PD Finder What it is & Why YOU need it!

It’s 12:30 pm.  The children have eaten lunch and are settling in for nap time.  A quiet hush cascades over the center as staff quietly move about over the steady hum of little ones sleeping.  As you are on a break you think this would be a perfect time to sign up for training, but where should you look?  You don’t have a lot of time to scour a bunch of different websites for training that counts.  Oh, if only there was a place you could go to find what you need…….If you have ever found yourself in this situation, then you know just how frustrating it can be.  The good news is such a place does exist. 

Allow me to introduce you to the New York State Training Calendar.  In actuality, it operates less like a calendar and more like a really helpful search tool, such that here at New York Works for Children we refer to it as the Professional Development (PD) Finder.

The PD Finder allows the user to search for upcoming professional development training and/or search for  specific trainers through a variety of ways.  Looking for a session related to COVID-19 Guidance Requirements?  Just type the word “COVID” into the keyword search and a list of training populates the bottom of your screen.  Searching for trainers who speak Spanish or Coaches located in Buffalo?  Just type in your search parameters and off to the races (or training) you go – all within a matter of minutes.

There are many options with which to search for professional development and the best part is that all listed sessions are Quality Assured or PDP approved.  You might be reading this asking yourself what Quality Assured means and why it’s important.   Well, I am so glad you asked!  Quality Assured training sessions have gone through the Aspire Course/Event review process  AND are facilitated by a credentialed trainer(s)This means that you will not only find training that counts but training that is high quality.

High Quality is a term that we use a lot around here and for good reason.  More often than not when staff and directors are searching for training they are usually focused on checking a box for compliance sake- that is ensuring that the number of training hours are fulfilled during the licensing term to avoid regulatory violations.  The problem with this type of thinking is that it is short term at best and neglectful at worst.  Imagine going to a training that not only teaches you what you should do and how but actually empowers you as a professional to identify strategies that could take your classroom to the next level.  The kind of level that would make you excited to come to work because you get to do new things that really work with the children instead of being taught the same information year after year that is neither relevant to your work, practical nor helpful.  When training merely focuses on compliance it feels like drudgery, but when executed correctly, professional development can be absolutely life changing growing an early childhood or school-age educator into a highly effective, highly skilled practitioner putting their gifts and talents to use for the benefit of the children and families they serve.  

As the resident Professional Development Quality Assurance Specialist at New York Works for Children, I am a strong proponent and advocate for high quality professional development because I have seen what it can do.  The truth is anyone who actively takes responsibility for their professional development is a hero.  This fact can’t be overstated.  So from our vantage point you deserve a tool that will support you in locating professional development that is relevant and meets your needs.  To that end that is why we have doubled down on our efforts to build up the training calendar and want to include your sessions.  If you are a credentialed trainer offering high quality professional development then we want your sessions in the calendar.  If you know of really good trainers in your county or region whose stuff needs to be in Aspire, then let us know.  We will reach out to them.  Even better, if you have never used the PD Finder, click here to access it.  

In this political climate, there are so many issues being put before us.  At a time like this what greater opportunity is there than supporting an early childhood workforce?  It is our honor to support the development of the workforce’s knowledge, skills and dispositions in a way that sets them up for success so that they can effectively serve the future leaders of tomorrow.  From my vantage point there is none greater.  My name is Tinnycua Williams, your Professional Development Quality Improvement Specialist and I approve this message.  Have Feedback?  Let’s talk about it.  Send all comments and feedback to PDblog@nyworksforchildren.org.