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  • 22 Feb 2021 9:21 PM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)

    Texas went through what is being called the snowpocalypse of 2021.  The effects on childcare centers have been many and varied.

    A few people had plumbing issues that resulted in MAJOR water damage.  This made their building unsafe.  They had to relocate.

    Do you have a relocation plan in your SOPs? 
    Do you have a relationship with a nearby business, faith organization, or community center where you could relocate in a time of crisis?

    Do you have a relocation plan in your Standard Operating Procedures?  Do you have a relationship with a nearby business, faith organization, or community center where you could relocate in a time of crisis?

    Your child care center is in a building. Sometimes buildings fail, as they did this week, through no fault of yours. 

    It can come in lots of different forms. You can

    • lose electricity
    • lose water or sewer
    • be flooded 
    • sustain damage the exterior of the building
    • have roof damage
    • have a breakdown of systems

    How you handle each of these is pretty similar.

    1. You have to look at your building safe for occupancy of anyone without special training. If so then we move on to 
    2. is it safe enough to house the children?  
    There is nothing in Texas minimum standards that says that you have to have electricity.  But your building have to be bright enough that you can safely supervise the children and you have to have a working phone.  If the only phone you have is dependent on electricity, then that will not work. So, a power outage is not an automatic closure.

    Losing water pressure is a little bit different.  Licensing does require that we wash our hands many, many, many, many times during the day and that needs to be done with sanitary water.   If you have a boil notice for the water in your area temporarily, do you have another way to get clean water for hand-washing?   Once you have gotten the hand washing water do you have a way to dispense it where you don't have to hold onto a button or something like that for the water to come out?  In a traditional sink you turn the spigot the water comes out so you don't have to hold the spigot for the water to come out.  That is what is required in order to continue operations when you do not have water pressure or when you have a boil notice at your Center.

    As long as the pipes are flowing out and you can have sanitary water for people to drink and for handwashing you can stay open.

    If you have a failure of your sewer system, you must close your business.  There is no way around that.

    Other mechanical systems can fail and as long as it is safe for the children to be there, you can continue operating with that failed system. Primarily what we're talking about here is your heating and cooling system in your building. if it is the middle of August and the interior temperatures in your building are going to be over a hundred degrees... you probably need to close your business temporarily while the air conditioning is being repaired. If it's staying in the 80s you should be fine but you should probably still notify the parents that the HVAC system is out and that it will be out for X number of hours. If it is the heating system during the winter you have the same issue. How cold is it going to get in your building before the heat can come back on? If it is going to be too cold for the children to stay safe and healthy inside your building with the clothing that they have available then you need to close down your program until the heat came be repaired but if everybody has jackets and they're fine and the temperature is going to stay pretty consistent with where it is right now then I think you're fine.

    During this 2021 snowstorm that led to power outages and water outages throughout the state of Texas for multiple days we had to close our programs.  However, if you had a backup generator and backup water you may have been able to stay open. Very few programs have that and because this is such a rare event I would not recommend running out and getting it unless you are a childcare program associated with a hospital or other key infrastructure.

    The other type of failure that your building may have is structural.  Something has damaged the exterior walls, the roof, the interior walls, or the floor. Whether that it damages done by a rabbit who got out of their cage or a storm, wildfire, or a car accident does not matter. We still need to look first at the safety of the building for adults than the safety of the building for children before determining whether or not we can be open. It may be possible that you only have to close part of the building because the roof is impact in the other parts of the building or the external wall is not so damaged as to make it impossible for you to keep it climate controlled.  In that case, you would simply close that classroom and continue operating in the rest of the building. 

    As soon as any significant damage happens you need to call your insurance agent because some policies have a requirement that the insurance company be notified within 48 hours of the damage.  Don't wait.  Call the insurance company or email them. Next you need to call licensing and let them know that something has happened to make all or a part of your building unsafe. They also must be notified within 48 hours of you determining that there is a hazard.  Again, I would recommend this be done in email so that licensing has a paper trail that you notified them within the appropriate time frame.

    It may take longer to get approved for repairs by your insurance company than you can reasonably afford to wait. That is why it is important to have an emergency savings account for your child care center so that when your building fails you can do the repairs and then be reimbursed by the insurance company. When you are doing that you must keep every receipt and every invoice from every person who works on the building to submit that to the insurance company so that you will be reimbursed for those expenses. that includes hourly wages for any of your employees who may work on resolving the problems.

