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BUILD 2022 Meeting Archive

Archived Meeting Resources
January 10, 2023

This resource includes the session descriptions, recordings, and resources shared during the BUILD 2022 National Conference.


QRIS 101: Diverse Perspectives on Building an Equitable Quality Framework

This session focused on developing quality in early childhood education with respect for the diversity of children, families, child care programs, providers, and communities across islands, states, and tribes.
Diverse perspectives were shared as panelists highlighted:

  • Tribes’ cultural and linguistic differences and perspectives on quality in early childhood education.
  • Island communities’ strengths, challenges, and perspectives on quality in early childhood education to meet the needs of diverse populations
  • State quality initiatives and innovations in community responsiveness to meet the needs of diverse populations
  • Research perspectives, community cultural assets, recommendations and reflections
  • National overview of the past 20 years of QRIS and opportunities for the continuous quality improvement of early childhood education

Looking Back on 20 Years of Early Childhood Systems Building and 20 Years of the BUILD Initiative

BUILD leaders Susan Hibbard and Sherri Killins Stewart and national early childhood leader/mentor/inspiration Joan Lombardi reflected on the progress in early childhood systems development over the last 20 years and the challenges that remain. They talked about how intentionally seeking to benefit children and families who have been marginalized by our institutions and structures is essential, advancing racial equity and systems building are intertwined, and how thinking and work on state and community connections has evolved. They also discussed how their views have changed over time about leaders and leadership, leading from anywhere/everywhere, acting within one’s role and responsibility, and using one’s role and influence to shift policy and practice, and working together across sectors. The webinar included short video appearances of some of BUILD’s earliest partnerships with state leaders and funders.

Breakout Sessions

Centering Equity in Revisions and Redesign of Quality Improvement Systems

Synthesizing over 20 years of research and trends in quality improvement activities, the workforce, and licensing, this session elevated key findings and lessons learned that can inform rebuilding of more equitable and inclusive early care and education systems. Participants took a data walk with the presenters to experience the research findings and charted their own reactions and ideas for revisions. The presenters shared guidance that state and community teams can use for planning both small and large changes that can better support equitable experiences, environments, and outcomes for children, families and the early care and education workforce.

Designing Meetings to Ensure Equity of Voice: Using Tools and Processes to Ensure Inclusive Meetings

How can state leaders invite everyone’s voice to the table when tackling adaptive challenges? What is the role of the leader in designing and facilitating engaging equitable dialogue and actionable results? Leaders can design productive meetings focused on challenges where voice and inquiry are essential. The University of Florida has created a framework called the ‘Cookie’ that considers content, structure, process, and conditions while helping empower participants to share their wisdom. This session explored how to ensure engagement, promote equity, and invite voices to collaborative problem solve through the use of intentional protocols and the co-creation of norms.

Inclusion of Young Children with Disabilities: A Critical Quality Indicator in Early Childhood Education

Early childhood inclusion benefits all. Children with and without disabilities, families, and communities thrive in a culture of inclusiveness and belonging. The research supports this fact and has even shown that inclusion is a critical indicator of program quality. In this session, participants learned about inclusion research, laws, policy and practices as well as the disparities that exist in access to inclusive settings based on race and category of disability. This context was brought to life through the story of how Illinois and other states are working to foster inclusion through innovative state and community strategies.

Una Charla informal: Un cuento de dos Latinas que aprovecharon el momento: A Fireside Chat with Latina Leaders Miriam Calderón and Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

An informal chat and hear the story of two Latina leaders meeting the moment with strength and determination to lift themselves, their families, and communities up in the unforgiving world of policy and politics, while keeping it real.

Housing is Our Lane: The Role that Early Childhood Sector Should Play to Improve Access to Quality, Affordable Housing

Having a safe and stable place to call home is at the center of our lives, yet even before the pandemic, our nation was experiencing a housing crisis decades in the making that disproportionately impacted young children and families, particularly children and families of color and those residing in poverty. Nationally, over 1.6 million families with young children experience homelessness every year, and another 6 million children live in households burdened or severely burdened by housing costs. Homelessness and housing insecurity have dire consequences for children and families, causing psychological and physical trauma, increasing the likelihood of suicide and emergency room usage, and leading to poor academic performance and family separations. Rooted in structural racism, housing policies and practices have historically contributed to stark and persistent inequities in where children and families live and in their access to quality jobs, economic opportunities, education, and other critical services. In the face of these inequities, the early childhood field can play a critical role in advancing antiracist policies that ensure that children and families have access to safe, affordable housing that allows them to build economic wealth? This session featured leading experts who discussed the the housing crisis and its impact on children and families, explore new research showing a correlation between illegal evictions and incidences of preterm births among Black women; and highlight examples of community-driven housing innovations that illustrate the role that the early childhood field can play with multiple sectors to secure affordable, sustainable housing for those furthest from success.

