Participation in MECLP includes a variety of elements including SHER 601, a university-level course through UMBC with partnership from UMass Boston, the opportunity to join MECLP’s Community of Practice, and future opportunities for leadership and development in early childhood education.
MECLP is creating a pathway to a six-credit graduate Endorsement in Early Childhood Leadership at UMBC. With the development of 6 additional graduate credits in early childhood leadership, students (fellows) would receive a 12-credit Certificate in Early Childhood Leadership from UMBC.
The 12-month, Leading for Change in Early Childhood Education course (SHER 601), is a cohort based, 3-credit post baccalaureate course which includes six in-person daylong learning sessions that include guest presentations; six asynchronous online learning sessions; individual and small group assignments, and a capstone project focused on a self-selected issue specific to early childhood in Maryland. The course uses a highly interactive approach that centers on the leadership development of cohort fellows in the context of the programs/settings in which they work, providing them with a deeper understanding of themselves as agents of change in their fields. Cohort fellows examine the theory and practice of change to gain an understanding of what contributes to organizational progress and sustained improvements and analyze the sources that drive change as developing leaders. In addition, fellows examine impediments to change and survey a range of approaches for making change more effective. The SHER 601 course is grounded in seven core competencies: vision; personal leadership skills and values; people management/leadership; organizational capacity results/outcomes; creativity/innovation and public policy knowledge.
Upon completion of SHER 601, MECLP fellows have the option of joining the Community of Practice which includes a robust mentoring program; participation in Leadership in Action Conversations with ECE leaders across the state; join state-wide and national webinars, and attend annual Early Childhood Leadership Institutes. MECLP leadership fellows benefit from the Community of Practice as they hone
Building on the SHER 601 course, MECLP is developing a new three-credit course-SHER 602 – with an emphasis on the science of leadership, measurement, data collection, evaluation, implementation of capstone projects, public policy and advocacy and application of leadership skills through research and field experiences.
This tiered approach will build early childhood education workforce capacity for leadership positions with different levels of complexity. As the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is being implemented, MECLP will develop early education leaders to serve as Directors/Coordinators of childcare programs and Judy Centers, in supervisory roles at large and small non-profit organizations and local school systems, as well as lead policymaking at governmental agencies. MECLP is positioning itself as the state’s early childhood education leadership hub with the purpose of enhancing the ECE workforce as outlined in MSDE’s Maryland’s Path to School Readiness and Success.