    All of this presumes that you're going to be able to go back into your building in a very short amount of time. However, in some cases you have to relocate to another building because it is not safe and you need to offer care to your community. In that case what Health and Human Services requires is that you  notify them that you were going to move to the alternate location before you move any item into the new location.  Once you have notified them, you can move your equipment and supplies to that other location.  You do not have to wait until licensing get back to you.  In the case of natural disasters ,such as the snowpocalypse, they have too many centers in crisis to respond to in a timely manner. Therefore they allow you to relocate using your best judgment and they will get back to you as soon as they can. In some cases that temporary move ends up lasting months and months. When that happens, licensing will come out and inspect the alternate location. If you're only in the alternate location or a week, licensing is very unlikely to come do an inspection

    You may have noticed that I said WHEN your building fails, you need to have an emergency fund. This is not a question of if. It is a question of when. Every Center is going to have a failure of their building at some point if they're open for 5 to 10 years. Hopefully for you it will be a simple as your HVAC unit going out in the middle of the day but it may be as traumatic as having your building have two feet of water in it because of a water main break, a hurricane, or tornado.

    You have to be prepared for this and you need to create standard operating procedures for what you will do in this situation. That means you should have a relationship with potential relocation partners before your building fails. This can be churches, it can be property that is vacant at a local strip center.  The opportunities are as many as your creative minds can come up with. Some programs have even relocated to parks that have bathrooms because you're not required to have a building. This is usually for short-term 1-2 day closures.

    I hope this helps and let me know about what building failures you had at your Center or centers you worked at in the past.



  • 09 Feb 2021 6:30 AM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)

    I am a huge believer in management by walking around at my childcare centers. However, I want it to be very clear with my staff about when I'm walking around managing and when I'm just walking through the building. To make that clear, I had a uniform that I would wear when walking through the building collecting monkeys and seeing what was happening in the present.

    I put on a jacket with pockets I think blazers are fabulous.  Give me a good jacket with pockets any day and I will be a happy lady. 

    You choose your way to let folks know that you are open to taking monkeys.  Sometimes when you walk through you just want to see what is going on in the classes.  Management by walking around allows you to see what is really happening at your center.

     The advantage of the pockets is that I could have a post-it pad and a put it in my left hand pocket. That way when I was walking through the program I could write down things that I saw.  If a teacher wanted to give me a monkey, I had a place for them to write it down.  I would then take any written post-its and I would put them in my right hand pocket.

      

    When I got back to the office I could place it on the appropriate page of my notebook. I did this walk through my program twice every day. My staff knew they could count on seeing me twice a day at any campus that I was visiting. When I only had one center I walked through that Center every day morning and night. When I had multiple centers I had a schedule. Staff knew when they would see me at a minimum one day a week. I would also stop by at other times so that we didn't have any of that “while the the cat is away, the mice will play.”

    I used these notes to create "caught in the act" notes for my staff.  I caught them doing well in the classroom, on the playground and about their work.  These are so much more important than catching them failing to live up to expectations!


    What you focus on you get MORE of.  I want more of the wonderful things and fewer instances of misbehavior!

    Creating a systems and clear record keeping are vital to staff morale.  You want to ensure that you are treating everyone equitably.  Having clear systems also makes sure that everyone can tell that you are being fair. 

    Your attitude counts. Be friendly as walk around the building. Make all the people feel important by stating warm qualities they each have as you introduce them on tours or to new hires.

    For example:

    “This is Mary. Mary has been here for two years and always smiles and has a positive attitude. Mary, this is Sue. Sue has just completed her training as a Child Care Professional and is excited to be with us.”

    Discuss the need for team unity. It is important for all the members of your staff to know and understand they are each an important member of the team. They are all working together to create the best possible program. This may mean that sometimes, a staff member has to make some adjustments. He or she may have to fill in for another staff member if needed. They will do this a lot more easily if you, too, are doing your share and filling in. Remember, you are the model for your children and staff.

    By doing these thing You'll get the most out of your staff.



  • 21 Oct 2020 9:24 PM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)

    • Inspiration cannot be measured or quantified. You cannot report to your boss that you had this much inspiration today and therefore have accomplished so much.

      In today’s world, people often consider that which can be measured is more important or more valuable. But without inspiration, there's nothing to measure because we produce nothing. Inspiration is what creates and all that is measured springs from this nebulous concept.