Tribal Nations, Sovereignty and Equity Focused Early Childhood Policy Development

Early childhood policy development that is intentionally focused on racial equity is foundational to our work on developing strong early childhood systems at the local and state level. It is crucial that system change work taking place in states is deliberately inclusive of working with Tribal Nations as we work to ensure that all children and families have unfettered access to supports and services they want and need to ensure their children thrive and flourish during the early years. Working with Tribal Nations is not simply just about cultural responsiveness it is about developing an understanding of the importance of tribal sovereignty and how state leaders can work with tribes to build strong inclusive statewide early childhood systems. This session allowed participants to learn about tribal sovereignty in terms of building government to government relationships, data sovereignty, food sovereignty and policy development.

Beyond Cost Modeling: How Modeling Can Be Used to Drive Systems Change

States and communities are increasingly recognizing the importance of developing models to better understand the cost of high-quality programming for young children. But cost modeling alone can’t bring the systemic change needed to meet the needs of children and families. In this session, participants learned about ways to go beyond cost modeling, identifying policy solutions informed by the results of modeling, ways to integrate diverse definitions of quality, and how states have used modeling to drive larger systems change.

Navigating the Way to A Statewide Regional System

This session featured a conversation with systems leaders, Cicely Fleming, Birth to Five Illinois, and Amy Hatheway, Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. Both Illinois and Virginia are designing and implementing regional structures to ensure families, service providers, and community members across the state are at the center in identifying local needs and developing solutions that prioritize the voices of those who have been historically disenfranchised. As states consider developing regional structures, these leaders shared why a statewide regional network is critical to address inequities and what they wish they knew as they began launching such complex systems change.

State Policy Approaches to Reducing and Preventing Expulsion in Early Care and Education

This session examined trends and variation in state expulsion prevention policies, based on information from a 50-state survey. A presentation on the survey results highlights several features of states’ policies including program supports, such as professional development or infant-early childhood mental health consultation; changes in program standards and work conditions; and requirements for data collection. Leaders from Arizona and Alaska described expulsion prevention policies in their states; Alaska includes expulsion prevention policy in its QRIS while Arizona employs multiple levers in its policy, including expanded program supports and new requirements for data collection.

Knocking it All Down: Why We Need to Build a New Quality Rating Improvement System

Sometimes the best way forward is to knock down existing structures and rebuild them from the ground up. Such is the case with QRIS, which should measure meaningful differences in the quality of ECE programs but in practice are only weakly associated with child outcomes. As a result, providers lack the information they need to improve and families do not know which programs will best address their needs. Using powerful videos and real-world state examples, the session explored how states can more accurately and equitably measure critical aspects of program quality that support children’s healthy growth and development.

From Community Organizing to Movement Building: The Story Behind the District of Columbia’s Big Wins for Children & Families

Child care is both essential to our economy and the foundation of young children’s education and development. Despite its critical importance, child care educators, overwhelmingly women of color, are among the most undervalued employees, earning poverty wages. The District of Columbia is the first jurisdiction to equitably compensate the child care workforce by paying child care educators wages on par with public elementary educators, while also increasing housing assistance for children and families experiencing homelessness. This seminal victory was years in the making, and came about as a result of meticulous planning, skilled community organizing, and thoughtful cross-sector engagement and coalition-building, culminating in the enactment of legislation that fundamentally changes the financing structure of child care compensation. This session took participants behind the scenes with leaders who will share how they engaged child care educators and built an impressive coalition and movement that holds lessons for how it can be done in other states and communities, and that sets the stage for future policy wins for the District’s children and families.

Paid Family and Medical Leave: An Essential Component for an Equitable and Comprehensive Early Childhood System

What will it take to get to Paid Medical and Family Leave (PMFL) for All? Parents and caregivers need time to bond with their babies and PMFL is a critical step toward racial, economic, and health equity and is an essential foundation for an equitable early childhood system. Momentum is growing in states throughout the country to establish and improve PMFL policies. In this session, advocates and experts explained why PMFL policies that center equity are so important, where we fall short, and how we can move toward Paid Leave for All.

