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YoungStar Professional Development Department

Professional Development Department Objectives

Our objective is to be the first level of professional development resource gathering and research to YoungStar Technical Consultants and the second level of professional development resource gathering and research to child care programs. To supply, develop, update and maintain well-organized professional development services that will improve our practice as professionals throughout the state of Wisconsin.

YoungStar Professional Development Department Overview

SFTA currently administers YoungStar professional development services through our wonderful Professional Development staff. Our department supports Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, and child care providers with their professional development needs. We provide resources, tools, and trainings in early childhood education that range from foundational, to complex. We are the first step in identifying professional development resources and research for Technical Consultants. Additionally, we offer professional development supports to licensed child care programs through various options, some in consort with their assigned Technical Consultant. We supply and maintain professional development supports; online trainings, face to face, action planning, and a wealth of other resources and tools. Our goal is to provide responsive and diverse supports, meaningful training curriculum and increase skill and knowledge for our partners and Child Care Providers throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Abbe Braun

Professional Development Manager

CCR&Rs and programs may contact Abbe with questions about policies and administration of the YoungStar Professional Development Department.

(608) 443.2491


Jenna Finley

Professional Development Specialist

CCR&Rs and programs may contact Jenna with questions/concerns about standardized and customizable trainings, training revisions and professional development goal setting.

(608) 800.1506

Romilia Schlueter

Bilingual Quality Improvement Specialist

CCR&Rs and programs may contact Romilia with questions/concerns about standard YoungStar trainings and customizable trainings for Spanish-speaking audiences.

(608) 443.2495

What is the YoungStar connection?

YoungStar is Wisconsin’s Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System. Supporting Families Together Association’s Professional Development Department supports Technical Consultants, trainers, early childhood and school-age programs, and partnering agencies with resources, tools and trainings on various content, on how to deliver high quality care to children within our state.

YoungStar increases training access for Wisconsin childcare providers because ongoing professional development and training is important to support providers in giving children the high quality care they deserve. YoungStar sponsors child care trainings throughout Wisconsin. Through experience and training, providers learn how to make changes that better support and encourage the children in their care.


Training opportunities are offered to all early childhood programs throughout Wisconsin. These professional development opportunities support quality improvement goals connected to the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria. There are many options that will support a child care provider’s learning and growth regarding the learning environment, a program’s business practices, and children’s well-being. The goal of these trainings is to provide relevant education and content to support adult learners and ensure quality in all early childhood programs. Trainings are offered in the following categories:

  • Learning Environment & Curriculum
  • Business & Professional Practices
  • Health & Well-Being

Professional Development

Exploring the professional development needs of child care providers is a unique experience provided while YoungStar Technical Consultants (TCs) are onsite with their programs. This shared decision-making process supports child care programs as they set goals to provide professional development opportunities for program administration and staff. The TC will provide mentorship as professional development goals are discussed and defined, and lastly to celebrate with the provider as goals are achieved. TCs are the first level of support to child care providers, offering a complete selection of professional development services

This support will fall on a continuum that ranges from simple questions to deeper research and resource gathering. The Professional Development Department is available to directly support the provider when needed. In conjunction with the TC, the Professional Development Department may work directly with the child care provider to define goals and steps to achieve the goal.

SFTA and our Child Care Resource & Referral agency partners provide low cost training due to significant support and funding from the WI Department of Children and Families. However, we know that sometimes your needs are unique. SFTA offers customizable professional development options in a variety of formats, across a range of content areas and in multiple languages. Contact Abbe Braun at 1 (888) 713.KIDS for more information about how these opportunities can be customized for your program.

Professional Development Resources & Supports

Listed below are specific supports, tools, and, resources that SFTA’s Professional Development Department provides, ranging from simple to complex depending upon the level of need.

Technical Consultants (TCs) & Trainers
  • Connect with The Registry to follow The Registry PDAS requirements for a given position.
  • Provide desired, meaningful trainings that can be utilized within the programs in which a TC/trainer serves.
  • Supply templates, guides, tip sheets, checklists, and other forms for professional development action planning.
  • Share information regarding T.E.A.C.H and REWARD and assist in referral of interested providers to Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA).
  • Provide professional development learning opportunities consisting of state and national trainings, workshops, webinars, meetings, and conferences.
  • Offer a diverse selection of early childhood and school-age professional development resources; books, videos, articles, and games.
Early Childhood & School-Age Programs
  • Provide professional development counseling.
  • Refer to Child Care Resource & Referral agencies for professional development trainings, meetings, conferences, and webinars.
Partnering Agencies
  • Collaborate in updating and creating desired trainings for all programs.
  • Serve on workgroups and Communities of Practice.

Professional Development Corner

(*Please stay tuned for more resources and information to be added here!)

  • Check out this month’s SFTA Professional Development E-Blast below, for statewide and national professional development opportunities and resources for Technical Consultants, trainers and other early childhood professionals. If you are using a Chrome browser with a Windows operating system, you may be currently unable to open PDFs like this one due to an issue with Chrome that Google is working to resolve. Until this issue is addressed, please use an alternative browser to access PDFs on our site.

SFTA May 2018 E Blast

 Professional Development Happenings

“My Professional Development Journey”- Highlights a success story from Carrie’s Family Day Care in Milwaukee, WI. Our hope is to inspire and motivate you and your programs in their professional development journeys.

Ms. Carrie set her goal to obtain her Associates Degree when she needed her high school transcript for her career level from The Registry. Her transcripts were destroyed in a school fire propelling her toward her professional development journey. She has had some challenges along with way. A serious illness in 2016 but is determined to finish. Ms. Carrie attends Ashworth College a Private and self-paced school. She has completed 30 credits and is currently working on two courses, Child Sociology and History & Politics.

Ms. Carrie credits her Technical Consultant Veraunica Ruffin for supporting her through this journey. She wants Veraunica to come to her graduation with her. Ms. Carrie has also encouraged her staff to take courses for their professional development as well.

Coming soon a member of the Professional Development Department will provide you a brief tips, tricks and strategy video on Professional Development Action Planning. Stay tuned . . .

If you and your program(s) would like to contribute to SFTA PDD Webpage with your Professional Development Journey story or How Professional Development Supports Me, please contact Jenna Finley directly via email or phone.



How Professional Development Supports Me

As TC’s in our agency we have seen a need in programs to help support them with teacher lead physical
activities and nutrition due to the changes in CACFP along with YS best practices. We thoroughly
enjoyed Diane Craft’s training last May and wanted to expand our knowledge on this topic for ourselves
and to meet the needs of our providers. Most of the TC’s in our agency were not Healthy Bites or Active
Early trainers. We contacted Abbe and she agreed to support our training needs by offering a train the
trainer for both of the trainings. Due to the late spring snow storm we were unable to do this training in
person but completed it by webinar. The training reviewed each module in detail with activities to share
with the providers. As a TC’s, we enjoyed the visual nutrition comparisons. We feel the hands on
activities will bring a thought provoking conversation between TC and provider and also provider and
parent. We were thankful for the PD opportunity.

Kristine Joyce and Lori Shafranski


Wisconsin Rapids

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