Professional Development Advisory Council
Who They Are
The Professional Development Advisory Council (PDAC) is a group of highly qualified practitioners, educators, and advocates from around the state. PDAC was created in December 2002 by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Child Care and Development, and introduced Gateways to Opportunity statewide in March 2005. Gateways to Opportunity is the Illinois state professional development system for early care and education, school-age, and youth development professionals. PDAC’s overall strategy is to improve the stability of the early care and education workforce through increased professional development and improved opportunities for career advancement. PDAC members are accomplishing this goal through their dedicated efforts and involvement in PDAC committees. PDAC holds five statewide meetings a year, including an annual stakeholders meeting.
What They Believe
The partners involved in this collaborative effort are committed to developing an integrated statewide professional development system. Additional goals are to promote professionalism within the early care and education, school-age, and youth development fields and provide opportunities and compensation for professionals to further their education and training. The system is accessible and affordable to practitioners across Illinois working in these fields. PDAC partners recognize that these goals are achievable only through collaboration with statewide, regional, and local organizations and funding entities (private and public) committed to this common purpose.
Illinois early care and education, school-age, youth development, and family support practitioners are well-qualified professionals who nurture and support the development and learning of children, youth, and families.
To develop, support, and promote a professional development system for all early care and education, school-age, youth development, and family support practitioners.
We believe an effective professional development system is inclusive of practitioners in all settings serving children, youth, and families; service providers and program staff; and educators and trainers.
We value a Professional Development System that:
- Reaches across all geographic areas
- Includes diverse representation of culture, linguistics, ability, ethnicity, gender, and age
- Is accessible, affordable, and diverse in opportunities
- Develops and expands core knowledge, skills, and dispositions
- Respects and cultivates education, training, and experience
- Recognizes and equitably compensates achievement based on levels of competence
- Supports inclusive, high-quality culturally responsive care and education for all children, youth, and families in all settings
Learn more by reading the PDAC Strategic Plan 2011–2013.
How They Are Helping
PDAC’s Gateways to Opportunity is designed to:
- Encourage professionals of diverse backgrounds to obtain more education and training
- Provide recognition to professionals with specialized training at different levels of education
- Unify the different aspects of the early care and education field by building consistency among settings
- Ensure that early care and education professionals have online access to a central resource for career opportunities and the education and training required to advance within the field
- Help ease barriers to completing college coursework
- Make it possible for transfer students to receive credit for their early childhood coursework
- Meet the growing demand for certified teachers
- Promote the most efficient use of professional development resources
Project Administration and Structure
The Professional Development Advisory Council (PDAC) develops recommendations related to the design and implementation of the professional development system and other professional development initiatives and activities.
- Goal: Create an organizational structure for the Professional Development Advisory Council that assures cross-sector, diverse representation and member engagement in developing and informing the Illinois Professional Development System, Illinois Department of Children & Family Services licensing, Child Care Advisory Council, and related systems.
- Identify and effectively engage diverse PDAC member representation from cross-sector agencies and programs.
- Ensure communication strategies are transparent.
- Ensure cultural, linguistic, and ability diversity (CLAD) is represented throughout the Gateways system.
- Goal: Provide leadership to the fields of early care and education, school-age, and youth development in Illinois to improve the quality and stability of the workforce.
- Develop leadership to move cross-sector systems forward.
Core Knowledge Committee
- Goal: Monitor core content under the Gateways to Opportunity system.
- Develop guidelines for content and benchmark review for each credential to include: knowledge and skills; current standards; recommended practices; cultural, linguistic, and ability diversity (CLAD) competencies; leadership skills; and Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD).
- Analyze and/or conduct review of content and benchmarks for each credential in the Gateways system to include: knowledge and skills, current standards, recommended practices, CLAD competencies, leadership skills, and RBPD.
- Finalize Level 6 credentials in conjunction with the Qualifications, Credentials, and Pathways Committee.
- Determine two to three research questions to help evaluate the effectiveness of Gateways core knowledge.
- Goal: Ensure broad spectrum representation to inform the work of the Committee.
- Expand membership on the Core Knowledge Committee to include at least two representatives from diverse perspectives.
- Identify three ways that Committee members can participate effectively.
- Create opportunities for leadership development of members on the Core Knowledge Committee.