Innovative and Equitable Pathways to Credentials and Degrees

Credentialing and degree program access varies by educator race, ethnicity, or cultural background (Paschall, et al., 2020). Teachers of color, teachers for whom English is not a first or only language, and teachers not born in the United States are less likely to hold a bachelor’s degree. At the same time, federal and state requirements, and a push to professionalize the workforce has increased demand for a credentialed workforce, resulting in an inequitable system of career advancement that favors white and English-speaking educators. How do we create and sustain equitable pathways to degrees to ensure an effective and diverse early childhood workforce? This session explored solutions.

Income Support Programs: Localities Respond to Long-Term Economic Inequality and Systemic Disinvestment

Counties and cities have been on the frontline of responding to the pandemic and addressing not only public health needs but also the economic impact of COVID-19. Localities have given funds to child care programs, small businesses, and households and are centering equitable economic recovery in their American Rescue Plan investments. This panel showcased the importance of making broad investments that support families’ success and improve outcomes for infants and toddlers. Local leaders discussed how they have invested general and relief funds in economic supports and how they plan to sustain these efforts moving forward.

Home Visiting and Following the Family Lead

Home Visiting is an important part of early childhood education. Its unique approach allows for customizing the delivery to reflect the cultural, linguistic, and engagement style desired by the community. In this session, several different national home visiting programs shared how they are striving to make this approach more equitable and family driven.

On-Demand Sessions

Child Welfare and Early Childhood: A Conversation About the Benefits of Cross-Systems Collaboration

Given that approximately 40% of all children entering foster care are age 5 and under, there is a strong need for cross-systems collaboration between child welfare and early childhood to ensure that both systems achieve better outcomes for children and families. A panel of national experts stated the case for cross-systems collaboration, detail the significant racial disparities for Black, Latino, and Native American children in child welfare systems, and talk about the challenges and benefits of working together to improve outcomes. They also offered some promising examples of collaborative efforts currently being implemented in several states.

What’s Next for Quality Improvement? Lessons from Recent Research

Participants heard new findings from two national studies – The Study of Coaching Practices in Early Care and Education (SCOPE) and the Culture of Continuous Learning (CCL) on the latest trends in coaching and methods to promote practice change in early care and education settings. SCOPE researchers will share findings of a longitudinal, multi-state cohort of coaches and coaching participants from 2019-2021. CCL researchers will describe a method aimed at helping programs build their capacity for continuous improvement and make sustained changes in evidence-based practices. The presenters and the discussant considered the implications for quality improvement systems post-COVID.

Realizing Medicaid’s Potential to Support Young Children and Families: From Policy to Meaningful Systems and Practice Change

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program serve roughly half of all young and the vast majority of low-income children under age six. In recent years, a number of states have taken steps to improve Medicaid’s ability to more effectively serve young children and their families from screenings to needed interventions, such as parent-child therapy. Broad awareness of the maternal health crisis has further compelled states to adopt health equity priorities in state Medicaid programs to more effectively reach and serve communities of color. The children’s mental health crisis coming out of the pandemic also raises questions about opportunities to better address children’s social-emotional development before they reach kindergarten. As states advance new policy changes, such as 12-month postpartum coverage or new screening requirements in pediatric primary care, what steps are needed to ensure that these improvements translate to change at the systems and practice levels? As many states seek to advance health equity as part of their Medicaid priorities, where does sustained community and family engagement come in to ensure implementation of new policies works as intended? This session featured national and state perspectives from Oregon and Washington on opportunities to realize the potential of Medicaid to make lasting improvements for young children and their families.

Start How You Want to Finish: System-Stretching Strategies for Advancing Birth Equity

Systems are a complex web of people, policies, practices and priorities. Achieving scalable transformation across this web in a way that has the greatest opportunity to finally impact long-standing disparities requires innovation, AND centering those with lived experience as leaders and authors of transformation. Learn how the LA County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative applied these principals to create authentic collaboration guided by shared values to activate a village of support for Black women, birthing people and families.

