CUNY SPS Child Development Associate Certificate Graduate June 2018)

On June 1, 2018 41 students walked the stage at Lincoln Center to receive their Child Development Associate Certificate from CUNY School of Professional Studies. The individuals came from all parts of NYC’s five boroughs with different reasons for embarking on an educational path that lead to the certificate. They all shared a common desire, to be a great teacher and enjoy their work with children and families.

A group of students were continuing their professional development to further their career in early education. Some of the students returned to school after being away from formal classroom experience for many years. Other students decided they needed a change in their career and wanted more meaning to their work. A small cohort of students joined the program with a unique background and reason for partaking in the course. The group were all parents of NYC ACS Head Start programs. They participated in their programs as volunteers, committee members and delegate representatives. They were provided an opportunity to gain their CDA to continue to give back to the community that has provided so much to them and their families. They can now work as teacher assistants and lead teachers in the classrooms they once volunteered in.  All of our students shared several semesters of intense course work and field experience, and bonded over sharing their stories as “student interns”.

I am truly proud of the students and instructors. Each day they came to class and their internships having to be open to new information, being open to learn something new and even face being challenged to shift old beliefs and thoughts about child development. The courses meet the requirements of New York State undergraduate early childhood courses and the National Council of Professional Recognition Child Development Associate (CDA) competency model. Each graduating student can go on and take the national credentialing exam.

The graduation was a culmination of all of their hard work. Several of the teaching faculty from the CDA program joined the stage with the students and shared in the excitement of such a great accomplishment. It was great to see students blowing kisses and waiving to them as they crossed the stage. A genuine shared moment of joy and pride.

The Institute salutes the hard work of 42 CDA graduates, some of them pictured here with their instructor and the Institute's Higher Education Coordinator, Claudine Campanelli. Claudine oversees the CDA program and the CPAC program in conjunction with the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

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.

In the summer newsletter, the Aspire Registry invites its members to explore the interactive Core Body of Knowledge (CBK): New York State’s Core Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. The CBK outlines the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to work with young children. It is an essential resource for all early childhood educators, offering a road map for building meaningful relationships with children, families and colleagues and for developing oneself as a professional in this incredibly important field. While print copies of the CBK are available to order on the Institute’s website, the interactive CBK is online and allows users to easily navigate each core competency. Some competencies include links to additional resources or have corresponding videos of teachers and children in the classroom.  The Aspire Registry Team also shares information about the Aspire Statewide Training Calendar, a tool to search for professional development opportunities, and the Aspire Registry Attendance app that trainers use to take attendance. When trainers use the attendance app, members immediately get credit for attending the session on their Aspire Profile! In addition, the newsletter features a spotlight on a new member of the Aspire Registry Team, Roger David Torres. Roger shares what excites him about his new role as an Aspire Registry Associate and his hobbies outside of work.

To read the newsletter, click here.