Technical Assistance (TA) contacts are provided onsite as well as through written support (emails and texts) and phone calls.
Quality Enhancement Domain: About the Present and Future
When I joined the EQuIPD team in 2018 I began a journey of growth beyond my 30 years in public school education. The Quality Enhancement domain is broad, but in the beginning, I only saw it in the light of classroom environment and teacher effectiveness. That is an isolated perspective. Quality Enhancement includes the quality of what children experience and also the quality of what teachers, families, and directors experience.
Part of what the EQuIPD team does is consider the child's classroom environment and how it can be enhanced. We provide support for ITERS-R, ECERS-R and FCCERS-R by visiting classrooms and homes because we know programs benefit from assistance as they go through ERS assessments. We become part of that system that sometimes, unfortunately, only focuses on quality every three years since NC currently conducts ERS assessments on a three-year cycle. Our challenge is encouraging programs to consider quality as a constant practice. Clearly, there are programs that do maintain quality and desire it as a normal part of children's and families' experiences. There are other programs that face challenges maintaining quality, so it slips and in three years they are saying, " How will I increase or maintain my star rating?"
What the EQuIPD staff faces is how to address all those other areas that deflect from programs' efforts to enhance or maintain quality. Those challenges include teacher turnover, lack of funding for materials or to increase salaries to decrease turnover, and lack of respect for the field of early education. These issues are systemic and affect NC as well as the entire country. While there are advocacy efforts related to these broader issues, we are left with addressing quality without currently having resolution to these challenges.
Personally, and professionally I have learned the depth of issues facing so many early childhood programs and family child care homes. Yet, I have also seen the commitment and passion that so many early childhood professionals bring in to care and show compassion to children and families. We are not left without hope for positive changes systemically and individually as we journey into the Quality Enhancement domain.
-Tami Holtzmann (EQuIPD Administrative Assistant and Quality Enhancement Support
Quality Enhancement (QE/TA)
The goal of EQuIPD's Quality Enhancement services are tailored to enhance the quality of children's experiences and improve program quality in early care and education facilities in Guilford County. EQuIPD's quality enhancement staff uses coaching and consultation and evidence based technical assistance models such as the Art and Science of TA and the PFI Model of Onsite Consultation to guide their work with programs. Quality Enhancement Coordinators utilize a relationship-based and collaborative approach to provide TA services and support programs. Empowering strategies such as collaboration, non-hierarchical collegial relationships, joint problem solving, and identification of contextually meaningful and relevant strategies and resources will be utilized to support programs' staff efficacy and sustainability of practices.
The Quality Enhancement domain provides TA to temporary and 1-5 star licensed early care and education facilities to enhance quality as well as increase or maintain star rated license levels.
Programs progress may be indicated by increasing or maintaining star rated license levels as well as completing goals on quality enhancement plans.
Program's progress will be determined by goals completed on programs' Enhancement's Plans. Enhancement Plans will be reviewed each quarter by QE coordinators to note progress towards goals.
Technical assistance in early care and education is an interactive, dynamic, and ever changing process. Each early care and education program has its own unique rich cultural reservoir, values, and ways of being that are critical to honor in the technical assistance process. Collaborative relationships are the heart and linchpin of the technical assistance process.
The technical assistance practitioner role requires delicate finesse and balance. I view my role in the technical assistance process as a facilitator not an expert. While I may possess some essential knowledge, skills, and experiences to share, individuals engaged in the technical assistance process equally have greater knowledge, skills, and experiences to share. Valuing and honoring an individual’s knowledge, skills, and experiences are critical to accomplishing their goals in the technical assistance process.
Technical assistance requires critical self- reflection of my own values, beliefs, biases, and dispositions and how my values, beliefs, biases, and dispositions shape my approach, my way of being, and ultimately the experiences of individuals engaged in the technical assistance process. My ultimate goal and vision as a technical assistance practitioner is to work myself out of a job by empowering others to recognize their own unique strengths, skills, and knowledge to address their current and future goals.
-Rhodus (Quality Ehancement Coordinator)