Bank Street Joins National Communities of Practice Program to Support the Early Childhood Education Workforce

This fall, research and policy work professionals from across Bank Street College joined members of Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), an initiative led by Bank Street Graduate School of Education and Learning Policy Institute to strengthen teacher and leader preparation, to participate in the National Early Care and Education (ECE) Workforce Center’s 2023-24 Communities of Practice (CoP) program. 

Created to build on the Administration for Children and Families of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ broader efforts to support the early childhood workforce, the National ECE Workforce Center is a research and technical assistance center dedicated to examining and addressing the need for fundamental changes to ECE career advancement systems, compensation, and ECE workplace policies. 

By bringing together leaders in education from across the country, the Communities of Practice program conducts work across five categories, ranging from creating equitable compensation scales to leveraging strategies to improve working conditions. Bank Street joined the program with a cross-institutional team of educators, researchers, and policymakers to explore the topic, “Creating Partnerships and Pathways to Support Degree Attainment and Credentials.” 

“We are excited to collaborate with other professionals in the field to address important issues in the early childhood education workforce,” said Jessica Charles, Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, Graduate School of Education, and Director, Educator Preparation Network, EdPrepLab. “Through this process, we hope to develop new relationships that may lead to insights and partnerships that will build equitable career pathways to support degree and credential attainment for all members of the ECE workforce across settings.”

From September 2023 through March 2024, participants will attend bi-monthly virtual sessions with their team and a larger cohort to engage in discussions and share resources around innovative partnerships, policies, and practices that support accessible career pathways with degree and credential attainment, especially for Black, Native American, Latinx, immigrant, multilingual, or other historically underserved groups.

“We look forward to expanding on Bank Street’s work to address systemic inequities in education through the Communities of Practice program. As part of this work, our goal is to identify different pathways for ECE career advancement and mobility, including stackable credentials, articulation agreements, apprenticeship models, coaching and mentoring, and other underlying issues in higher education spaces relating to the preparation of early childhood educators,” said Cristina Medellin-Paz, Associate Director, Straus Center for Young Children & Families. 

The “Creating Partnerships and Pathways to Support Degree Attainment and Credentials” group includes Bank Street participants Medellin-Paz and Emily Sharrock, Associate Vice President, Bank Street Education Center, as well as additional members from other institutions, including Heather Horsley, Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno; Catherine Main, Senior Lecturer & Director of Early Childhood Education, University Illinois, Chicago; and Ingrid Anderson, Associate Professor of Practice, Portland State University.