**pay determined by relevant experience, length of experience, and education/credentials
Location: 1723 N Orange AveSarasota, FL 34234
Reports to: Regional Manager
Summary: The Early Childhood Development Specialist (ECDS) assumes responsibility, supervision, oversight, and guidance for the provision of high-quality early childhood development services that embed responsible and effective teacher-child interactions; the facilitation and implementation of a research-based curriculum; and screening and assessment procedures, to promote school readiness and align with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth-Five (HSELOF). The ECDS follows Children First, Inc. policies and procedures for the adherence to and implementation of the Head Start Program Performance Standards, Florida Early Learning Standards, state and local licensing requirements. The ECDS plans for the professional development of instructional staff and delivers education and training as required. The ECDS works in collaboration with Service Area Managers/Coordinators, the Regional Manager, Director of Programs and community partners for the coordination of comprehensive program services.
Education and Equivalent Experience:
Baccalaureate or Advanced Degree in Early Childhood Education or related field with 18+ semester hours in ECE/Child Development
State mandated 45-hour coursework completion or ability to complete within established timeframes
Florida Director Credential – VPK Endorsed, preferred
Five (5) years direct teaching experience with children ages Birth-Five
Three (3) years direct supervisory experience in an early childhood setting, preferably Early Head Start/Head Start
Professional experience related to child development, early childhood education, inclusion, early intervention and curriculum implementation
Valid Driver’s License and acceptable driving record – proof of auto insurance within agency limits, or access to transportation
Immediate/continued enrollment in the Criminal History Registry-Child Care Division
Current Health Appraisal, updated every two (2) years
Certification in First Aid and Adult/Child/Infant CPR within 90 days of hire
Day to Day Duties and Responsibilities:
Service Delivery – Ensure the delivery of high-quality program services that are developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate. Support school readiness in a coordinated approach to comprehensive services, aligned with the Head Start Program Performance Standards, State and local licensing regulations, and Children First, Inc. policies and procedures.
Provide management and oversight to all education staff to ensure the delivery of high-quality early education and child development services;
Observe, support, and guide education staff to promote children’s cognitive, social, and emotional growth for positive outcomes and school readiness;
Observe, support, and guide education staff to embed responsive and effective teacher-child interactions; Observe, support, and guide education staff to implement a research-based curriculum, and screening and assessment procedures that support individualization and growth in the areas of development described in HSELOF;
Observe, support, and guide education staff in the delivery of developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate learning experiences in language, literacy, mathematics, social and emotions functioning, approaches to learning, science, physical skills, and creative arts, as outlined in HSPPS #1302.31 through 1302.34;
Conduct regularly scheduled site visits at assigned locations to observe classrooms and facilities, to support and guide education staff in meeting federal, state, local and accreditation (if applicable) compliance measures;
Provide written documentation of all classroom observations. Develop written action plans when necessary and provide education staff with reflection and feedback regarding recommendations to support continued quality improvement;
Collect, review, and provide feedback to education staff regarding lesson planning and individualization, including children with disabilities who hold an IFSP/IEP, to ensure curriculum implementation and fidelity and progress toward goals and objectives;
Review child and classroom assessment results monthly and assist education staff in documenting child progress, plans for progression, individualization; noting any concerns, for continued school readiness;
Participate in agency committees designed to enhance service delivery related to education, child development, transitions, health and safety;
Schedule, and facilitate in coordination with regional manager as appropriate, regular staff meetings (e.g., team, cluster) to provide agency updates and build team.
Family and Community Engagement – Integrate strategies into all systems and program services to support family well-being and promote children’s learning and development.
Work in collaboration with family services staff to offer opportunities for parents and family members to be involved and engaged in the program’s education services;
In coordination with disabilities and mental health services staff, ensure education staff properly refer children, according to agency protocols, to the local agency responsible (Sarasota County School Board) for implementing IDEA for a formal evaluation to assess the child’s eligibility for services under IDEA;
In coordination with health services staff, ensure education staff refer and follow-up on referrals for children with health and/or nutritional needs;
In coordination with family services staff, ensure education staff document any family and/or child concerns, following Children First, Inc. established protocols. A child cannot be expelled or unenrolled from Early/Head Start because of his/her behavior;
When possible, collaborate with community organizations via participation at local and/or state leveled action committees to remain current on trends, resources, policy affecting children and families to meet identified needs;
Develop positive relationships and maintain open communication with community partners to provide comprehensive services to children and families;
Adhere to protocols outlined in HSPPS #1303.22 regarding disclosure of PII with and without parental consent, parental notice and opportunity to refuse;
Adhere to protocols outlined in HSPPS #1303.23 regarding a Parent’s Right to inspect, amend, and obtain a hearing, copy of record and right to inspect written agreements.
Education, Training and Professional Development –Systematic approach designed to assist staff in acquiring, increasing and sharing the knowledge and skills needed to provide high-quality services within the scope of their job responsibilities
Deliver research-based, coordinated coaching strategies as outlined to include observation, feedback and modeling of effective teacher practices directly related to program performance goals;
Assess all education staff to identify strengths, areas of needed support, and which staff would benefit most from intensive coaching;
Provide opportunities for intensive coaching to those education staff identified through the assessment process;
Facilitate opportunities for education staff not identified for intensive coaching to receive peer-based coaching;
In collaboration with the coachee(s), develop clearly articulated, individualized goals and a process for achieving those goals;
Utilize assessment data to drive coaching strategies aligned with program performance and school readiness goals;
Provide on-going communication between the Regional Manager, Director of Training & Quality Assurance, Director of Programs and Vice President of Programs;
Ensure coaching assessment results do not solely determine punitive actions for staff identified as needing support, without providing them time and resources to improve.