      There are three parts to inspiration, according to psychologists Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot.


    • 1.             Evocation. Inspiration is created spontaneously and without intent. The word inspiration means "divine breath." Inspiration is not a part of our baser, more primal brains; it serves no purpose for basic survival
    • 2.             Transcendence.  This part comes in moments of clarity and with the awareness of new possibilities. Inspiration is indeed the mark of higher consciousness in us. Inspiration comes from a place of beauty and clarity.
    • 3.             Approach Motivation. It’s a fancy way of saying that the person with the inspiration seeks to communicate that vision. Either by talking about it, creating the vision in real life or letting others share in the vision.

    • People who are inspired have some common traits. For one thing, they are more open to new experiences. That almost always comes before the inspiration hits, indicating a certain willingness to be open to inspiration as a precedent to experiencing it.

      It’s important to note that inspired people were neither more nor less conscientious than any others. Meaning that inspiration wasn’t something that they could command or “will” to happen.

                 

      The other thing inspired people have in common is a strong desire to master what they do. However, they are also not competitive. Remember that inspiration is transcendent, and competition is a survival instinct. That indicates that trying to beat out or one-up someone is not conducive to inspiration.

      There are other critical factors in people who are often inspired.

    • 1.             A confidence in their abilities. Even though they may not be experts in everything, they are comfortable with their specialties.
    • 2.             Self-esteem. Inspired people have the confidence not to doubt themselves, indicating that they are able not to sabotage themselves.
    • 3.             Optimism. It’s difficult to be inspired if you’re stuck in a negative state. People with optimism are more open and more prone to inspiration.

    Inspiration is not just a flash of vision; it’s a motivation that births creativity and motivation. People who get inspired are usually the ones more eager to jump into a project.


  • 30 Mar 2020 2:14 PM | Kate Young (Administrator)

    Carrie and Kate have launched a podcast designed to support directors in child care, school age programs and other businesses that rely on youth and families as their target market.


    https://colorfulclipboard.buzzsprout.com/

  • 23 Aug 2019 4:02 PM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)

    Childcare centers need a fabulous staff in order to be a thriving program. Good quality teachers lead to happy, engaged children, and happy, confident parents who stay with your program until the children age out of care. Unfortunately you can't just hire 20 Marry Poppins clones to run your program. And to be quite honest, the popping through pictures would make keeping up with ratios quite a challenge.

    So you have to take your teachers where they are and hope for the best, right? No! You can help them to be better tomorrow than they are today by building their skills & knowledge.

    To build the best staff, you have to do 2 things. Just 2.

    • Care about people
    • Invest in them

    That's it. Shortest blog post ever!

    Caring

    What do I mean by "care about people?" You have to get to know your staff. Find out what their interests are. Where do they seem themselves in 3 years? Which Winnie the Pooh character do they most identify with?

    By really knowing each individual, you will lear what motivates her/him. You'll notice when the energy level is down or when something has changed. When this happens, if you genuinely care, you'll pull the teacher into your office and ask questions.

    You will hear that she is just done with hearing no from her class of 2 year olds because her son is a middle schooler & that seems to be the only thing he says to her anymore. Well, that & "whatever."

    Armed with that information you can ask if she would like to change classes for a while, or take a mini vacation, or something else. You can problem solve together.

    With this type of interaction you create a bond. You show that she is valued for who she is not just what she can do. She can go to any center & do what she does, but it is only at your center that she can be comfortable being who she truly is.

    Invest

    We invest in our team members by investing time, money & resources into make them the best version of themselves.

    You can automate an awful lot in this business. You can have a new hire go through a packaged 8 hour preservice & orientation program. That saves you time. At least in the short term. In the long term it might lead to having to hire again in 3 weeks.

    Spend part of that 8 hours with this baby early childhood professional. Talk to him about what it means to the kids to see him every day. Explain why you do the boo-boo reports & incident reports the way you do. What does this procedure mean to the parents. Introduce him to the teachers he'll spend the most time with, adding something about what that teacher is known for. He'll remember them better that way. You don't need to spend the whole 8 hours with him, but do invest some time.

    The conversation with the mom of the middle school boy was an investment in time. Doing an observation in a classroom is an investment of time. Sending the floater into lend an extra hand on a rough day is investing time. Simple to do & simple to overlook.

