Starting Points Networks are made up of local groups of early childhood professionals across 12 regions in Vermont who take initiative through leadership, professional development and peer support to encourage, learn and grow together.
What began in the 1990s as a national initiative researched and funded by the Carnegie Corporation, has become a sustained resource through the combined work of the State of Vermont Department for Children and Families, Child Development Division (CDD) and Vermont Birth to Five. Currently there is an annual grant process to which regions may apply – either through the CDD only or through CDD and Vermont Birth to Five (the latter involving additional grant funds). Vermont Birth to Five provides technical assistance to support grant writing.
- In 2016, a total of $204,800 in grants were distributed in all 12 regions. This funding was used for professional development activities, outreach to new child care providers and provider recognition events.
Starting Points Networks hold regular meetings to provide a comfortable and engaging way for providers to connect with others in their field. As a group member you actively participate and feel empowered to identify opportunities and challenges, propose solutions and celebrate achievements. In addition, in 2016, network leaders were brought together twice for a statewide meeting to discuss best practices and key statewide development.
The following are some examples of network growth and development in 2016:
- There are 485 members participating in Starting Points networks statewide.
- Vermont Birth to Five supported 574 hours of Network–based professional development in the 12 regions in 2016.
For more information about Starting Points, please contact the regional manager in your area:
- Burlington, Springfield and Hartford AHS Districts: Didi Harris – 802-343-7450
- Newport, Barre and St. Johnsbury AHS Districts: Lorraine Vernet – 802-760-8878
- St. Albans, Morrisville and Middlebury AHS Districts: LouAnn Beninati – 802-578-5087
- Bennington, Brattleboro and Rutland AHS Districts: Sharron Harrington – 802-681-8382