This summer, NMAEYC was involved in two great Shared Services initiatives: producing a three-part Shared Services podcast series and having a webinar with those involved with Shared Services. You can interact with both of these projects below!
Shared Services Webinar
Bali Rankin, Executive Director of NMAEYC, and Shared Services collaborators from around the state met together for an interactive webinar in August 2016.
Terry Anderson from The Grant County Shared Services group (LINKS), Kathy De Soto Strickland and Lara Lehman from The Western Regional Early Childhood Collaborative (WRECC), and Gigi Yu and Kersti Tyson from the Collaborative Teachers Institute (CTI) offered their insights and reflected on how they initiated their shared services projects within their communities. Webinar attendees also had the opportunity to ask the panel questions regarding their experiences.
Shared Services Podcast
This three-part podcast series, produced by Lily Jamison-Cash, NMAEYC Events Coordinator and Chapter Liaison, aims to showcase what different Shared Services groups around New Mexico are up to and how they are supporting the early childhood field.
What is Shared Services?
Shared Services is a business model where organizations can save money by sharing back-office, professional development, and other functions amongst multiple entities. Early childhood programs can use shared services to minimize the time and money they spend on administrative duties, and focus on raising quality for children and their educators.
There are many different ways to engage in Shared Services.
For example, centers and organizations can share:
- staff training and professional development
- a substitute teacher pool
- back-office resources (accounting, administrative tasks)
The New Mexico Early Childhood Alliance (NewMexECA)/Quality Through Shared Services is a free website that offers plentiful resources to educators, directors, and many others in the early childhood field. Many thanks to CYFD for supporting the cost of the webpage in NM through federal Race to the Top funds!!
You can also check out http://opportunities-exchange.org/ for more information on Shared Services.
1. Grant County Community Early Care & Education: LINKS (Learning Network for Kids)
The Grant County Shared Services group (LINKS) was started by the Community Partnership for Children in Silver City by Terry Anderson in August 2015.
The group came together as early childhood centers were facing tensions in their community. Anderson brought six programs in the Silver City area together to discuss their differences, and out of that conversation grew a collectivity and concrete commitments to creating policies for their staffs. The group now meets monthly about other Shared Services projects.
LINKS has worked on getting to know each others’ programs by touring each of the centers/schools. They are currently looking at creating a substitute pool.
Vision: Families in Grant County will have access to diverse, affordable, high-quality options for early childhood care and education, birth to age eight.
Mission: Through teamwork, partnerships and collaboration, Grant County Shared Services will strengthen the network of support and resources in our early childhood community, keeping the uniqueness and diversity of each program.
1. Program information onto one document to share with clients.
2. Tour each program site to provide understanding of the various challenges and successes of each center.
3. Created a handyman list of program items to be fixed by community volunteers.
4. Exploring ways for partner program leaders to communicate privately.
5. Researching the use of the Pro Care System as the tool to connect the programs.
6. Develop a Squad Relieve (substitute pool) to be shared among programs.
7. Explore the possibility of developing a Central location for enrollment.
8. Seek funding to continue project.
9. Develop formal agreement/commitment for partner participation
2. Western Regional Early Childhood Collaborative (WRECC)
The Western Regional Early Childhood Collaborative is a grassroots collective of educators in the western part of New Mexico (the Gallup, Grants, and Zuni area). The group convened in early 2015 to solve some of the issues that teachers were seeing in their communities. They attempt to tackle these issues collectively through shared professional development. They meet once a quarter in different communities in the region. Their meetings have involved discussions and addressing group concerns; hands-on activities that give educators ideas for the classroom; and guest speakers and presentations.
The group, led by Kathy DeSoto-Strickland and Lara Lehman, prides itself on being by teachers and for teachers. They wanted to provide a way for teachers to get the professional development that they felt they needed, and provide that training to people in their area for free.
The group will reconvene again once the school year begins in the fall.
3. Collaborative Teachers Institute (CTI)
The Collaborative Teachers Institute is a group of early childhood teachers, directors, and consultants in Santa Fe interested in pursuing advanced, collaborative professional development. The CTI offers a unique opportunity for advanced educators who want to take their professional development to the next level and develop into pedagogical leaders within their own institutions. Participating programs and teachers study children's interests and the role of teachers in supporting and extending children's interests and ideas through a process that is reflective, collaborative and job embedded, inspired by the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach. Supported by the Santa Fe Baby Fund at Santa Fe Community Foundation, the CTI has met monthly since 2014 at participating schools.
The meetings are facilitated by the CTI pedagogical director Gigi Yu, PhD in collaboration with the Santa Fe Baby Fund Director Katie Dry and in 2016-17 Santa Fe Baby Fund Interim Director, Judith Lavender.
Members of the CTI developed an exhibit of panels that illustrate their work titled Making Sense of Play, which is on display this summer. The Making Sense of Play exhibit is made up of a series of panels that show the many ways children make sense of the world through their play and the role of teachers and adults in supporting and extending their play. The exhibit is on display in various businesses throughout Santa Fe.
Kersti Tyson, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at UNM, has been working with the group as an evaluator/researcher to determine if and how the group has influenced the teachers and their work with children. The answer is, she says, it has. “The lead teachers come to the meetings, and then they take back things, whether it be a way to facilitate a meeting, or it be an idea that bubbled up in the meeting, or even very specifically they did the presentation that month and got some really rich feedback that they can go share with their colleagues back in their school.”