The Aspire Registry December Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their December newsletter. For more than a year now, 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. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter The Aspire Registry team shares a year in review reflecting on their many accomplishments! One highlight is that the number of Aspire members continue to grow which means many early childhood professionals are taking charge of their career growth and professional development using the tools available in the registry. Additionally the Aspire Registry team discusses their Facebook page where they interact with their members and post all things related to early childhood topics every weekday! They include a link to their Facebook page in the newsletter. Lastly, the newsletter features a spotlight on Rebeca Filion who is the director at Champlain Children’s Learning Center, Inc. She shares how she thought she would move on to teach elementary school and what led her to stay in child care.

To read the newsletter, click here

Authentic Assessment: A Critical Tool for Early Childhood Educators

Elisa A. Hartwig

Authentic assessment is a powerful tool for early childhood educators to analyze information gathered during everyday classroom activities and routines in order to understand each unique child’s development. Consistent and comprehensive reflection on observation notes, photos, artistic creations, emergent writing, and dictations provides teachers with meaningful insight about each child and about the group as a whole. With this insight, teachers can plan activities and experiences that are responsive to children’s interests and needs. Teachers can share their understanding of each child’s growth with his or her family, while also gaining important insight from them in return.

A robust, on-going authentic assessment practice can also help early childhood educators to make sure that they aren’t mistakenly seeing children for something they’re not. Authentic assessment is even more powerful because it can reduce unintended, or implicit, biases. Implicit biases are automatic, subconscious ways that we read the environment and predict behavior. Specifically, implicit biases can affect teachers’ expectations of and interactions with the young children in their classrooms.

In a recent study by Walter Gilliam at the Yale Child Study Center, preschool teachers were shown to erroneously expect challenging behavior from Black boys, even when no behavior challenges were present. This suggests that preschool teachers may hold differential expectations of challenging behavior based on the race of the child. The study also demonstrated that preschool teachers who were not of the same race/ethnicity as the child were more likely to perceive severely problematic behavior as typical or expected.

Gilliam became interested in preschool teachers’ biases following data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights showing that Black and Latino male preschoolers are suspended and expelled disproportionately – nearly four times as often as their White peers. Unnecessary suspensions and expulsions deny our youngest residents the right to educational opportunities and put them at a disadvantage for further success and well-being. The Institute applauds the New York State Education Department’s commitment to eliminating these practices in all early childhood settings by the 2017-2018 school year.  The Institute also acknowledges New York City’s Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina’s strong stance against suspensions and expulsions for young children up through 2nd grade.

Using authentic assessment to ground teachers’ understanding of children’s development in a collection of evidence that strives for objectivity and that is visible and accessible by others can help early childhood teachers to reduce implicit biases. The Institute’s Authentic Assessment Specialists guide teachers to record observations only of what they see and hear, thereby eliminating assumptions and interpretations about what a child might be thinking, feeling, or intending to do. Authentic assessment practice guides teachers to see children in a strengths-based way, rather than in terms of potential deficits or challenging behaviors. It allows children to be different – in fact, authentic assessment leads teachers’ to embody the Core Value of the New York State Core Body of Knowledge: “Every human being is a unique individual, with diverse modes of learning and expression as well as interests and strengths.”

Increasingly, kindergarten teachers are taking an interest in authentic assessment as an alternative to tests that can be anxiety-inducing and developmentally inappropriate for young children. Lindsey Desmond, a veteran kindergarten teacher in Manhattan, explains: “It’s a different frame for student achievement that focuses not on what the child didn’t get, but on her strengths, on what she can do and does know. It also gives a more interdisciplinary approach and so can be integrated into your practice more naturally, and it’s more culturally relevant as well because you can more easily utilize the child’s frame of reference in lesson-planning. Authentic assessment is culturally responsive because children can demonstrate how they apply concepts within their own cultural schemas rather than in a predetermined way.”

The Aspire Registry November Newsletter

aspirenovemberThe Aspire Registry team has released their November newsletter. For more than a year now, 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. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 24,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter, the first article discusses the benefits of being a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Aspire Registry team also announces that they recently received the Elijah McCoy Award by the City University of New York’s Office of the Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs. The award recognizes the team’s use of creativity and innovation to develop new or improved processes, methods, systems, services, or programs. Lastly, the newsletter features a spotlight on Stefanie Straker, a QUALITYstarsNY Quality Improvement Specialist.

To read the newsletter, click here.

New York’s Agri-Business Child Development program celebrates 70 years of service!!!

Posted on 29 of November, 2016 by in Events

img_6768The Agri-Business Child Development program (ABCD Program) was established to meet the needs of parents working on New York State’s farms back in 1946.

