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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 E Blast February 2018 

  • 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.
  • SFTA Quarterly Newsletter: This newsletter is targeted to early care and education professionals including CCR&R staff, providers, and those in similar professions. Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter here.
  • See The Importance of Professional Development for a concrete look at why professional development is important in early childhood. Remember, professional development is a journey and you’re never too old or smart to learn something new!
  • Professional Development Tip/Resource of the month: Self Care for Teachers and Technical Consultants
  • SFTA Resource Warehouse: Professional Development Folder of resources.

Upcoming Professional Development Happenings

  • Coming up in February 2018, we will be featuring two types of videos on the PDD page. My Professional Development Journey will offer stories from our network of CCR&Rs highlighting the valuable work of Technical Consultants, the programs, owners, directors, and providers they work with, and their experiences working toward their professional development goals. The second video type will provide quick tips, strategies, tools and resources on professional development topics related to early education. If you and your program(s) would like to contribute to either of these videos by sharing your professional development journey with the SFTA PD Department, please contact Jenna Finley at jenna@supportingfamiliestogether.org or (608) 800.1506.
  • Coming soon we will upload two types of videos. One will be “My Professional Development Journey”, stories from our network of CCR&R’s highlighting the valuable work of Technical Consultants and their Programs, Owners, Directors, and or Teachers sharing their experiences working toward their professional development goals.

How Professional Development Supports Me

The PD e-blasts always have useful information for me and my providers and it’s nice to get them in a “one-stop shop” format- everything you need to know in a single email! I love, love, love the Main Brain Exchange webinar series. It is so fantastic to collect ideas on a monthly basis that help me to do my job more effectively, efficiently, and compassionately. It is so dynamic to participate with TCs from around the state and hear their thoughts, good ideas, and feelings about the work we share and I always walk away feeling motivated, re-centered, and supported. I am always impressed by how fast the PD department gets back to me via email or phone- it feels like we’re just down the hallway from each other!

-Chelsey Thill

Childcaring, Inc.

Comments from the on-line training: Fortaleciendo familias a través de la educación y la atención temprana

I want to thank you in a very effusive way the course and training. You can really see all the work you put into organizing this event. As always everything came out spectacularly and divinely.

I love courses or online I think you learn a lot and can be done in the time you have available

This was my first experience with this type of trainings, I think it is very accessible because you can finish the course at your own convenience and in several parts.

Personally, I like more courses where you can see people and share your experiences, but I also think that this type of training is very important because they fit your schedule.

It was awesome because it was in Spanish, I had never taken a course in another language. Very clear with very well explained and very well written examples. This course was very easy because what is offered I do daily with families I work with.

I liked to see the videos and pictures of real people not drawings. I liked the time we were given to finish the course. I think it was very well done, you don’t need to add anything.

See Success for Yourself

“I wanted to do everything the right way.” – Heather Sternitzky, Owner Heather’s Bright Beginnings, Granton Familiar Territory Heather was not new to child care or even YoungStar when she started her program. She started out in child care working […]

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