    You'll invest money in your team members from before you hire them, in advertising, till after they leave, in unemployment taxes. Much of it feels like you have no choice, but you do. Invest it wisely.

    Take the background check fees, for instance. I, for one don't want to have to pay those for people who aren't going to go in or for folks that aren't going to stay for 6 months. So how do you avoid that? Create systems for on-boarding & integrating the new hire into the community and pay someone to implement them. This is smart money.

    Hiring a First Aid & CPR instructor to come to your center twice a year is smart money. Invite everyone who will expire before the next scheduled course take the current one. Yes, they may have had 2 more months to go, but isn't easier for your teachers to do the training at their home center than to track down another class & figure out how to get there? Invest in making it easy for your staff to stay in compliance with standards.

    Investing in resources is a bit harder to quantify. Resources can be time, money, equipment, supplies, time off or connections. If you have a floater who only works part time because she has a school aged child with ADHD who can't be left alone after the school bus drops off, what resources do you have that might help? If you have an employee who is having plantar fasciitis pain & having a hard time being as active as you want, what resources can you bring to bear to help? I am not suggesting that you try to fix these issues; I am suggesting that you support your staff. Help the floater find babysitters who she feels comfortable with so she can have more flexibility, or see if her child would enjoy your afterschool program. Offer the teacher a day off to go talk to her doctor & maybe get exercises or supports to ease the pain.

    This can all seem like a lot. I get it. So find a mentor or get some training to help.

    Getting yourself good training on how to manage staff is a key element of investing your time, money & resources wisely. We, here at Texas Director, are hosting a Super Staff Intensive in September. Join other Directors & owners in learning what is working now to recruit, train & inspire a Super Staff!

    For a SUPER discount enter code "super"


  • 07 Aug 2019 7:40 AM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)

    Starting and running your own center can be very lucrative and fulfilling. It’s also very challenging. Most small businesses fail, child care centers are no exception.

    It's often said that more than half of new businesses fail during the first year. According to the Small Business Association (SBA), this isn't necessarily true. The SBA states that only 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10. The SBA goes on to state that only 25% make it to 15 years or more. However, not all of these businesses need to fail. With the right planning, funding and flexibility, businesses have a better chance of succeeding. We'll go through some of the biggest mistakes that start-ups can make and figure out how to improve your chances of success. It’s necessary to avoid the common pitfalls of small business ownership if you want to experience success.

    Most small businesses face considerable financial challenges at first. There’s little room for mistakes in the early days. Ensure that you’re not making avoidable errors. Educate yourself before taking the plunge.

    Small business owners can avoid many of the mistakes that lead to disaster:

    1)  Failing to listen to customers. Find out why families enroll at your center and why they don’t. Customer feedback is imperative.

    • Too many center owners are so in love with a their particular idea of what makes a great school that they refuse to change to accommodate the market. Your customers are your best source of information. Conduct surveys or ask informal questions. Be flexible and change your approach when the feedback dictates it.

    2) Weak leadership.

    It isn’t necessary to be Attila the Hun, but your center requires strong leadership. The typical employee in a small program often isn’t considered qualified by larger schools. You’ll frequently be faced with employees with limitations. Your leadership is necessary to drive and inspire them.


    3)    Hiring the wrong people. Every center is disgruntled regarding the availability of good help. Even the most popular companies are plagued by hiring mistakes, however, big companies can absorb poor hiring decisions and keep on running.
    •   A small business owner can be severely harmed by a poor hire. Think about the lost time and headaches one bad employee can cause.  I recently recorded a video about some things to think about before hiring. https://youtu.be/S11iutSSAP0
    • If you don’t have a human resources department, you’re on your own, and most centers, of any size are. Take the time to ensure that you’re hiring people that fit with your program so they can be effective in their job. Consider what is needed in the job, what you want in a new hire, and what would be ideal. Look at your requirements and the temperament and background of any potential employees. It’s much easier to avoid a mistake than to fix it.

    4)   Undercapitalization. When you barely have enough money to keep your business afloat, any small mishap can disastrous. You’re also forced to do anything you can in the short-term to pay your bills. That’s a poor way to run and grow a business. Ensure you have the funds you need to get your idea off the ground.


    5)    Not understanding the importance of marketing. New business owners are often convinced that their idea is so amazing that marketing is secondary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most businesses need to spend around 15% of their annual revenue on marketing to survive. This amount can drop as the business gains traction.  However, Coca-Cola spends 18.3% of their revenue after 127 years of operations, so your mileage may vary.

