Be a part of our mission.
The mission of the YMCA of Metro Chicago is to develop strong children, families and communities across Metropolitan Chicago through academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, fitness and healthy living. We rely on the expertise, passion, commitment and energy of our teachers and other team members to help us achieve our mission one child, one family and one team member at a time.
Our programs create a child-centered environment that promotes learning, character development, healthy living and positive, nurturing relationships. With a commitment to meeting quality and accreditation standards and extensive training and professional development, the Y aims to be a learning hub where research meets practice. The early childhood demonstration center is a Head Start program, coupling best practice early intervention services to children and families with innovative promising practices in the field of early education.
The Department of Learning, Evaluation and Community Impact is responsible for driving cross-functional learning, evaluation and innovation throughout the YMCA of Metro Chicago. The Department’s leading goal is to cement the Y as the region’s leading nonprofit provider of effective early childhood, youth and family enrichment programs and services. The Learning, Evaluation and Community Impact team members work closely with other departments to develop a portfolio of high quality, evidence-based and measurable programs that are consistent across service area. In order to support promising practices across the Y association, the Y Center was developed to be a hub where research meets practice. The Y Center’s Early Childhood Demonstration program is critical for identifying and scaling promising practices , as well as acting as a training and learning center for other early childhood practitioners and advocates.
The Senior Site Director of Early Learning Programs is a collaborative, child development expert responsible for leading and managing all aspects of the early learning demonstration center, including day-to-day program operations. The person is focused on contributing to and executing the strategic vision of the early learning demonstration center. They will be responsible for developing and managing demonstration center partnerships, supervising early learning demonstration center staff, and implementing research-based programming. Position includes oversight and support of ExceleRate Illinois™, National Accreditation and acting as DCFS “Director on Record” for all child care programs on site.
Scope of Responsibilities
Implements programming in accordance with the YMCA mission and the Illinois Department of Human Services requirements by performing the following duties:
Demonstration Model Responsibilities –
- Builds and manages effective relationships with internal and external partners – attends meetings, functions, and events. Also provides center tours to stakeholders and other guests as requested.
- Engages stakeholders and funders across a variety of settings and shares program’s benefits, overall mission, and vision of the YMCA with them.
- Embraces innovation and researches best practices around curriculum, parent engagement, and staff development as potential pilot models for the YMCA.
- Implements, and supports teachers’ implementation of progressive education methods and techniques to support high quality early learning experiences for young children and their families.
- Participates in learning opportunities that support innovative approaches in early education, conducting action research and supporting center staff in their own research and learning.
- Actively participates in the Y’s efforts to disseminate promising practices, outcomes, and other information in the field of early childhood education by publishing, co-authoring, and/or presenting at conferences.
- Explores and pilots teacher evaluation models such as the Danielson model to improve teacher practice.
- Possesses experience in fundraising and researching grant opportunities.
- Partners with the HR team to support the screening process by interviewing potential YMCA site directors.
- Plays an active role in promoting all YMCA offerings, programs and services.
- Other duties as assigned.
- Recruits, hires, supervises, and coaches staff of varied levels of education and experience to ensure program quality and positive outcomes for children and families.
- Routinely conducts classroom observations; reviews 20% of center files for each program component monthly.
- Conducts annual evaluations with employees and encourages annual goal development and growth of all staff.
- Ensures that staff are establishing a safe, nurturing, supportive, and positive classroom climate that includes the following elements:
- incorporates a strengths-based approach to developing positive relationships.
- instills motivation, promotes collaboration, and supports well being of others.
- has clear/consistent classroom routines, transitions, and lesson activities.
- implements developmentally appropriate instructional strategies.
- supports a learning environment around inquiry and play based experiences.
- utilizes effective, age appropriate classroom management practices that promote responsibility.
- embeds the experiential learning approach within all learning experiences.
- Support teachers in the implementation of culturally responsive practices that foster rigorous instruction for dual-language learners to be engaged academically, intellectually, and linguistically in the classroom.
- Confers with teaching staff regarding children's learning and development. Support staff with interpreting, analyzing and using evidence of adult and student learning to inform and drive the work.
- Encourages the input of the family into the goals of children using portfolios and assessment materials.
- Assists the onboarding team with new hire orientation of all staff, including training of Creative Curriculum, NAEYC, ExceleRate Illinois™, Ethics, Mandated Reporting, Emergency Preparedness, First Aid/ CPR, etc.
Program Management –
- Displays the highest ethical and professional behavior and standards (including the NAEYC Code of Ethics) when working with students, parents, personnel and other agencies associated with the program.
- Honors and respects families by implementing culturally responsive practices.
- Monitors and supports the implementation of program practices in accordance with city and state licensing requirements, NAEYC accreditation and ExceleRate Illinois™.
- Maintains compliance with local, state, and federal funding agencies.
- Supports recruitment strategy and implementation; plans and conducts tours of the facility to potential families.
- Engages and includes families voices in the culture and climate of the school, leveraging home cultures to enhance student and family learning; regularly conducts parent meetings and family events; communicates with families to ensure understanding of program policies and procedures.
- Supports implementation of the Creative Curriculum System as the essential curriculum, leveraging an emergent curriculum philosophy to enhance Creative Curriculum standards.
- Assists in grant applications and grant reporting as needed.
- Supports the continuous quality improvement process for the Y Center, assisting in the development of program goals and actions plans for improved quality of services to children and families.
- Monitors all licensing and contractual standards to maintain recruitment and enrollment, ratios, child portfolios, child safety, facility cleanliness, staff files, children’s files, etc.
- Ensures high quality programming by providing a safe, interactive and engaging environment that assures the well-being of children; respects the confidentiality of children and families in the program.
- Support the YMCA’s commitment to child abuse and prevention by following and communicating all policies and procedures to children, families and staff.
- Completes daily, weekly and monthly program reports.
Financial Management –
- Assists in preparation, regulation and management of the budget. Assists in the preparation and management of program revenue, expenditures, billing and reconciliations.
- Facilitates payroll management and scheduling for the child care programs.
- Authorizes purchases and collaborates with staff for instructional materials and teaching aids such as books, toys and materials designed to stimulate learning.
- Assists in grant applications and grant reporting as needed.
- Bachelor’s degree or higher (Master’s Degree preferred) in Early Childhood Education or Child Development minimum of 24 semester hours related to early childhood education or child development with 9 semester hours in administration, leadership or management
- Minimum of 5-10 years in an early learning setting (or supporting agency) with 5 years direct supervisory experience
- Experience required in the operation of a child development center, day care center, nursery school, or kindergarten
- Must be able to supervise and direct staff of various educational and ethnic backgrounds
- Willing to obtain First Aid, CPR, and Food Sanitation certifications
- It is also highly preferred that the candidate has the following: Experience working in Head Start/Early Head Start programs, Illinois Director Credential (unless holds another NAEYC recognized Director Credential), CLASS Certification and/or Illinois ECE or Infant Toddler Level V or higher credential, or pursues these within two years of hire.