Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Professional Development Program Provides Support to Early Care and Education Professionals Throughout Contra Costa County

Staff from the Martinez Children's Center, Community Services Bureau Team participating in an end-of-year-group-reflection session, facilitated by Dr. Debi Silverman, Early Childhood Education program officer. 

by Ruth Fernandez, LPC Coordinator
The AB212 Professional Development Program, administered and implemented through the Contra Costa County Office of Education, provides professional development opportunities, coaching, mentoring, professional growth and educational advising to early care and education professionals throughout Contra Costa County.  The program serves approximately 450 early childhood educators working at state preschool and child development programs. 

The goal of the Center-Based Team Professional Development grant program is to support and empower teams of early care and education professionals to identify and engage in professional development with a team spirit and commitment to program goals.

The AB212 Center-Based Team Professional Development Program is designed to foster:

  • PEER-LEARNING - through the creation of small-peer-learning groups or discussion groups.
  • COMMUNICATION - to identify areas of staff expertise and areas for staff growth.
  • MUTUAL COOPERATION - to promote sharing of professional knowledge, to utilize knowledge gained from professional development opportunities into practice in the classroom, and to support team-based approaches to program improvement.
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT - in areas that have been identified by the staff team at the site.
  • PERSONAL GROWTH AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT FOR STAFF - to support the retention of a stable and skilled workforce.

Three years ago, AB212 began offering Center-Based Team Professional Development (CBTM) mini grants of up to $5,000 for early childhood programs that were interested and committed to developing and sustaining Professional Learning Communities (PLC) in their program.

Since the beginning of the AB212 CBTM program, a total of 15 teams of early childhood programs have engaged in intentional and purposeful activities to reach identified professional development goals which will support the early learning for children before kindergarten entry. Through collaboration and team-building, the early childhood educators have begun to review policies, develop new strategies, and implement new practices in their programs.  

As we conclude the fiscal year 2011-2012, the AB212 CBTM wants to celebrate and acknowledge the success of the teams who have completed the program.  Each team is committed to sustaining the PLC model by engaging in common and purposeful professional development to help them address a specific program need.

Martinez Early Childhood Center Director Cassandra Campbell, along with teachers Patricia Hamilton and Alma Bennett work together through a training on using the CA Preschool Learning Foundations and Creative Curriculum.

We especially celebrate Martinez Early Childhood Center.  They have participated in the CBTM program for three consecutive years.  As a result, the program has developed a brand new program website to increase communication with families about their curriculum, program philosophy, and year-round activities.  Part of their PLC work also includes alignment of Creative Curriculum with the CA Preschool Learning Foundations and classroom observation assessments. As CBTM program graduates, they will also play a leadership role by providing mentoring and coaching to incoming centers new to the professional learning communities model.  Congratulations Martinez Early Childhood Center!