Community Partner Feature
In our last Community Partner Feature, we showcased one of our Community Partners that supports families. In this feature, we will be highlighting one of our Community Partners which supports our Early Childhood Educators in Guilford County! EQuIPD which stands for Education, Quality Improvement and Professional Development, was founded by Dr. Deborah J. Cassidy. Dr. Cassidy had the vision to provide technical assistance differently to help make it more sustainable within early care and education programs. The program was begun in July 2014. EQuIPD will celebrate 5 years in July 2019! The EQuIPD program addresses a critical need in Guilford County–the improvement of quality in community child care settings. EQuIPD includes five interconnected domains. The activity provides services for family child care homes and child care centers including: 1) program enhancement through individual consultation, 2) community learning sessions, 3) workforce retention strategies, 4) peer mentoring, and 5) educational attainment and professional development. EQuIPD is a grant funded activity through the Partnership for Children of Guilford County (Smart Start) and is housed and supported by the Human Development and Family Studies Department at UNC-Greensboro. EQuIPD has a staff of 6 who each have many years of working in early childhood in Guilford County, as well as across North Carolina.
EQuIPD’s mission is to nurture and empower early care and education professionals and programs with tools to support and sustain success.
The program may work with a teacher on how to go back to school; a family child care provider on business practices; an ECE administrator on how to support the program through an assessment, and/or a classroom teacher on meeting the needs of the children. The program also provides professional learning sessions across the county, individualized peer mentoring and support for teachers, and works with directors on work environment issues like teachers being more involved in program-wide decision making. EQuIPD provides a multifaceted approach to supporting and enhancing quality across a dynamic and complex child care system.
The following is one of EQuIPD’s success stories:
Robin was a protégé in the ASCEND Peer Mentoring cohort during the first year of EQuIPD (2014) which was also Robin’s first year of teaching. For each ASCEND Peer Mentoring cohort, we pair newer teachers or family child care providers with accomplished teachers and providers and they work together on identified goals. Over the year, we see both classrooms and individuals benefit and receive different support from the relationship and the professional development sessions that we provide. At EQuIPD, we talk about Robin a lot because she is such a great example of our mission “to nurture and empower early care and education professionals and programs with tools to support and sustain success”. Robin attended our first community learning event in 2014 and she was really sick with a bad cold but did not want to miss the day. Whenever we visit her classroom, we see her implementing some of the things she has learned through the sessions she has attended with us. She continues to grow and is currently in school to learn how to open a forest school for young children. She has started to implement some of these ideas and methods on outdoor learning in her current workplace. At the ASCEND Peer Mentoring Focus Group in October, Robin said “there is no other organization or person that has poured more into me professionally than EQuIPD. I look for events that have EQuIPD because I know I will learn something and they will be amazing. I know you are supporting me and proud of my work”. Robin has applied to be a mentor this year instead of a protégé and we are thrilled to see her continue to grow in her teaching with our support.