Professional Development (PD) Newsletter | January Edition

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PD Newsletter updated

Welcome, 2021!

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.

Happy New Year 2021

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In This Newsletter...

COVID-19 Early Learning Provider Toolkits

DCYF is using CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funding for the purchase of materials to develop activity toolkits for licensed early learning providers across Washington.

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These toolkits will include items that providers can use to help implement COVID-19 guidelines in their care environment. Toolkits will include a variety of materials to help promote physical distancing, handwashing, and support emotional health such as:

  • Children’s books about COVID-19 and mindfulness
  • Tape measurers and yarn
  • Circle spot markers and cones
  • Printed materials to help support teachers with implementing COVID-19 guidance for children and families

Toolkits are projected to be distributed in February, and more communication will be coming out in the next few weeks.

The Substitute Pool is Here For You!

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Washington’s Early Care and Education Substitute Pool is available to support licensed facilities with state paid release time. Access is dependent on funding availability.

Get started

Hiring a Substitute

Licensed providers can choose from a list of qualified substitutes in their area or work with someone they know to become a qualified substitute. If a provider prefers to work with someone they know who is not yet a substitute, refer that person to The Imagine Institute to learn how to become an approved substitute. All qualified substitutes meet the current standards for a licensed program lead teacher.

If you have questions about the substitute pool or want to learn more, please email the Imagine Institute or call 206-492-5249.

Quick links:

Aligned Credentials Guide

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This new resource describes college/credit bearing alternative credentials. This includes ECE related degrees, aligned college credits, and DCYF recognized certificates and credentials.

If you have any questions about the education you already have or are working on, contact our MERIT support team.

Check it out!

Alternative Credentials Guide

Training Updates

Child Care Basics Available Online!

CCB Online

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

Additional options for completing the CCB training, including temporary alternatives due to COVID-19, are still available.

To find additional CCB trainings, use the “Find Training” tab in the workforce registry, 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.
  • Statewide availability of the ‘Year 1’ content will be February 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 site 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.

DCYF Training Site Updates

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Coming soon! The DCYF training site is getting updated. You can use the training catalog to search for trainings based on your program type, role or preferred language. You are also able to track your training based on the following statuses:

  • In progress
  • Annual renewal dates
  • Completed

Updated instructions were added to the MERIT webpage under "Training" and "DCYF Student Training Portal." If you need additional support, reach out to our MERIT Support Team.

Did you miss the January webinar about the DCYF Training Portal updates?

Watch it now to see how these updates will help you the next time you complete training on the DCYF training site.

Watch the Webinar

Community-Based Training Model

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

A pilot will be available summer 2021. 

Want to Find out More?

Please note that this option is currently in development and is guided by House Bill (HB) 2556, and statewide implementation of this model is also dependent on new funding.

Winter Webinar Series

PD's Winter Webinar Series

The Winter Webinar Series will focus on various topics around training, staff qualifications, and the State-Approved Trainer program.

Full information and registration details are below.


February: Revised Trainer Standards

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The State-Approved Training (SAT) standards allows DCYF to ensure that all of our state-approved trainers are consistently offering high-quality learning experiences for early childhood and school-age professionals.

The Trainer Standards Workgroup has put forward a draft of the revised trainer standards. This webinar will introduce:

  • Changes that were made to the standards, including the addition of a virtual learning competency.
  • Development of an anti-bias and anti-racism standard.
  • The use of leveling to show a progression of knowledge and skills.  

Please join us to learn about where this resource is headed and how it will be used in the system. We are interested to hear your questions and feedback on the document.

Tuesday, Feb. 16 | 6 p.m.

Register Here

Audiences for this webinar are: Growing the Workforce Newsletter Subscribers (trainers, coaches, Relationship-Based Professionals, those in support roles).

March: Staff Qualifications – Education Updates

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During this webinar, the PD team will share more about the education pathways, including: 

  • How to indicate your selected pathway in the Workforce Registry, MERIT.
  • Learn the next steps for your chosen pathway, including the experience option.
  • Determine the steps you'll need to take given the timeline for your role. 