Financial Supports Committee
- Goal: Establish a framework for linking education, roles, and compensation.
- Research compensation related to education and roles across similar professions.
- Tie compensation research work to the education and roles work of the Qualifications, Credentials, and Pathways Committee.
- Recommend policy around roles and compensation (product) within Illinois early childhood, school-age, and family support systems.
- Determine two to three research questions to help evaluate the effectiveness of Gateways financial supports.
- Goal: Strengthen and/or expand the financial support systems for practitioners.
- Explore possible use of the Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program to positively impact the number of articulation agreements between two- and four-year colleges and universities.
- Explore ways to use financial supports to fund multiple methods of professional development including Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD), leadership development, and technologically-based professional development.
- Explore the expansion of the Gateways Scholarship Program.
- Maintain availability of current loan forgiveness and other scholarship opportunities for practitioners.
- Explore ways to use financial supports to recruit and support culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse (CLAD) practitioners.
- Explore ways to increase financial supports for workforce preparation necessary to provide culturally, linguistically, and ability appropriate services to diverse populations.
Qualifications, Credentials, and Pathways Committee
- Goal: Establish framework for linking education, roles, and compensation.
- Include salary ranges for position and sectors, in conjunction with the Financial Supports Committee.
- Develop recommendation for the Child Care Advisory Council that integrates the education, credentials, roles, and salary framework into the Great START Scale.
- Present education, credentials, roles, and salary framework to the Illinois Early Learning Council.
- Goal: Establish pathways and parameters for recognizing professional achievement through credentials.
- Finalize framework for ECE Credential Level 6.
- Finalize framework for Infant Toddler Credential Level 6.
- Create a framework for the initiation of a Family Child Care Credential.
- Create a framework for the initiation of a Family Worker Credential.
- Develop components of the School-Age and Youth Development Credential at Levels 2–5.
- Develop five strategies to incentivize credentials.
- Identify strategies to meet the need for expanded Assessment of Prior Learning.
- Expand membership and leadership on the Qualifications, Credentials, and Pathways Committee to include at least two representatives from diverse perspectives.
- Determine two to three research questions to help evaluate the effectiveness of Gateways credentials and pathways.
Quality Assurance Committee
- Goal: Continue development, implementation, and improvement of components for the Gateways to Opportunity Registry.
- Develop, pilot, and implement “Authorized Entity” approvals by June 30, 2012.
- Expand the modes of training delivery eligible for Gateways Registry Approval to include forms of training that are not face-to-face.
- Develop, pilot, and implement a renewal process for Gateways Registry-approved trainers and trainings by June 30, 2012.
- Examine how Gateways Registry-approved trainings fit with credential renewal process.
- Continue efforts toward inclusion of recognition of cultural, linguistic, and ability diversity (CLAD) within Gateways Registry processes.
- Explore how Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD) fits within the Gateways Registry.
- Goal: Increase connectors and expand utilization of the Gateways Registry.
- Increase the number of Gateways Registry-verified conferences by two conferences each year.
- Educate partners on the Gateways Registry and promote its use within the larger system.
- Increase the number of Gateways Registry Members by 20% by June 30, 2013 (based on July 11, 2011 figures).
- Increase the number of Gateways Registry-Approved trainings offered.
- Increase the number of trainings on the Statewide Online Training Calendar.
- Goal: Evaluate components of the Gateways system.
- Identify evaluation goals important to the Quality Assurance Committee/Gateways Registry.
- Design an evaluation of the Gateways system.
Access and Outreach Committee
- Goal: Support and promote Gateways to Opportunity, the Illinois Professional Development System, through marketing, public relations, and leadership development.
- Increase visibility and raise awareness of the Gateways Registry and its benefits.
- Provide avenues for emerging leaders to explore professional development leadership opportunities.
- Determine two to three research questions to help evaluate the effectiveness of Gateways marketing.
- Recommend strategies to link Gateways to the Quality Counts Quality Rating System.
- Goal: Ensure Gateways programs and services are accessible to all practitioners honoring diversity, throughout Illinois.
- Analyze data on how Gateways components are being used, including Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD).
- Share findings and barriers with other PDAC committees for possible solutions.
- Develop at least two marketing approaches for underserved populations.