PD Newsletter | October Edition

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PD Newsletter updated

Welcome, Fall.

This quarterly newsletter from the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is designed to keep Washington's early learning community informed of all of the great work pertaining to Professional Development.


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In This Newsletter...

Training Updates

Training Updates & Options During COVID-19

Training Options During COVID

Are you wondering what options you have to complete training during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Find DCYF’s training response during COVID-19 in the most recent update: Training Updates & Options During COVID-19 (English, español, Af-Soomaali).

Community-Based Training Model

Community Based Training multiple ways to train

The Community-Based Training model will provide an option to help meet the licensing staff qualifications for those required to have an initial or short certificate.

The goal is to provide a training pathway that is available in-person or online.

This option is currently under development and the body of work and is now guided by House Bill (HB) 2556.

Want to Find out More?

Please note that statewide implementation of this model is dependent on new funding.

Education Timeline Extension

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DCYF is extending the education timeline by two years for all roles that have an education or equivalent staff qualification. This extends the timeline to Aug. 1, 2026.

  • What if a State Certificate is listed for my role? 
    • DCYF is extending the timeline to Aug. 1, 2026, for all roles, this includes roles that list the ECE State Certificate or equivalent (director, assistant director, program supervisor).  
  • Why is this changing? 
    • This change is a result of updating WAC 110-300-0100 to reflect the changes from House Bill (HB) 2556, and an agency decision to create consistency in the timelines across all roles.

Child Care Basics Available Online!

CCB online

The online Child Care Basics (CCB) is now available on the DCYF training portal! The online CCB has no cost to providers. DCYF is currently working with training partners to deliver the CCB content live-online.

There are still several options for completing the CCB training, including temporary alternatives due to COVID-19. To learn the options, visit Completing CCB.

To find additional CCB trainings, use the “Find Training” tab in MERIT.

Enhancing Quality Early Learning (EQEL) Update

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What is EQEL?

  • Enhancing Quality Early Learning, or EQEL, is a 20-hour training that can be completed within two years. Year 1 of the training comprises the first 10 hours of EQEL, the topics include: Culturally Responsive Practices, Brain Building, Executive Function & Responsive Caregiving.

How do I find this training?

  • Providers can use the “Find Training” tab in MERIT. This training is being offered by Child Care Aware of Washington regions and the Imagine Institute.
  • The ‘Year 1’ content is currently available as part of a pilot phase. Statewide availability of the ‘Year 1’ content will be January 2021.

How can I take this training?

  • EQEL will be facilitated with a live instructor in a virtual online platform. Providers can use the “Find Training” tab in MERIT to find this option.
  • In-person training will be available based on health guidance given by local health jurisdictions, the Washington State Department of Health and the Governor’s Office.
  • The online version of 'Year 1' EQEL will become available on the DCYF Training Portal in Spring 2021.

Who completes this training?

  • Early learning providers who were hired after Aug. 1, 2019, and are in the role of assistant teacher, lead teacher, family home licensee, program supervisor and center director will need to complete this training.

Fall Webinar Series

Fall webinar series

The Fall Webinar Series will focus on Professional Development Plans and updates to MERIT.

Series information and registration details below.


November Webinar: Q&A on the PDP

Q&A on the PDP

Did you get a chance to join October's webinar about the Professional Development Plan (PDP)? Do you still have lingering questions about the PDP? 

During November's webinar, the Professional Development team will respond to commonly asked questions about the PDP and meeting one’s staff qualifications. 

If you're unable to join October's webinar but would like to submit a question for it to be answered during the live webinar, please email our MERIT team.

Tuesday, Nov. 17 | 6 p.m.

Register Here

December Webinar: Updates to the Workforce Registry, MERIT

NEW MERIT enhancements computer icon

Have you heard? New updates and features are coming to the workforce registry, MERIT

MERIT is a great tool to track your professional development and staff qualifications.