Tuesday, March 16 | 6 p.m.

Register Here

Audiences for this webinar are: early learning providers and those that support early learning professionals.

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Missed January's Webinars? 

We offered several in January: 

Webinars are always recorded and live on our Newsletters and Webinars page

If you cannot find the webinar you're looking for, we're most likely working to record and upload. We appreciate your patience. If you have questions about a specific webinar, email Marlene White.

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.

Early Achievers Scholarships, Stories of Success

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Katie Johnson 

I have been going back to school on the Early Achievers Grant for the past year. Last fall was my first quarter back in school. I have been super excited to be back in school.

I have been licensed for seven years and during this time I have been running my in-home child care. I have been part of the Early Achievers Program for close to six of those years. I feel like the knowledge I have gained from returning to college has been very rewarding and it is being used daily by me! I feel like I am becoming a better teacher for all the children I have the honor of caring for.

Since the state is doing their best to have high-quality care for the children of Washington, one of the best ways they can do this is to continue with this grant. I would not be able to continue college on my own without the assistance of the grant. It would put a financial strain on me and my family if I had to pay for my classes to meet the educational requirements to keep my business open.

- Katie Johnson, Olympic College Student and Early Achievers Grant Recipient 

Sandra McMurrin

Hello everyone! I am beyond grateful for the Early Achievers Grant. Without it, I would not be able to afford an education to further my career. I love that I can work and go to school at the same time and put what I learn into practice. I want to become a lead teacher, but I cannot do that due to needing a degree and I would not be able to afford my classes without the grant.

We are over income for financial assistance, but we have four children that have a lot of needs. As a teacher’s assistant I do not make very much money and all my earnings would be going to my education which would make a hardship for our family.

The grant allows me to educate myself to better our community and give a solid foundation to the children in our community who need it the most. I appreciate this grant and the support it has offered not only me but the children in my class and my family. Thank you.

-Sandra McMurrin, Olympic College Student and Early Achievers Grant Recipient 

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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. 

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Opportunities at North Seattle College's ECE Program

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North Seattle College's Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program prepares caregivers to become high-quality, well-educated, and caring teachers and advocates for children. North Seattle's ECE pathway includes:

  • Statewide stackable certificate (Initial, Short, and State)
  • Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS)

Learn about the perks the program offers:

  • Designed for students working full-time: virtual/Zoom classes are offered in the evenings and on weekends.
  • Advisors are available to assist with academic and financial aid planning.
  • The I-BEST Program is also offered, which gives additional support for those with limited English proficiency.
  • Initial and Short Certificate courses are offered in Spanish, Arabic, and Somali. In winter 2021, a cohort in Oromo will be offered. 
  • The ECE BAS degree is offered in both hybrid and full online programs. To learn more about this program email an advisor.
  • Currently, all classes are online due to COVID-19. 

For more information, visit North Seattle College ECE Program or email North Seattle College ECE Info

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Website Updates

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We are working to better organize and communicate information on the Professional Development webpages. As we work through these updates, you might see information change.

We welcome your feedback as we work through this project! 

Are you finding what you're looking for? Is the information making sense? Do you run into hiccups? If so, where at? Can't find something specific? Let us know!

Send your feedback to Marlene White.

Tribal Updates

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Did you know DCYF has an Office of Tribal Relations? 

DCYF offers various subscription topics. Check out the full list of subscription topics.

Bookmark the Professional Development Webpage

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Don't miss the latest updates related to training and Professional Development. Bookmark the Professional Development webpage!

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Subscribe to the PD Newsletters

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Growing the Workforce is a resource for all individuals who are in the business of delivering professional learning supports to the early learning workforce.

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


A complete list of newsletters can be found on our Newsletters and Webinars page

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.

COVID-19 Updates

DCYF has a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 Updates. 

Check It Out


How Are We Doing?

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Please let us know how we're doing by taking this quick three-question survey.

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