In collaboration with education staff, as outlined in agency protocols, develop and support the implementation of individual Professional Development Plans and complete probationary and annual Performance Appraisals;
As outlined in agency protocols, deliver professional development to education staff focused on: Effective curricula implementation, knowledge of the content in HSELOF, state early learning standards, licensing standards, partnering with families, supporting children with disabilities and their families, providing effective and nurturing adult-child interactions, supporting dual language learners as appropriate, addressing challenging behaviors, preparing children and families for transitions and use of data to individualize learning experiences to improve outcomes for all children;
Provide regular and ongoing communication and supervision to support individual staff professional development and continuous program quality improvement.
Participate in new employee agency and program orientations to become familiar with the agency’s goals and underlying philosophy and how they are implemented;
Obtain 15-clock hours minimum of professional development per program year (Children First, Inc. Training & Professional Development System provides opportunities for education staff to obtain over 45 clock-hours per year);
Attend and participate in agency sponsored training and professional development opportunities designed to assist in acquiring and/or increasing the knowledge and skills needed to provide high-quality, comprehensive services within the scope of job responsibilities;
Participate in the development of an individualized Professional Development Plan in collaboration with direct supervisor;
Participate in the Children First, Inc. Performance Management Cycle which includes individual supervision and evaluation, and observation;
Attend as needed, opportunities to learn about mental health, wellness, health education and issues that may affect job performance.
Program Management & Quality Improvement –Process of ongoing monitoring and continuous improvement for achieving program goals that ensures child safety and the delivery of effective high-quality program services. The collection and use of data to drive informed decisions.
Hire, train, schedule, and oversee staff according to HSPPS #1302.91(e);
Monitor, as outlined in agency protocols, to ensure children are supervised by education staff at all times;
Monitor, as outlined in agency protocols, to ensure equipment and classroom facilities are clean, well maintained, safe, and compliant with all federal, state, and local requirements;
Record and report, as outlined in agency protocols, any health and safety-related incidents, accidents and/or infractions, including employee accidents;
In collaboration with the Family and Child Services Manager and team, provide effective classroom management strategies and positive learning environments to support children with challenging behaviors and other social, emotional, and mental health concerns;
Ensure child-level assessment data (e.g. anecdotal notes) is completed by staff in a timely fashion, according to agency protocols and system requirements;
Ensure data is aggregated, analyzed, and compared at least three times a year, including for sub-groups, such as dual language learners and children with disabilities, as appropriate, and used with other program data to direct continuous improvement related to curriculum choice and implementation, teaching practices and professional development;
Utilize agency identified database systems to review, record, and report on program progress toward meeting compliance measures, including any follow-up action required;
Submit all required paperwork to management and relevant leadership staff, following agency protocols;
Participate in the agency’s self-assessment process utilizing program data including aggregated child assessment data, and professional development and parent and family engagement data, to evaluate the program’s progress towards meeting goals, compliance with HSPPS throughout the program year, and the effectiveness of the professional development and family engagement systems in promoting school readiness;
In collaboration with agency management and leadership, use information from ongoing monitoring and the annual self-assessment, and program data on teaching practice, staffing and professional development, child level assessments, family needs assessments, and comprehensive services to identify program needs and develop and implement plans for program improvement;
Attend and contribute to management meetings as scheduled (e.g., EDCS, Extended Management, etc.);
Follow established procedures on monitoring and reporting suspected child abuse and/or neglect, in compliance with state regulations;
Follow established procedures to protect the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information (PII) in child records;
Follow agency established Standards of Conduct;
VPK Sites: Follow additional standards and protocols to meet the requirements of the Office of Early Learning Voluntary Pre-kindergarten Program;
QRIS – Look for the Stars Sites: Follow additional standards and protocols to meet and maintain the requirements of a star-rated center
NAC/NAEYC Accredited Sites: Follow additional standards and protocols as required, to meet and maintain accreditation;
All other duties as assigned.
Competencies (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Physical Demands):
Child Development/Early Childhood Education theory and practice
Head Start Early Learning Outcome Framework: Ages Birth to Five
Head Start Program Performance Standards
Taking Care of Our Children Basics
DCF Licensing Requirements
Florida Early Learning Standards and Voluntary Pre-K
Quality Rating System: Look for the Stars
Research-based Curricula: HighScope
Screening and Assessment Tools: ASQ, ASQ-SE, DECA, COR Advantage
Speak, read, and write English effectively; bilingual language(s) helpful
Collect, analyze, and utilize data to plan and monitor growth in child outcomes and school readiness
Solve problems and make appropriate decisions
Manage time, solve problems, and make appropriate decisions in varying situations
Work collaboratively and cooperatively with fellow staff, parents, and community partners
The mission of Children First is to strengthen children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health and well-being.
This statement reflects the organization’s underlying aspiration for the successful achievement of Head Start and Early Head Start goals and objectives, and our main priority of kindergarten readiness for the children we serve.