The new updates will include easier navigation and a better overall design to help you track your progress. Stay tuned for more details and don't miss out!


Tuesday, Dec. 15 | 6 p.m.

Register Here

Missed a Webinar?

Webinar recordings, including the video time-markers, can be found on the Newsletters and Webinars page. Check them out!

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Supporting the ECE Workforce Through Education


DCYF knows the value of education and works diligently to partner with the higher education community to design and provide various educational programs and scholarships to support the early learning workforce.

To keep updated on these programs and other education
resources, visit DCYF's Education and Scholarships page.

DCYF Scholarship Funded Programs

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Are you wondering which educational programs meet the licensing staff qualifications?

The DCYF Scholarship Funded Programs outlines the educational programs, certificates and credentials the department recognizes, including those eligible for DCYF scholarship funding, to assist providers with meeting staff qualifications.

Early Achievers Scholarships, Stories of Success

Pierce College

Pierce College

The Early Achiever’s grant continues to be provide support and encouragement to students through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The college's Point of Contact supported student success and completion at a time when many students were losing motivation due to worry and concerns for family health and stability. 

In summer 2020, amid the pandemic, we celebrated the accomplishments of an ECE Associate of Applied Science degree to seven students. Of the seven students, three are now in the Bachelors of Applied Science in Teaching (BAS-T) program at Pierce.

Additionally, two students received their ECE Short certificates and one student received a ECE State certificate.

Skagit Valley College

Evelyn and Dennis

Evelyn Gaffney and her husband Dennis Gaffney are earning their Short Certificate thanks to the Early Achievers grant. This couple works at the Susan M. Edwards-Wilbur Early Education Center, which serves the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. 

"I was so thankful for the Early Achievers grant...It’s a good benefit or advantage to us because we are already working so we can apply what we learn right away, the different ideas, strategies and perspective, gives us better understanding of the kids and we can share this with our coworkers," said Evelyn.

This couple is exceptional in that they have chosen to work in early education after Dennis' retirement from the military. 

Their passion for serving kids and families drives their work, and they are making the most of all of the knowledge they are learning at Skagit Valley College.

Dennis and Evelyn with diplomas

Olympic College

Olympic College

"The Early Achievers grant of Washington State has meant more to me then I can express. By receiving this grant, I have been able to further my education and would not have been able to do so otherwise. I have learned several aspects of early childhood education that has led me to teach the youth in my community. Every aspect of this grant, from the support from Olympic College to the daily requirements has made be successful in my educational goals."
Patricia Stewart, EAG Grant Recipient and Student

Chris Lutheran Child Care Center 2

Christ Lutheran Child Care Center has been a part of the Early Achievers grant from Olympic College for several years.

Over the years, this grant has provided opportunities to several employees, who would of no other way been able to attend college, to have a successful career in Early Childhood Education. It has guided and molded adults in our community to provide high quality education to youth in our area.

This grant not only allows staff to gain education, it teaches them professionalism and work ethics.

- Shawna Patrick, Director at the Christ Lutheran Child Care Center

Martha and Mary Kids Center Staff at Olympic College

The Early Achievers grant has been a great benefit to our staff. The grant has allowed those working in the early learning field to better provide a quality foundation for our future leaders. Having our staff return to school brought excitement into the facility.

After class, staff rally together to see how they can incorporate what they have just learned into their classrooms. There is an uplifting shift in a person, a classroom and a facility when people are eager and excited to gain more knowledge.

Martha and Mary
Martha and Mary child care center

We hire many people from all different walks of life and different backgrounds. Being able to give them an opportunity to go to school helps them feel more confident and successful in their early learning career choice, which then shines through the children and families we serve. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity and success the Early Achievers grant has given our community and center.  

- Haley Kunka, Center Director at Martha & Mary Kids 

School work and books

As a working mom of four boys, back in the day, the grant was a great help in working toward my ECE degree.