As a non-profit provider of high quality culturally and linguistically diverse child development services for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers, Agri-Business Child Development ensures that each child receives comprehensive educational, health and social services.


Sherry Cleary, the Institute’s director had the distinct pleasure of attending the 70th Anniversary celebration in East Syracuse and to bring greetings from the New York Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC).

Being present for this celebration was special to her as Sherry’s first teaching job, 41 years ago, was as a pre-school teacher at the Fredonia Migrant Early Childhood Program, one of the programs that remains in the ABCD network.

Maggie Evans, a member of the ECAC is the Chief Executive Officer of ABCD and has done a wonderful job shepherding the work of the statewide network of early childhood programs.  She brings her passion and commitment to excellence to everything she touches.  And this occasion was no different.  There was a beautiful video premiered at the evening celebration and wonderful words were shared by articulate young adults who had experienced the migrant life as children.  The celebration was followed by a day-long conference for staff of network programs.  Congratulations to Maggie, her leadership team, and all the programs that make up the network of ABCD!!!

Are you a Pre-K teacher that needs to complete your Certification? The Institute can help you!!

The early years represent the most sensitive time for children’s growth and development, and the effects of this time persist throughout children’s academic careers and into adulthood. This makes ensuring the highest quality education for our youngest learners critical for their future. A high quality education begins with high quality teachers, which is why the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute (Institute) and the Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood Education (DECE) have partnered to support teachers as they seek New York State Teacher Certification in Early Childhood (Birth-Grade 2).

Attaining your NYS teacher certification has many benefits, including increasing your earning potential, opening additional career opportunities, strengthening your knowledge of early childhood development, developing your teaching skills, and building your confidence in the classroom.

The first step in determining your eligibility to receive support services is to complete the online self-assessment form. Once the Institute staff have reviewed your self-assessment, an advisor from the Institute will follow up to help you develop a clear plan of action, outlining your path to certification within 3 years of your hire date. 

Your certification support services may include:

  • Test prep and tutoring
  • Academic Advising
  • Study Plan Development & Monitoring
  • Career Counseling

Our form will remain open for submissions through November 30, 2016.  Submit your assessment form today!

If you have any questions, please contact the Institute’s Career Development Services Center at 718-254-7735 or email For general questions about teaching pre-K in New York City, email  

Governor Cuomo Announces $10.4 Million in State Funding to Support 3-Year-Old Pre-K in 25 High-Need School Districts

Research has consistently demonstrated that the early years of a child’s life have a significant impact on their school success, as well their success later in life. In fact, recent reports indicate that approximately half of the achievement gap is already apparent before children enter the first grade. These findings also suggest that experiencing high-quality education at an early age can narrow the achievement between low-income children and their more affluent peers and better prepare students for academic success. In an effort to ensure that all of New York’s children have an opportunity to experience high-quality early care and education, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that $10.4 million has been awarded to 25 high-need school districts. With this funding, school districts will be able to increase access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for more than 1,500 three-years-old children.

New York has always made a strong commitment to its youngest and most vulnerable citizens across the state, and this investment will continue to support that work by expanding pre-kindergarten to more children than ever before. For more information and to read the official announcement from the Governor’s office, click here.

Unequal Access: Barriers to Early Childhood Education for Boys of Color

With election season coming to an end, a topic that both presidential candidates agree on is increasing access to early childhood education for the nation’s youngest citizens. The subject of early care and education has received growing attention over the past decade, but the findings of a recent report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise Initiative demonstrate how much more society has to do to create equitable access to early education, especially for boys of color.

Unequal Access: Barriers to Early Childhood Education for Boys of Color shares the results of a recent study exploring the issues young boys of colors face from birth through the early childhood years. The findings of the report suggest that there is a significant disparity among boys of color (including African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska Natives) in term of access to high-quality school. Young boys of color are also more likely to grow up in low-income households, and thus, often encounter structural obstacles throughout their early experiences with education that negatively affect their likelihood of school and later life success. In response to these issues, the authors of the report discuss opportunities at the community, state, and federal levels to eliminate barriers to quality early childhood education for boys of color.

As new leadership enters the Oval Office, the field of early childhood has the opportunity to increase access to excellence for all children and especially boys of color. With bipartisan support for early childhood education at an all-time high, federal investments must be increased for child care assistance funding and state funding for preschool expansion and quality improvement. Suspension and expulsion are one of the reasons identified in the report that boys of color have less access to early childhood education. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has issued a joint policy statement and offers a number of resources on the topic.  

