PD Newsletter | February Edition

PD Team Newsletter Header NEW

The PD Newsletter!

Supporting the adult educators who care for and teach young children in Washington State.

This quarterly newsletter from the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is designed to keep those working with Washington's children, youth, and families informed of all of the great work pertaining to Professional Development & Early Achievers.

children playing

Language bubble

In This Newsletter...

Early Achievers Corner

eA logo

To better serve our workforce, the Early Achievers team and the Professional Development team at DCYF are now one team.

Together, we will focus on workforce supports, quality, teaching and learning!

This section of the newsletter provides information and updates for Early Achievers.

Guide to the Records Review Tool Now Available!

Children playing

The Early Achievers Records Review component is an opportunity for Early Achievers participants to recognize, reflect, and grow. It is an optional component to go beyond Early Achievers Quality Level 3.

After completing the Program Profile and two Video Highlights, programs can opt in to Records Review with Quality Standard areas that are currently implemented. The newly created resource, Guide to the Records Review Tool, will help you decide which Quality Standard areas you have implemented, and will help you add up the number of points you can apply toward your next Quality Level.

Guide to the Records Review Tool

This guide is available in English, Spanish,  Somali. You can also find this resource, and the Records Review Tool in CECI (formerly known as Coaching Companion). We encourage you to talk to your coach, who can guide you through the process.

Meet the Early Learning Division Language Access Coordinators!

Cas and Abdullahi DCYF LACs

Abdullahi Abdullahi (pictured left) and Casandra Wilkerson (pictured right) are here to support language justice within the early learning, Spanish and Somali speaking communities.

Part of their work includes connecting with the early learning workforce to hear about community needs or interests involving language accessibility. 

If you would like to connect with the early learning language access coordinators to share or discuss information related to language access like resources, trainings, and/or communications or if you need support accessing information, please feel free to reach out to the coordinators via phone or email. We could even set up a zoom meeting if needed!

Contact: Abdullahi Abdullahi at Abdullahi.abdullahi@dcyf.wa.gov or via phone 360-706-3562 (Af-Somali)

 Contact: Casandra Wilkerson at Casandra.wilkerson@dcyf.wa.gov or via phone 509-823-6517 (Español)

Take the Farm to ECE Survey and Win Up to $50! 

image of a  gift card

Does your program teach children about food, agriculture or nutrition? Do you serve local foods during meals or snacks? Do you have a garden or grow plants in the classroom? Would you like to? If so, we want to hear from you!

Participants can win one of 42 Amazon gift cards up to $50, and the survey only takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. Information from the survey will be used to develop resources, trainings and support for the Farm to ECE program locally and across the state.  

The survey will be open from February 20th through March 10th. 

Take the Survey!

Get Involved With Farm to ECE

child with fruits

Do you know the Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) program can help your program start a garden, or connect you to a farmer in your area?

Farm to ECE includes any activities that promote food knowledge, good nutrition, and connections to the way our food is grown, harvested or foraged.

Farm to ECE can benefit programs and their communities by offering experiential learning opportunities, supporting local businesses, engaging with families, and instilling lifelong healthy habits.


To learn more about Farm to ECE check out the WA F2ECE website and join the WA F2ECE Community of Practice.

Exciting Updates to the Education Verification Process!

international degree

Do you have an international degree that needs to get verified in MERIT? Have you recently completed a degree or certificate while on the Early Achievers Grant?

DCYF’s verification process has changed and is now easier to complete! The updated process reduces barriers, time and costs to providers. Read the full update here.

  • For providers with international education: The previous process required providers to professionally translate their education materials, and receive a course-by-course evaluation from a third party company. This will no longer be the case. A DCYF Credentialing Specialist will now verify all internationally earned education.
  • For students/providers on the Early Achievers Grant: DCYF will now record their completed education on behalf of providers, liberating providers from doing this step themselves.

Verify Your International Degree

If you have an international degree and would like to receive credit for it, you can start the education application in MERIT. Instructions on how to complete an education application are located on the MERIT Workforce Registry webpage under “Education Application Instructions.”  

For questions on this process, or how to submit your international degree, email MERIT.

Tips for Reading the Staff Qualifications Dashboard

light bulb

In MERIT, if you have a licensed role, you will also have a staff qualifications dashboard.  This means you will see color-coding for the various role qualifications you may have. We have seen an increase in the number of people using their dashboards, which is great! Below we outline some tips and reminders.

Tips To Keep In Mind

  • If a part of the dashboard is yellow, this is okay! It means this person is in progress and this complies with the licensing rule.
  • A licensing waiver or affidavit is not required while someone is working to meet the full education requirements, or when something is in progress (yellow on the dashboard).
  • If you have an item that is red on the dashboard, an action needs to be taken. 
    • In some situations, simply marking what option you will be taking to meet your role requirement is enough to change from red to yellow.
      • Example: if you are interested in completing an experience option for your education requirement, marking that will change your status to 'being in progress', which turns your dashboard yellow.
  • Green on the dashboard means that item is fully met, and no further action is needed. 


Unsure of what option is best for you? Contact us! The MERIT Navigation team is here to support you! Email: merit@dcyf.wa.gov

For a full explanation of the dashboard and qualification options, including experience, training or education, visit our website:

Education & Equivalents Webpage

Are You Looking for Training?

