The Virginia Cross-Sector Professional Development Team (VCPD) evolved from multiple projects and initiatives that focused on high quality professional development for early childhood practitioners. This is brief summary of those efforts.

The Virginia Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (VECCS) grant was a public private partnership whose mission was to implement a comprehensive early childhood system that promoted the health and well-being of young children, enabling them to enter school ready and able to learn. VECCS was supported by the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) to support states’ efforts to build comprehensive early childhood systems.

The VECCS grant developed Virginia’s Plan for Smart Beginnings, which provides a strategic plan to improve, integrate, and evaluate all early childhood services, infrastructure, and public engagement efforts in the Commonwealth and addresses the professional development needs of the early childhood workforce.

The Governor’s Working Group, developed out of Virginia’s Plan for Smart Beginnings, advised and recommended activities to Governor Tim Kaine based on information from the Smart Beginning’s goal groups and task force groups (the Alignment Project, the Home Visiting Task Force, and Professional Development [PD] Task Force).

  • The Alignment Project focused on aligning children’s skill development, teacher competencies, program quality evaluation, and assessment of program policy, funding and planning. Products of the Alignment Project include The Milestones of Child Development, Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals, and the Virginia Star Quality Initiative (VSQI).
  • Virginia’s Home Visiting Consortium is a collaboration of statewide early childhood programs that serve families of children from pregnancy through age five and who provide their services using home visitation. State coordinators of each home visiting program comprise the Consortium membership.
  • The Professional Development Task Force submitted a report to the Governor’s Working Group in August 2009. In response to numerous administrative changes in state government, members of task force work groups wanted to assure that their efforts were continued during transitions. Key recommendations included:

o “Develop a statewide cross-sector professional development system that provides a continuum for the Virginia early childhood (EC) workforce.”
o “Virginia state level agencies need to develop and adopt a MOA/MOU/Charter or other partnership agreements to establish permanence and sustainability of the VCPD system.”
Anticipated benefits included:
o “Resources are saved through lack of duplication of services among programs, coordination which leads to more efficient work between programs and agencies – cost savings.”
o “Better trained EC professionals stay in the field longer. This creates stability in the early childhood workforce.”
o “Higher quality EC settings for families and children result in increased graduation rate, decreased retention and special education referrals for children.”

Infant Child Mental Health Task Force developed as a subcommittee of the Virginia Head Start Advisory committee to address concerns about child mental health.

With funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, Virginia became one of ten SpecialQuest State Leadership Teams, implementing cross-systems early childhood professional development for inclusion of children with more significant disabilities ages birth through five (pre-kindergarten) and their families, particularly those in Head Start, along with child care, early intervention/Part C, early childhood special education/619, family support, and other related programs.

Virginia was selected as one of eight states to receive support from the USDOE-funded National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI). NPDCI provided technical assistance to support the development of a cross-sector system of professional development through a team of state level early childhood agencies.

The Infant Child Mental Health Committee (ICMHC), Head Start, SpecialQuest and the Virginia Child Care Resource and Referral Network (now Child Care Aware) banded together and invited other relevant early childhood professional development providers to join them to create the Virginia Cross-Sector Professional Development Leadership Team (VCPD). Technical Assistance support was provided by NPDCI.


• Formation of an active, engaged cross-sector forum of all relevant PD providers in Virginia that includes a statement of purpose and partnership agreement

• Creation of and support for five regional PD consortia (Central, Northern, Eastern, Piedmont, and Western)

• Six state level workgroups: Governance, Quality Assurance, Creating Connections to Shining Stars Conference, Regional Consortia, Higher Education, and Inclusive Practices.

• Coordination of VCPD activities through employment of a part-time VCPD Coordinator

• A systematic statewide exploration of the status of Early Childhood PD in Virginia through NPDCI tools (Landscape and Matrix)

Participation in a PD Task Force for ten PreK Sites serving at-risk, underserved children in order to test innovative strategies (VPI in religious centers, military settings, university child care programs, child care centers, and home based child care)

• Examination of gaps and coordination of new PD initiatives: Center for Early Learning and Literacy (CELL),Center for Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) and SpecialQuest(SQ), with these initiatives building off each other’s efforts

• Two cross-sector train-the-trainer initiatives (CELL and SQ)

• Increased communication between pre-service and in-service through a USDOE Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) paraprofessional grant and SpecialQuest

• Updating the Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals to support inclusive practices and children who are medically fragile

• Development of What Makes an Effective Early Childhood Professional Development Provider? (competencies for trainers)

• Communication and resource sharing through the VCPD website, www.vcpd.net

• Representation on the Commonwealth Council for Childhood Success and work groups

• Sponsorship of the Creating Connections to Shining Stars annual conference in July 2015 with 485 participants, and July 2017 with over 600 participants.

• Provision of a VCPD Higher Education Institute for faculty from two and four year institutions and training/technical assistance providers in October 2015, September 2016, and September 2017.

• Participation in the Early Childhood Workforce Systems Initiative through NAEYC

• Participation in the OSEP-funded Early Childhood Personnel Center Leadership Institutes



  • Virginia Department of Health: Early Childhood Health and Child Care
  • Virginia Department of Education: Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE, Section 619), Virginia Preschool Initiative, Training and Technical Assistance Centers (T/TACs), Project HOPE (Homelessness)
  • Virginia Department of Social Services: Quality and Professional Development Unit, Office of Early Childhood Development, Division of Licensing Programs, Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network, Virginia Head Start Collaboration Office
  • Infant & Toddler Connection Integrated Training Collaborative (Part C)
  • Child Care Aware of Virginia and Virginia Military Child Care Liaison
  • Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired
  • Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and Local Smart Beginnings Coalitions
  • Institutions of Higher Education: Community College Early Childhood Peer Group, Higher Education (4 year EC and ECSE programs)
  • Partnership for People with Disabilities: Project SEED (Social Emotional Development), Early Childhood Mental Health
  • ARC of Virginia Family Involvement Project
  • ChildSavers
  • Early Impact Virginia
  • Cooperative Extension
  • Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children and Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Wingspan
  • Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning



VCPD Coordinator
Dr. Jaye Harvey
(540) 588-7358

VCPD Governance Committee Members

Dr. Mark Allan
Virginia Department of Education
(804) 225-3665

Laurel Aparicio
Early Impact Virginia

Deana Buck
Partnership for People with Disabilities
(804) 827-0198

Dr. Bethany Geldmaker
Virginia Department of Health
(804) 864-768

Kathy Gillikin
Virginia Department of Social Services
(804) 726-7606

Bonnie Grifa
Partnership for People with Disabilities
(757) 382-4211

Dr. Dawn Hendricks
Virginia Department of Education
(804) 225-2675

Cori Hill
Integrated Training Collaborative/ Infant & Toddler Connection
(540) 943-6776

Aleta Lawson
Virginia Department of Social Services
(804) 726-7468

Angela Wirt/Peggy Watkins

Child Care Aware of Virginia
(804) 285-0846



Sandy Wilberger

VDOE’s Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU
(804) 827-1405