In June a group of our employees achieved an impressive milestone – they graduated! Dora and Aaron from our Madrona program completed their Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Early Childhood Education. Carmen, one of our substitute teachers, finished her nursing degree. Another sub, Amelia, who’s teaching Leap Ahead at Sanislo this summer, completed her degree in Early Childhood & Family Studies. And Christine from our Operations team completed her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Congratulations to all!
One of the reasons why Dora and Aaron went back to school is because there are new teacher educational requirements for the Seattle Preschool Program. Preschool teachers and Program Directors in Seattle Preschool Program classrooms now all need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Previously you only needed to have 45 credits in early childhood education to qualify as a preschool teacher, even if you didn’t have a formal degree or had a degree in an unrelated subject. Existing preschool teachers who didn’t meet the new criteria have 4 years to finish their degrees.
Our amazing teachers have tons of experience in early childhood education and child development, but there are a few teachers who either have a degree in an unrelated field or haven’t finished their degree yet. Thanks to a great partnership between North Seattle College, the Seattle Preschool Program, and preschool providers like Launch, our preschool teachers are able to go back to school and complete a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Early Childhood Education while working full-time at Launch, and they can get help paying for school. This program is designed to help early learning professionals keep pace with the increasing professionalizing of the field.
Our teachers even can complete their required projects and practicums in Launch classrooms. Plus our Director of Operations Darline Guerrero works as an advisor for this program and teaches some classes!
Dora and Aaron are our first teachers to graduate through this program at North, but they won’t be the last! We have a number of other teachers taking part in this program and look forward to celebrating their graduations soon.
Launch is proud to support our staff as they continue their educations and complete degrees. We believe strongly that we’re all never done learning, and encourage our staff to take advantage of any continuing education opportunities they can. We support our staff by helping staff complete practicums and school projects at work, doing what we can to accommodate school schedules, providing lots of free professional development, publicizing external educational opportunities, and sharing resources with staff. We also worked closely with North Seattle, the Seattle Preschool Program, and some other early learning providers to develop the curriculum for the degree so it met the needs of our teachers while providing a high-quality educational experience.
Congratulations Aaron, Amelia, Carmen, Christine, and Dora! It’s not an easy task to complete a degree, especially while working full-time. We’re so proud of what you’ve achieved and appreciate your drive to continually learn and work to become the best teachers you can be. You are amazing teachers and your dedication sets a wonderful example for the kids in our programs.