June 15, 2016—Quality Improvement Specialist, Charlene Harvilla (center of back row), is celebrating a successful year of Learning Community meetings with QUALITYstarsNY program administrators in the Southern Tier. Front Row: Nichole Fuller, Lori Smith, Leigh Tiesi, Lori Hayes, Rachele VerValin-Petit, Martha Kirby. Back row: Judy Murphy, Chrissy Caslin, Emily Drake, Marlene Schwartz Patrick, Charlene Harvilla, Grace Mohrien, Deborah Fitzgerald, Gail Holleran, Rose McCabe.
QUALITYstarsNY supports Learning Communities across New York State, which aim to create collaborative coaching opportunities for early childhood professionals to improve existing knowledge and practices, develop new skills, and promote continuous quality improvement. Each Learning Community establishes measurable goals based on QUALITYstarsNY standards and programs’ self-assessment efforts, and works to meet those outcomes throughout the year. On June 15th, QUALITYstarsNY hosted its end-of-the-year Learning Community event in New York State’s Southern Tier. During the past school year, early childhood program directors focused on The Director’s Toolbox Series by Paula Jorde Bloom to make the most of their leadership role and skill set aimed at supporting and nurturing staff, families, and children in their programs.
“The QualitystarsNY Learning Community/BAEYC Directors' Academy is a nice opportunity to collaborate with other administrators in the area and to learn new skills that will improve our centers. I look forward to attending each month," said program director Gail Holleran.
Monthly meetings featured inclusive practices that allowed many leaders to share practical suggestions and collaborate on shared visions for high quality early childhood education and care. By providing time to come together with their colleagues, these meetings fostered a sense of community and shared learning. The response was very positive. The final meeting of the year featured a lively discussion about ideas for proposed Learning Community meetings next fall.
Quality Improvement Specialist, Charlene Harvilla, enjoys a longstanding relationship with area directors: all area administrators are invited and attendance is high. While each meeting is an opportunity to discuss timely topics of interest that translate into enhanced leadership skills, directors are also able to stay informed about QUALITYstarsNY and other Professional Development events in the area. QUALITYstarsNY has partnered with the Binghamton AEYC to co-chair these meetings, which draw on several local resources for information and host presenters throughout the year. In addition to Learning Community events, QUALITYstarsNY and BAEYC sponsor monthly workshops for early childhood staff and providers on timely topics such as curriculum, assessment, and diversity.