    • Centers need a marketing budget. When planning your business, ensure you have the funds necessary to let the world know that you exist.
    6)    Failing to recognize your competition. There might not be someone nearby offering Reggio Emilia preschool programs, but not all of your competition is direct. You’re also competing with other childcare of all types, family care (aka grandma), registered family homes, licensed centers, and mother’s day out programs.
    • Consider the other alternatives your customers have for their care. Your customers can always spend their money somewhere else. This is significant.
    •  Make a list of your closest competitors. How can you provide your service in a way that causes customers to favor your business?

    Running a center requires a wide range of skills. With so many hats to wear, mistakes are common. It’s not necessary to be perfect, but the biggest mistakes can be avoided. Making a critical mistake can spell the end for your company. Learn about the critical errors business owners make and make plans to avoid them.


    If you need help in developing your business plan, contact us at Kate@TexasDirector.org


  • 05 Jun 2019 12:00 PM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)

    The summer everyone wants time off, I know I do, but you still have a child care center to run.  Which means there have to be teachers in the classrooms.  This time of year is the perfect time to evaluate your paid time off (PTO) policies.

    There are lots of ways to provide benefits that meet both your school's needs and help your staff feel appreciated.  PTO is one of the most appreciated  benefits in childcare.  

    Let’s talk about 3 ground rules that should apply to whatever PTO policy you choose:

    • Make it attractive

    Your PTO policy has to be compelling for both prospective and long-term employees. While it’s key that your vacation and PTO policy is alluring to top teachers considering employment at your school, it’s also important that you structure it to reward long-term teachers. When reviewing all the options for your PTO policy, consider ways to have incentives build over time.

    If your business closes over big holidays like the Fourth of July and Christmas, make sure you include mention of that when marketing your vacation plan. Saying, “Starting employees receive 3 weeks of vacation time including Fourth of July and Christmas PTO” sounds better than leaving out the extra time every employee gets off over holidays and saying, “Starting employees receive 2 weeks of vacation.”

    • Make it sustainable

    At some companies, even though your policies allow for a certain amount of PTO, there’s a cultural undertone that actually taking that time off is frowned upon. You can have all the wonderful vacation policies in the world, but if there’s an unspoken rule that employees shouldn’t take advantage of them, your staff won't renew themselves, thus increasing you teacher burnout. Conversely, if your school gains a great reputation for generous vacation and PTO policies, your popularity in the employer landscape can skyrocket.

    • Make it happen

    Glassdoor survey shows the average American employee only takes half of their vacation time, now this statistic is probably not reflective of early childhood education. Research shows that when employees take time off, they’re more productive because they’ve had time to recharge. We definitely need that.  Teachers who are stressed don't manage classes well.  It’s in your best interest to actually encourage employees to take time off, not just because of stress management but also for disease resistance & reducing the spread of illnesses. When they are sick, they need to stay home, as well as taking at least one vacation a year.

    Research shows that people are more productive when they take breaks: to be completely separated from work.  This means that they aren’t babysitting for parents.  They aren’t texting or calling you. They aren’t responding to calls or texts from parents.

    So, what are some ways other centers handle PTO?

    1. Forced Time off :

     Some centers close for holidays, holiday weeks, and/or summer. This allows you to give folks time off without having to schedule substitutes. Everyone gets the same days off and you can be sure everyone is actually unplugging from the center.  It is your choice as to whether you pay your staff for these days off or not.

    At my first center, Little People, this is the method I started out with. I closed the center for 2 weeks a year.  We closed for the week of July 4th & the week between Christmas & New Years. All my permanent staff members were paid for those two weeks. We also had 5 federal or state holidays that we were closed.  One of those was our in service day.  So if you do the math that means all of my teachers were paid to not come to work 14 days a year.

    2. Floating Holidays :

    Decide the number of days you think your folks should have off per year, based on your budget & the needs of your staff.  Each staff person gets that many days off in an account to be used for personal or sick days.  They can use them as they see fit. 

    This is a great option if you have a diverse staff with a variety or religious observances.  Your observant Catholics may want Good Friday & Maundy Thursday off while your Muslim teachers may prefer Eid off twice a year & your Jewish staff may want off for Yom Kippor & Rosh Hashanah.  For those who don’t celebrate specific religious Holy Days, there may be a desire to take off for their birthday or their child’s first day of school. 