Working 35+ hours a week at a child care center was not enough to work college classes into my household budget. The grant gave me the opportunity to grow in my profession, even with a steady income of child support.

Some people think child care is watching children and meeting their basic needs. True, but it so much more.

Challenging behaviors, developmental delays, parent conferences, tracking development of the children in your care, self-care for staff as you are “on stage “ all day, talking with the children in positives, rather than: no, don’t, stop that, get down; not so easily done when you don’t have the science behind why this is so important at this age. These are a few hurdles to jump over. ECE classes helps you put it all into perspective.

Martha and Mary

You also need the love and understanding of children. The fun part and most enjoyable part of my profession. As we know you can make more money working at a fast food place or coffee shop, but can you make a difference in a child’s life? Or a team member with a family who is struggling with raising their child?

Those of us in the child care field know it is tough, but it is the best place to be to make a difference in their lives.
- Berni Booher-Thacker, Program Supervisor at Martha & Mary Kids 

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Share Your Story!

Have you received the Early Achievers grant and want to share your story? Send your story to our ECE Education Specialist, Sharene Leek, to be featured in the next newsletter. 

You can also send your story to your college Early Achievers Grant Point of Contact. To find your Point of Contact, visit the ECE Career Portal.

COVID-19 Resources for the ECE Workforce

WIC Healthy Food & More

Family eating and cooking together

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program gives families access to nutritious food and provides health screening, risk assessment, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals to health and social services.

The program provides essential services for pregnant people, new and breastfeeding moms, infants and children under 5. Most pregnant people and young children on Medicaid or Basic Food (SNAP) qualify for WIC services.

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To meet the needs of families during the pandemicm there have been important changes to the program:

  • Phone or video chat options available for new applications and education resources.
  • WIC expanded the choice of foods allowed for purchase using WIC benefits.
  • Participants now shop for WIC foods using a WIC card, which makes shopping easier.
  • The WICShopper app is also making shopping easier, as well as providing recipes and parenting tips. More than 90% of the families on Washington WIC use the WICShopper app.

Given economic consequences related to COVID-19, people may be seeking WIC services for the first time. WIC has capacity and welcomes new families.

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To find WIC services in your area:

Free Online COVID-19 Class for Child Care Providers

Free COVID-19 class

The Snohomish Health District is offering this public health service to the child care community and provides one In-Service hour (1.0 STARS credit) at no cost for a limited time.

What's Covered?

  • How the virus spreads and methods of control.
  • Guidelines for limiting exposure in child care centers, family home child care and school-age care programs.
  • Review of up-to-date guidance for engaging in regular daily child care activities while
    practicing physical distancing and sanitation.
  • What to do if there is a case of COVID-19 associated with your child care.
  • General and child care-specific COVID-19 resources.

More Info & Registration Here

Questions? Email the Snohomish Health District's Child Care Health Outreach Program or call 425.252.5415.

Promoting Healthy Practices During COVID-19

DOH Publication

This publication highlights best practices to the child care community during meal and snack time, while still following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) guidance.

This publication is available in: EnglishSpanish and Somali.

This publication, as well as other educational resources, can be found on DOH's COVID-19 site under Educational Materials.

For questions or more information about this resource, contact Chris Mornick.

Stay Connected

There are multiple ways to keep in touch with all things related to training and Professional Development. 

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The PD Newsletter is designed to keep Washington's early learning community informed of all of the great work pertaining to Professional Development.

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A complete list of newsletters can be found on our Newsletters and Webinars page. To subscribe, email Marlene White.

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Messages from DCYF Secretary

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DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter shares monthly messages to provide updates and news about the work of the agency. Read his latest messages below and click here to subscribe.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact DCYF's Office of Communications.

Coronavirus - COVID-19 Updates

DCYF has a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 Updates



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Please let us know how we're doing by taking this brief survey.

If you have questions or topic suggestions reach out to Marlene White.