Quality projects funded by the California Department of Education (CDE) have various goals or scopes of work focused on the CDE resources but are not always coordinated and/or articulated with each other and other statewide projects. It is important to align work across a continuum or system with a clear understanding of roles, content, and pathways toward common goals. It is important to have a forum for key state-level stakeholders to come together to coordinate and articulate a coherent approach and service delivery. It appears the stakeholders that participated in the activity gained a greater understanding of the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of each other’s work. More opportunities to do this coordinated planning and implementation of proposed recommendations would be beneficial in creating a true system of professional learning support. Time constraints presented the greatest challenge. With an extremely short timeframe to work on this activity, participants were unable to fully map out a comprehensive approach to the work. Providing a credit option for specific professional learning experiences utilizing the CDE’s quality-funded projects has great potential and would serve as a focused statewide approach to quality improvement efforts.
This innovative approach will take time to coordinate among stakeholders and collaborative partners but will meet a need to support the early learning workforce. Through its quality-funded projects, the CDE has an opportunity to transform how the state views professional learning experiences, core content, and validated completion by certified instructors. The CDE has invested in a comprehensive professional learning menu that greatly contributes to the knowledge, skills, and implementation of research-based practices that can improve the quality of services and support to providers. This work should serve as an integral role in designing an innovative workforce development strategy that builds upon the state’s investments. California’s young children deserve high-quality early learning experiences and investing in those who care for them will help make this difference.