    The floating holidays allows for much more flexibility for your staff.  It also means the administrator has more work.  The trade off is that your employee’s needs are better met & that improve work performance & lowers turn-over.

    3. Pay for Seniority/Position :

    A version of the floating holiday system is one where new employees get x number of days off and after a certain amount of time they get more.  Another version is that all Floaters get x number of days off & all Master Teachers get Y.  For instance, perhaps after an employee has passed the probationary period, she gets 5 days of PTO to be used as desired.  After 2 years they get 2 more days, then at 5 they go up to 2 weeks, at 7years 2.5 weeks and so on.

    It offers the benefits & disadvantages of the floating pay with the added elements of controlling costs & rewarding loyalty.  This or the next version are what I see most often in centers.

    4. Hybrid :

    The hybrid system combines some forced time off with floating holidays.  For instance you are closed for July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Christmas & Thanksgiving. Everyone must take those days off.  Additionally they have PTO.

    This is the gold standard.  This gives your staff control over their paid days off and allows you the certainty that they are actually taking time off.  It is also more expensive & takes more work to manage, which is why not all centers choose to go this route.

    5. Two pots :

    In the two pots method your employees have 2 pots of paid time off: medical leave & vacation.  These can be paid at different rates, have different amounts of time in them and can be incentivized.  For instance, centers may choose to pay unused sick days at the end of the year as a form of bonus.  Or perhaps they can roll those days to the next year.  I strongly suggest that the 2 pots be treated differently in some manner.  The point is to encourage staff members to take care of their health & to actually take time off for mental breaks, AKA vacation.

    In this scenario if someone needs a sick day, they take it, but there is some sort of requirement to prove that they or their family member was ill.  Sometimes 1 day of sick leave requires no note, but 2 or more requires a doctor’s note or similar documentation.  The vacation days are scheduled in advance.  These are planned for.

    Finally

    Do what works for your program and don’t be afraid to revise your strategy to work with the current economy.  Your time-off policies should be one of your biggest selling points to new employees.

    Most traditional centers can make this claim: No nights or weekend work requirements. This is a HUGE deal to potential employees.  This is a major reason why people would rather work in a center than in retail or food service.

    If you found this blog useful, please make sure you are subscribed to our feed & share it with others to whom it would be useful!!!!

    As always, if you have questions, clarifications or topics you would like discussed, let us know in the comments below. 

  • 22 Feb 2019 3:07 PM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)

    Childcare programs across the state of Texas have a new challenge to manage: a new criminal background check procedure.

    In my opinion this is going to a huge mess for a while.  Eventually the state will figure it out, but right now- it is a shit show.  pardon my French.  We had a hard enough time getting applicants to show up for interviews and then fingerprint checks, but now we have to rely on THEM to sign up on their own, pay for it and actually get it done.

    I don't see it happening.  I really don't.  The level of hand holding the Director's are going to have to do is going to go from a 7 on a scale of 1-10 to a 12.  

    How many people applying to work an entry level job are going to have funds to pay for the background check?  How many of them check their email daily?  If it were social media, then yes, but email - NO.

    In case you don't know what I'm going on about, please take a moment to watch this video training about the new system.


    In addition to the fact that the center is no longer in charge of scheduling fingerprint checks and won't be notified about prior criminal history, in addition there is not REALLY a procedure for screening folks who have not been residents of the State of Texas for the past 5 years.  There is a sort-of procedure for folks who have lived in other states, but NONE (as of yet) for those who lived in other countries.  What about American territories like Samoa and Puerto Rico?  No idea.

    Please take a moment to survey your existing staff and find out

    • how many have lived outside of Texas in the past 5 years, 
    • how many that was true of when they started working in childcare & 
    • how many would have continued to apply if they had to pay for a background check before being offered a job.


    I want to know.  If you send me this information, I will send you a free copy of our pre-service training book. 



  • 21 Jan 2019 4:27 PM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)

    You have worked with and been around children your whole life. You love working with kids. Maybe you have worked in a center for a few years. Now you want to lead a licensed childcare center of your very own! You want to be a DIRECTOR!

    So, you look up “childcare Texas” in google and find links to the DFPS (Department of Family & Protective Services) website and look at the screens and screens of “information for providers.” I can see your face now…

    andre-guerra-676198-unsplash

    Let me help you out. If you want to be a Director and you don’t have a Bachelors in Child Development and 2 college course in business, your easiest path is to become a Director is to take a Director Credentialing class like those we teach at Texas Director. I can see you are unsure.