The Aspire Registry October Newsletter

octobernewsletterThe Aspire Registry team has released their October newsletter. For more than a year now, 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. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 24,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter, The Aspire Registry member and QUALITYstarsNY Quality Improvement Specialist Kathy Moss shares her experiences on her early childhood career pathway. The Aspire Registry team also discusses how directors and administrators can use The Aspire Registry to help them keep track of their in-house professional development sessions. Lastly, the newsletter features a spotlight on Merideth Janke, Executive Director at Pooh’s Corner Inc.

To read the newsletter, click here: The Aspire Registry October Newsletter-2016.

Getting to know the Institute Staff: Meet Louisa


New York Works for Children is New York’s integrated professional development system for the early childhood and school age workforce. In 2010, New York Works for Children was founded by the Early Childhood Advisory Council’s Workforce Development Workgroup to support early childhood and school age professionals. The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute coordinates New York Works for Children and manages the day to day operations. With funding and support from multiple city and state agencies, New York Works for Children is committed to building the infrastructure so that everyone who works with young children and families has access to high quality education and professional development experiences. New York Works for Children is also the home of The Aspire Registry: New York's Registry for Early Childhood Professionals. Louisa Higgins is the Director of New York Works for Children. We asked Louisa to share some of her reflections about her work with us.

What is your current role? In your own words, how would you describe the work you do?

I’m the Director of New York Works for Children, the state’s early childhood workforce development system. I get to work with stakeholders from across the state to help build the infrastructure so that all early childhood providers have access to high quality preparation, professional development, and support. 

Who do you work most closely with at the Institute? What outside partners/organizations do you work with?

I am lucky to work with almost every other initiative at the Institute. A big part of the work we do is the administration of The Aspire Registry, our state’s early childhood workforce registry. Our registry is open to anyone who works with young children in New York and includes family child care providers, teachers, center directors, and trainers and coaches. Many of our colleagues at the Institute are members of The Aspire Registry and use resources like our statewide training calendar! We work with QUALITYstarsNY to track qualifications and professional development for staff in participating programs. Our colleagues at the Career Development Services Center provide career supports to some members of The Aspire Registry, such as keeping track of study plans. Additionally, information about New York Works for Children and The Aspire Registry has been integrated into the curriculum of the CDA and CPAC courses offered in partnership with the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Outside of the Institute, we partner with anyone who is interested in improving education opportunities for early childhood providers. We are lucky to have funding and support from a variety of state and city agencies. We also work closely with the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children, the New York State Early Childhood Advisory Council, and various workgroups of the Early Childhood Advisory Council.

What motivated you to work in the early childhood field?

From an early age, I knew I wanted to work with and on behalf of young children. I entered the early childhood field wanting to do social justice work. The early years have such a significant impact on life outcomes, and I believe that the work we do at the Institute is really about giving more children positive experiences in their childhood and ultimately, better opportunities in life.  This is what brings me joy in my work. The awareness that we are building systems and creating infrastructure so that more children have exactly what they deserve- especially those that have the most stacked up against them. 

If you could learn a new skill today, what would it be?

There are so many things on my “to learn” list, a wide range of skills from infant massage to interior design. If I had to pick one today, I would chose metal soldering! I used to make jewelry as a hobby, and I never learned to solder. I have a feeling melting metal with a blowtorch is pretty satisfying. 

If you had one piece of advice for a new early childhood teacher, what would it be?

I often think about what I would say to my 24 year old self in my first year of teaching Head Start. I’d start with, “You’re doing a fantastic job.” That is probably the first thing I would say to any new teacher. It’s something I think teachers of young children don’t hear nearly as often as they should, and I also believe it is true. If you are committed to your work and you are respectful of children and their families, you are likely doing a great job. I’d also make sure every early childhood professional in New York- new or veteran!- had a copy of the Core Body of Knowledge. It is a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to reflect on his/her practice and start to think about opportunities to grow in his/her craft.

To learn more about New York Works for Children, please visit or email

Stabilizing New York City’s Child Care Services

The Institute is pleased to welcome a guest contributor, Nilesh Patel, the Director of Labor Relations and Mediation Service for the Day Care Council of New York to share some important news about stabilizing New York City's child care services.

The Day Care Council of New York (DCCNY) was created in 1949 by child care advocates as the membership organization for nonprofit agencies under contract with the City of New York to provide child care services. Over the past 68 years, DCCNY has maintained its role as an advocate, program supporter, and most importantly, the management representative in labor and pension negotiations.

In August 2015, the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR) convened meetings with DCCNY and District Council 1707, Local 205, (DC 1707) to discuss new salaries and benefits for child care workers in Early Learn programs. These workers had gone without a salary increase for ten years and both DCCNY (representing over 100 child care providers operating 300 child care programs) and DC 1707 (the union representing over 3,000 workers) highlighted the difficulties in maintaining a quality early childhood educational system without adequate support and funding.

Read more…