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YoungStar Professional Development Department

Professional Development is…

Process of improving and increasing capabilities to staff through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace.

Benefits of Professional Development

Builds Morale – Supports lifelong learning – Stay current in Early Childhood Education trends – Invest in yourself – Invest in your staff – Provide best care for children and families – Learn new technology – Network with other professionals – Increase leadership skills – Build Confidence – Learn something new – Increase job satisfaction – Increase YoungStar star level

(608) 443.2495

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


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.

Amanda Austin

Training Specialist


CCR&Rs and programs may contact Amanda with questions/concerns about trainings.

(608) 443-2124

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

How Professional Development Works with us 

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.

  • Spanish-speaking early childhood professionals are encouraged to check out Romilia’s Spanish radio program, Apoyando Familias, Aprendiendo Juntos, which airs every Wednesday on La Movida, WLMV 1480, at 11 am CDT. Archived programs can be found on the radio program blog.
  • Professional Development Tip/Resource of the month: Feedback as a Professional Development Tool
    • You’re a teacher, but are you also a learner? As teaching is both an art and a science, it’s critical we see ourselves as in a continual state of refinement. There are many ways to improve our craft, ranging from reading books, observing peers, and attending professional development sessions. But one of the simplest ways to adjust our methods is simply by receiving feedback from others. So what kind of feedback receiver are you? There are several ways teachers use professional development to receive feedback given to them, and the way they receive it indicates a lot about who they are and how they’re growing (or not) as a professional.
  • SFTA Resource Warehouse: Professional Development Folder of resources.

 Professional Development Happenings

The Science of Receiving Feedback: Mentor Workshop Introduction (5:15 minutes)

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, Childcaring Inc.

If you and your program(s) would like to contribute to the SFTA PDD Webpage with your Professional Development Journey story or How Professional Development Supports Me, please contact Abbe Braun directly via email or phone. abbe@supportingfamiliestogether.org    (608) 443-2491










See Success for Yourself

“My experience with YoungStar has been positive.  It was time – consuming, but with hard work and dedication, I realized the  improvements I was making would benefit the children in the long run.”   – Katy Schultz, Owner Tender Hearts […]

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