    I can relate. I wouldn’t trust me either. You don’t know where I came from and obviously I want you to buy for Texas Director, so I would say it is the easiest. Fair. So, let’s go through the options from Minimum Standards (746.1015).

     

    First of all, every Director must be at least 21 years of age and have a high school diploma or its equivalent. I presume you have that handled. Then you have to meet one of the 8 options for a combination of education & experience.

    • Option 1 A bachelor’s degree with 12 college credit hours in child development and six college credit hours in management & at least 1year experience in a licensed child-care center. (the option I mentioned above)

    So if you already have a bachelors degree, just pull out you transcript & see how many course you had in child development (you are looking for 4) and management/business (looking for 2). If you don’t have those specific courses, then you have 2 choices. Which one will work best for you? You can take the time & $$$ to take the missing courses, delaying your position as Director or you can choose another qualification. For $825 and on average 1 month you can work one-on-one with an instructor in the Director Success Personalized Texas Director course and get your license or you can take up to 6 classes ($8657 at UT & at least a year). It is your choice.

    • Option 2 An associates of applied science degree in child development (or a closely related field), with 6 college credit hours in child development & 6 college credit hours in business and at least 2 years experience in a licensed child-care center.

    Ok, so this option might be a better fit for you. Pull out your AS transcript. DO you have the matching coursework? If so, great! You are ready to submit your paperwork to the state! If not, how many courses do you need to take? One, two? You can totally do that. How long will that take you? At a minimum 8 weeks. If now is the right time of the year. Maybe a semester. Cool. Go for it. You have all the time in the world. You didn’t really want to take that position that is open right now, did you? Another one will come up soon. You’ll just go ahead and pay for the classes, & books now, hoping to find a position when you are done. No sweat.

    Just for fun I looked up the textbook costs for two of the child development courses at my community college that I have taken: Who Am I in the Lives of Children? An Introduction to Early Childhood Education (11th Edition)- $89.48,  INFANTS TODDLERS & CAREGIVERS: CURRICULUM RELATIONSHIP -$95.99. I loved taking these classes. I learned a lot. I suggest you take classes that are interesting to you when you have the time & interest, not speeding through them in hopes of qualifying for a job. Especially when I could spend less time & money to become qualified.

    • Option 3 60 College credit hours with 9 college credit hours in child development, with 9 college credit hours in business and at least 2 years experience in a licensed child-care center.

    Same applies here as the AS. It is basically the same quantity of college course, just without a rubber stamp of an AS. If you have the qualification, take the transcripts, make copies & submit the 2911 (https://hhs.texas.gov/laws-regulations/forms/2000-2999/form-2911-child-care-licensing-governing-bodydirector-designation). You are good to go.

    • Option 4 A child-care administrator’s certificate from a community college with at least 15 college credit hours in child development & 3 college credit hours in business and at least 2 years experience in a licensed child-care center.

    The biggest problem I have with this one is finding a college that offers it. Now, I know my google-foo is not great, but the only program I could find when googling this term is out of Wisconsin.

    • Option 5 A Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or Certified Child-Care Professional credential with 6 college credit hours in business management and at least 2 years experience in a licensed child-care center.

    This is quite frankly the option I understand the least. You get your CDA or CCP. That is a great thing for working in a classroom. It demonstrates that you understand a fair amount about how children grow & develop & how to run a classroom. Having teachers with these, increase your CCS reimbursement rates and generally improves your center.

    Here is a question: How will you renew the credential when it expires (every 2 or 3 years)? You have to be working in the classroom. So, OK, you get your license this way, but you have to make a plan to change your method ASAP, so that you are still qualified. Something to consider. And you still need 6 college hours in business.

    • Option 6 A day-care administrator’s credential issued by a professional organization or educational institution and approved by Licensing and at least 2 years experience in a licensed child-care center.

    This is the easiest & quickest option. May we suggest Texas Director?

    • Option 7 9 College credit hours with 9 college credit hours in child development, with 9 college credit hours in business and at least 3 years experience in a licensed child-care center.

    This is the option we suggest for those who are looking for a non-renewing credential, but who don’t have an interest in obtaining a degree and don’t have one already.

