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 year, one of the attendees was St. George’s Episcopal School in Austin.
St. George’s Episcopal School was established in 1966, and serves 100 children. The school’s mission is to be an inclusive community and to inspire children to love learning by nurturing each child’s mind, body and spirit, according to director Jerri Thompson.
The school has had a relationship with Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s Child Care Services program since 2011, and this was the fifth year the school attended the Child Care Directors Symposium, Thompson said.
“This was the first time I sent Lead Teachers who have 15-plus years of experience and hold lead roles in the school to the conference. I sent these teachers because I saw they were experiencing burnout and were looking for more challenges in their field,” she said.
Over the two-day event, Thompson observed her team becoming more inspired and discovering new ideas.
“During our time at the conference, I watched as each of them grew more and more excited about what they were learning,” she said. “They made comments like, ‘Wow, we don’t get this type of information at other conferences;’ ‘This is much more advanced;’ ‘We feel special being able to attend;’ ‘Thank you for considering our feelings, and sending us to such a high-quality training;’ and ‘I love these speakers, they really know their stuff.’”
The teachers’ discussions focused on different approaches on how to work with team members, how to see their child care center through the eyes of a director, understanding how director decisions are related to the budget, and how to delegate to their teaching team, according to Thompson.
“They also learned about resources for working with children with special needs. They hear this at teacher conferences, but this session really stood out to them,” she said.
“The comments continued into the next week at school, and I witnessed these teachers pulling out their handouts and discussing what they learned with other teachers,” Thompson added.
The Child Care Directors Symposium is one of the many quality-related activities the school engages in with Workforce Solutions Capital Area, Thompson said. Another key identifier of St. George’s Episcopal School’s dedication to the delivery of quality care is their long-standing participation in the Texas Rising Star (TRS) program. The school is currently a 4-star rated program, the highest rating available.
“With our current tuition rates, it makes affordability difficult. The cost of high-quality care for a school that is 100% tuition driven increases the complexity of enrolling children from a lower socioeconomic status bracket, so TRS helps us support Workforce Solutions Capital Area Child Care Services families.”
“We are a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited school, and I value organizations that recognize early childhood programs work towards excellence. I also want our school to be able to fulfill its mission of being an inclusive community,” Thompson said.
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.