ACS and CUNY Join Forces to Educate NYC Parents

A recent article from Voices of NY highlights a project between the Administration for Children’s Services and CUNY to help parents of young children obtain the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). 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 Institute and CUNY’s School of Professional Studies (SPS) offer college courses that lead to the CDA, as well as assistance and supports in completing the credential application process. This is the only comprehensive college credit-bearing CDA in New York City.

The Institute and ACS launched this initiative in 2016 for parents of children enrolled in ACS early education programs. The initiative educates parents, helps them to access a career pathway, and promotes the creation of high quality early childhood programs. Since it is directed toward low-income parents, getting certified is cost-free for participants. The article features the parent of a child enrolled in an ACS Head Start program who has obtained her CDA certificate through this initiative. The Institute commends the forward thinking of ACS in supporting the growth of the early childhood workforce.

To read the article in English, click here, and in Spanish, click here.  

Quality Pre-K

The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute works to ensure access to excellence for all young children by working with early childhood organizations locally, across the state, and around the country to create and enhance comprehensive early childhood systems serving children from birth through age 8. The Institute's Executive Director, Sherry Cleary, and the Director of QUALITYstarsNY, Leslie Capello, spoke to Susan Arbetter from WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom and shared what children need in Pre-K to set the foundation for future growth.

To listen to the podcast, click here.




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 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.