    If you still have question, email us at Kate@texasdirector.org If we answered them all, enroll now.

    subscribesssrsign-up-now-blue


  • 11 Jan 2019 12:43 PM | Carrie Casey (Administrator)
    Author: Carrie Casey

    A colleague asked me ,”Why should someone wanting to be a childcare Director in Texas choose Texas Director to help them?”  It is a good question.  One I had 20 or so answers to, but it all comes down to one thing: We will be there for you.

    Kate and I started providing training and other services to Directors and teachers in 1998.  That means it is possible that one of our new directors was enrolled at a center that we helped that first year.  It blows my mind.  We listened to our peers and found ways to help them get the information and services they needed.  We created trainings based on what other Directors said they needed.

    Director Credentialing

    One thing centers needed was a way to get new Directors qualified to lead a program.  There were a couple of training groups that offered classes for new Directors over the course of a week, in a hotel in one of the 5 large cities in Texas, once or twice a year.  So if you lived in Lubbock, you had to take a week off from your center, drive to Dallas and stay in a hotel for that week.  That was not what we wanted as Directors, so we created a 2 weekend class, which worked better for the folks we talked to.

    After doing those for a few years, Kate started exploring online learning and took Texas Director to the internet.  We were the first ones to offer online Director Credentialing.  We have 100% online classes, and in person classes.  Directors told us they needed different options, so we provided them.

    Folks are telling us they need their new Directors to be qualified within the month. With our online and personalized courses, we have that handled.  They are designed to be able to be completed within a week if you push hard or a month at a steady pace.  Our Weekender course which combines online videos and in-person classwork is also designed to be finished in a month, but is only offered 6 times a year, currently.

    Over the years other credentialing courses have come and gone.  What do you do when the company who gave you your certificate goes out of business?  For many folks, the answer has been to transfer your credential to Texas Director.  We allow folks to test in and join our membership if their company disappeared or they aren’t happy with the service and training they received elsewhere.  We will be here for you.

    College

    Some folks prefer the college route.  Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) issues Directors licenses to those who have related college experience or degrees.  Is this the best option for you?  Do you want material specific to running a child care center?  There are not many college courses in that vein.  You can find 20 classes that will help you run a classroom, which are great if you don’t have those skills but not many on center wide operations.  If you come from the classroom, you will want information about marketing, staffing, communication,  financial management, and business law.

    Do you want to be a Director in less than a year?  If you need 3 business classes and 3 child development classes, you are probably looking at at least a year of college before you are qualified, presuming you are also continuing to work.  I will be 100% honest with you, DFPS often gives waivers for folks using this method to be come licensed, but I have a question for you:

    Do you really want to be running a center without knowing the basics of child development, classroom management, being a boss, taxes, legal issues and marketing?  Will that set you up for success?  Will your professors be available after class for you to problem solve when things go sideways.

    I like college.  I have been a lot.  I take all kinds of classes that looked interesting or could teach me something I needed/wanted to know more about.  I have 2 degrees as does Kate.  (Hers are more impressive than mine.)  We hope you take college classes.  I am just not sold on it being the best way to get your Director’s license.

    CDA

    The last way DFPS licenses new Directors is with a Child Development Associate (CDA) and 2 college courses in business management.  The CDA is a wonderful, nationally recognized certificate showing proficiency as a classroom teacher.  To earn it you must have learned a fair amount either through workshops or college courses.  You have to have completed a 360 evaluation of your ongoing performance in the classroom and had an outside evaluator observe you working in your classroom.  I’ve always strongly encourage my staff to work towards earning their CDA.  If you are wanting to move from the classroom to the Director’s office, this may be a good option for you, but it has one big drawback.  You have to renew your CDA periodically, which means you must be working in a classroom.  As soon as your CDA lapses you are no longer a licensed Director.  Is it in your center’s best interest to have the Director working as a classroom teacher while running the center?

    We’ll Be There for You

    We love working with and for Directors, both in getting them started and in growing with their business.  No matter what happens, we are here to offer you support.  We create training materials, handbooks, and customized plans based on what a Director needs.

    When hurricanes hit the coast our directors called us and we worked with them to get their centers taken care of.  When a center lost its lease unexpectedly we helped them find another location.  When a Director was threatened with a law suit, we were there.  When a Director wanted to open a second and then a third location we were there to help her.  When a center was having unacceptable staff-turnover, we were there.  When you need us, we will be there.


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