You can search for training in MERIT under Find Training.

For courses taken outside of MERIT, you must submit a Continuing Education Proposal (CEP) to receive in-service credit. Please note: training reimbursement is not available for this option.

Instructions on how to complete a CEP are located on the MERIT Workforce Registry webpage under “Training".


Fair Start for Kids Act Corner: Dual Language Designation & Trauma-Informed Care

The PD Team holds two major components of the Fair Start for Kids Act (FSKA) that support advancing the quality of child care in Washington through the early childhood workforce, they are Dual Language Designation and Trauma-Informed Care. To learn more visit: 

Current Initiatives Webpage

Dual Language Designation, Coming Spring 2023!

dual language learning

The Fair Start for Kids Act directs DCYF to establish a Dual Language Designation for licensed or certified providers accepting state subsidy who participate in Early Achievers, ECEAP, and Early ECEAP.

The Dual Language Designation recognizes programs where children learn literacy, culture, and content in two or more languages.

Join us to learn more about the designation, the benefits of a designation, potential funding to enhance multilingual learning environments, and how to request it! This webinar will be held live in English and Spanish. 

Webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 28 | 6-7 pm

Register Here

Professional Development Resources for Multilingual Learning

All early learning providers in Washington State have access to informational webinars about free self-paced eLearning and printable materials through WIDA. There is no cost to create an account or access the resources.

To learn more, visit the Dual Language Learning webpage and click on “’What is WIDA?” in the Frequently Asked Questions.

DCYF's New Training Site- Coming in 2023!

person smiling and waving at computer

DCYF's New Training Site is coming sometime in 2023 and will replace the current LMS, DCYFtraining.com.

DCYF’s New Training Site will be the place where:

  • Child care providers will find, access and complete trainings
  • Trainers/training organizations will manage, record and create training events
  • Individuals can apply to become State-Approved Trainers

DCYF’s New Training Site will be easier to navigate and will have many new features, including: 

  • Ability to search for a training by topic, location, and more
  • Language customization - users will be able to translate the site into multiple languages
  • Automated alerts and notifications
  • Simplified trainer application process
  • New formats for online learning
  • A bigger resource library

When Will this Change Happen?

DCYF's New Training Site will launch sometime in 2023. We will continue to provide status updates as we progress toward the launch. Here’s what to expect with our transition to DCYF’s New Training Site in 2023:

  • How-to guides to help users navigate the site
  • Webinars demonstrating key functions of the new training site
  • Open office hours for trainers and training organizations to assist with use of new training site and answer questions
  • Individualized technical assistance
  • Continued user-testing and resource development

Until then, child care providers will continue to use the current training site (dcyftraining.com) to access required training and trainers and training organizations will continue to enter trainings in MERIT. For more information visit: 

DCYFs New Training Site

Winter Webinar Series

winter hills

The Winter Webinar Series kicked off in January. If you missed the webinars, you can find the recordings on our Webinars webpage. 

If you cannot find a webinar, we're most likely working to record and upload. If you have questions about a specific webinar, email Marlene White.

March Webinar: Update on our Engagement Roadshow!

child riding a pony

During the Fall Webinar Series, we held a two-part series in November and December focused on gathering feedback to shape the future of the webinar series. 

Participants provided good feedback on the ways in which DCYF can support learning and professional development via our webinar series, and beyond! A summary will be shared and posted to our Webinars webpage soon. 

Our team has been working diligently to implement the feedback and make it into a reality. During this webinar, we'll provide an update on this work and our plans for 2023. Come ride along!

This webinar will be held live in English, Spanish and Somali.  

Wednesday, Mar. 22 | 6-7 pm

Register Here

State-Approved Trainers and Training Program

Are you a trainer or are you curious to learn more about Washington's State-Approved Training program? The latest Growing the Workforce Newsletter is for State-Approved Trainers.

A complete list of the Growing the Workforce Newsletters can be found on DCYF's Newsletters webpage:

Newsletters Webpage 

Trainer in front of board

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:

Scholarships, Incentives, and Awards

woman with diploma

Early Achievers Scholarship: Stories of Success

child in classroom

"Since joining the Early Childhood Education program at Renton Technical College I have learned so much. Being able to study theories and facts about Early Childhood Education has added to my 6 years of practical childcare experience. I have been able to directly apply the knowledge I have learned in class to the daycare I work at. This is due to the very well thought out assignments and lesson plan that the teachers have created. All the teachers in the program are extremely nice and knowledgeable on the topic. I'm so thankful that the Early Achiever Program provides this education to childcare workers as it has improved our program so much".

-Danielle F. 

classroom materials

"I am very happy to taking this early childhood education class, from early achievers grant. All of the teachers are super nice and very helpful. Everything that I am learning it is adding to my knowledge, so I can have a better program. Also since English is my second language all of the teacher are very supportive, patient and helpful in this program. They are always trying to help me to understand everything better. They answer all of my questions with very detailed information. They offering so many keys and points that are very important and useful to do practice with children, so we can have a very good relationship with families and children.

I am so thankful that the Early Achiever Program provides this education to childcare teachers."

-Sharareh A. 

Share With Us!

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. 

whats your story

Subscribe to the PD Newsletters

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 page

How Are We Doing?

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.

phone, hand, feedback,