Each year, Workforce Solutions Capital Area hosts the Child Care Directors Symposium, an educational event for child care providers in Austin and Travis County to connect and share ideas. This annual training event is one of our largest offerings, and the symposium is now in its 17th year.
In 2019, one of the attendees was St. Louis Early Childhood Development Center. This was the fifth year the center’s leadership attended, said Co-Director Margaret English-Knipp.
“We are an early childhood center with our Catholic church, and we have been in Austin for about 40 years,” said Margaret. “We have five classrooms. We teach children ages zero to four years, and we have 70 children enrolled.”
For the past five years, St. Louis Early Childhood Development Center has engaged with Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s Child Care Services team. “We love working with them. We go to their trainings and take advantage of having trainers come out to us,” said Margaret.
The Child Care Directors Symposium is one of the many quality-related activities the school engages in with Workforce Solutions Capital Area, Margaret said. Another key identifier of St. Louis Early Childhood Development Center’s dedication to the delivery of quality care is their participation in the Texas Rising Star (TRS) program. The school is currently a 2-star rated program (out of 4 stars).
“We are working on the process of becoming a 4-star with a mentor from Workforce Solutions Capital Area,” Margaret said. “I like their philosophy and the way they treat the staff at our center.”
St. Louis Early Childhood Development Center has participated in the TRS program for seven years. Why is participation important? “Because of the quality of trainings our staff gets,” Margaret said. “Also, we are a Catholic-based early childhood center, so we treat this as a ministry, as well. We like to offer quality childcare to people who might not otherwise afford it. So, people who are clients of Workforce Solutions Capital Area can be served here.”
In her role as a co-director, Margaret finds value in attending the symposium: “It’s good to be around people that are in your position and brainstorm ideas together. I feel like Workforce Solutions Capital Area understands early childhood educators and they take care of us.”
Margaret added, “We really liked the keynote speaker. She gave us her book, and we liked it so much, we will do a book study with our staff on it.”
With the symposium concluded, Margaret is incorporating what she learned into her day-to-day work.
“For me, it’s taking more ownership of what I do, and the symposium gave me tools for handling different situations with our staff. It gave me some really good ideas, like having the book study,” she said. “My co-director took a class on TRS and earning higher rating levels, and she has ideas on that.”
About the Texas Rising Star program
The Texas Rising Star program is for child care providers who meet quality requirements that exceed the state’s minimum licensing standards and that are designed to enhance the intellectual, physical, and social development of children in care. In return for their commitment to quality, providers receive numerous benefits including enhanced reimbursement rates, learning materials and equipment, child development college course scholarships, and more.
Learn more about the Texas Rising Star program here.