Building Capacity From Within: The Impact of LEAP on Activating the Early Childhood Workforce

Hearing directly from participants in the Leadership Empowerment Action Project (LEAP) about their journeys, participants in this session gained an understanding about the ways leadership development is a critical component of bringing equity into systems building work. Listen to gain understanding of how intentional leadership development programs can equip the ECE workforce to be central in co-designing the systems meant to serve them and the children and families they work with.

The Quest for Equity and Quality in Texas: ECE Provider Experience Through a Racial Equity Lens

Explore opportunities and challenges to address racial disparities in the Texas early childhood education workforce through work that is identifying structural barriers, examining statewide QRIS participation, analyzing survey results, and discussing research-based practices to inform policy and advocacy recommendations. Participants will receive valuable insight on understanding staff competency around racial equity, the correlation between staff racial/ethnic backgrounds, the children they serve, and racial disparities within the workforce. Participants also learned how to identify systemic/structural barriers in QRIS participation. Participants can use findings from the work in Texas, which is a collaboration between researchers from Prairie View A&M, a historically black college in Texas; CHILDREN AT RISK a non-partisan research and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to understanding and addressing the root causes of child poverty and inequality; and Texas early care and education providers, to develop research-based practices and strategies to inform advocacy efforts and policy recommendations.

Finally, A Seat at the Table: Provider Voice, Community Voice

An opportunity to learn about three innovative approaches for strengthening and centering provider and community voice in early care and education public policy and decision-making. In Louisiana, For Providers by Providers (4pxp) was launched by experienced child care providers for child care providers to coordinate their leadership development, engage them in policy advocacy, provide training and business technical assistance, and launch demonstration projects to expand their impact and financial sustainability. In Philadelphia, the Racial Equity Early Childhood Provider Council is the outgrowth of the project, Philadelphia’s Early Learning Community Speaks Out: An Action Plan for Quality Improvement; its focus is the design and operation of the quality improvement systems contracted by the state and city and it represents center and home-based programs. In Minnesota, the state is changing its frame for public sector decision making through centering provider and community voice in its work.

Centering Equity in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Many states are developing infant and early childhood mental health consultation programs to support professionals and families in promoting young children’s social-emotional development and dealing with behavior challenges. But equity has not always been front and center in designing and implementing consultation programs. Hear from two states with very different contexts—Oregon and South Carolina—that have intentionally focused on embedding equity in their consultation models.

Leaving and Staying: Understanding the Reasons Behind the Shifting Supply of Family Child Care

Did you know that challenges related to ECE systems, including QIS, licensing, and subsidy, have been found to be a reason that family child care educators are leaving the field? Hear leading researchers and family child educators respond to the findings and recommendations from The Multi-State Study of Family Child Care Decline and Supply. This session deepened participants’ understanding about how the intersecting factors contribute to actual exit from FCC work as well as the rewards that counter these challenges to keep educators in FCC work. Recommendations to create more equitable systems inclusive and supportive of FCC were highlighted.

Supporting Early Childhood Development, Mental Health, and Healthy Weight in Statewide QRIS Indicators

Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) indicators are often employed as a system-level lever for promoting child health and development in Early Care and Education (ECE). Qualitative content analyses of publicly available QRIS documents from March/April 2020 assessed the extent to which statewide systems embed indicators related to promotion of 1) healthy weight 2) early childhood development and mental health. Results suggest that many statewide systems integrate healthy growth and development into indicators. In this session, state QRIS leaders to discussed our findings and opportunities to enhance equity in promotion of early development and health through ECE quality initiatives.

The Importance of Family Engagement in Supporting Emerging Bilingual Learners

Dual Language Learners are not isolated, siloed populations; they are present in every aspect of early childhood education and supports and need to stop being addressed as a special interest population and embedded into all aspects of quality early childhood education and supports. A first step in making this happen is to authentically engage families and incorporate their voice into early childhood systems.

Afina Learning: A National Initiative to Transform Professional Development

Efforts to support professional learning and create equitable career pathways for the early childhood workforce have long suffered from a combination of content and delivery that don’t build skills, inadequate supports and funding, and too many “dead-end” trainings. This session explored the possibilities of a new collaborative effort to create equity-focused career pathways for home- and center-based providers, directors and coaches using a custom-built, mobile-first learning platform and modularized, competency-based courses that stack into badges, micro-credentials and college credits/degrees that can be used to support compensation reform. Created with input from thousands of EC professionals, the Afina Learning system is bringing together many of the nation’s leading content providers to provide a “high-tech meets high-touch” system customizable for states.


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