The HIPPY Leading to Educational Advancement Pathway (LEAP) will replicate successful components of other home visitor career development programs: HIPPY Australia developed job skills training modules specifically for peer home visitors; HIPPY Canada has partnered with Thompson River University in British Columbia to provide college credit for training received as HIPPY home visitors; and The Traveling Arkansas's Professional Pathways (TAPP) registry helps state-funded early childhood educators obtain a CDA credential or Associate's degree. Through this program, Arkansas home visitors are gaining at least one of these credentials.
To increase the educational opportunities of HIPPY home visitors, a pilot project of the LEAP will be implemented with the following components. 1) Home visitors will complete plans outlining their career and education goals within six months of hire. Local HIPPY coordinators will assist home visitors in making progress on their plans. Progress on the plans will be tracked in HIPPY USA's online data management system, in which home visitors are currently accessing. 2) HIPPY USA will identify and approve training modules developed by early childhood education agencies, organizations, or HIPPY USA to meet CDA requirements. 3) To mitigate the cost of tuition for women seeking college degrees, HIPPY USA will identify community foundations and scholarship funds that could provide scholarships for eligible home visitors. 4) Because the intensive HIPPY training program is similar to a college level practicum which requires home visitors to learn new material weekly, teach it to others, and then reflectively improve their practice over the course of a program year; college credit is a reasonable expectation for this level of work. HIPPY USA will partner with community colleges to provide academic credit for this work experience.
The LEAP project design will be implemented during the first year and 10 HIPPY programs will begin piloting the Pathway. During the second year, 10 additional pilot sites will implement the LEAP in preparation for rolling the project out to all HIPPY programs in the 2014-15 program year.
2012-2013 Program Year (October - September)
1. Secure necessary funds for the project
2. Hire the manager for the HIPPY LEAP project
3. Establish a nationwide employment and education registry, based on the Traveling Arkansas Professional Pathways (TAPP) program for home visitors, to track training and credentialing in early childhood development
4. Identify and approve training modules to be used by HIPPY home visitors
5. Identify 10 HIPPY programs to pilot LEAP
6. Conduct training for pilot site coordinators
7. Register 50 home visitors for the program and assist them in developing individualized education plans
8. HIPPY coordinators at pilot sites will assist home visitors in implementing their plans
9. Partner with two community colleges to provide college credit for portfolios demonstrating the skills acquired through training and experience.
10. Identify scholarship opportunities for home visitors through colleges and community foundations
11. Evaluate process and outcomes for first year of pilot; modify system based on findings
2013 - 2014 Program Year (October - September)
1. Identify 10 additional HIPPY programs to pilot the LEAP
2. Conduct training for pilot site coordinators
3. Register 50 additional home visitors for the program and assist them in developing individualized education plans
4. Monitor progress of home visitors working on individual plans
5. Collect and analyze results from the LEAP participants
6. Modify pathway components based on feedback from home visitors and coordinators
7. Evaluate overall project and modify as necessary
8. Prepare to roll the LEAP out to the entire HIPPY network
The achievement gap appears well before children enter kindergarten and children who begin first grade having missed critical early learning opportunities are already at risk for failure in school. To address this issue, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) prepares parents who may have low levels of literacy, limited English proficiency, low incomes or live in at-risk communities to be their children's most influential teachers. Using the HIPPY books and curriculum, parents spend time each day teaching their children school readiness skills. HIPPY empowers parents to actively engage in their children's education, leading to better academic outcomes for children throughout their school years. Annually, 147 HIPPY programs in 20 states and the District of Columbia serve 15,000 children; 32% are African American, 28% are white, 31% are Latino and 9% are Asian American or multi-racial.
HIPPY employs community-based paraprofessionals as home visitors, many of whom are current or former HIPPY parents. As peers of the parents, HIPPY home visitors have the cultural and linguistic competencies necessary to develop trust and rapport with participating families. Annually, more than 720 women work as HIPPY home visitors; 30% of whom are native Spanish speakers. While most home visitors do not have college degrees, they receive intensive weekly training from the program coordinators to enable them to deliver the curriculum successfully to the parents. Working for HIPPY is the first professional level job for many of the home visitors, highlighting the strong workforce development element of the model.
The HIPPY Leading to Educational Advancement Pathway (LEAP) will create a professional development system for home visitors throughout the HIPPY network to obtain advanced educational credentials. The LEAP goal is to enable HIPPY home visitors to improve their educational status by attaining Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials, Associate's or Bachelor's degrees.
HIPPY USA is seeking funders who offer college scholarships to women with limited resources and organizations providing on-line training modules in child development, family dynamics, and early childhood education topics.