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Hopkins House President Addresses Early Learning Coalition Conference

May 16, 2016 05:19 PM
Hopkins House President J. Glenn Hopkins delivered the keynote address at a conference of early care and education professionals in Tallahasee, Florida on May 14.  He encouraged the more than 200 conference attendees to "soar" in their profession as educators by "being better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you are today." 
He urged them to "relentlessly" pursue higher education and stackable professional credentials that add value not only to the early care and education programs at which they work, "but also to you as individuals and professionals."  The more you have to bring to the table, he said, "the more value you have as an individual."  It engenders "pride and self-confidence supported by real knowledge -- things that can make it a joy to come to work every day."
The conference was organized by the Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend Region and held on the campus of Florida State University, just blocks from the state house. 
In his hour long address, President Hopkins described how Hopkins House has grown from a local "settlement house" to a regional leader in early care and education. He attributed this success to policies adopted by the trustees in 1996 and carefully implemented -- "not without our share of fits and starts" -- over the past 20 years.  He called it a "journey on a well-worn road" and warned that it will "take time and perserverance to travel".
He encouraged the audience to adopt their own policies, "driven by the history of your individual programs" and guided by "a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish not only for your students and their families but also for you as the educators that serve them."
"We are professionals," he said, "not 'child care workers' as they would have you believe." We need to demonstrate this in the knowledge, experience, and professionalism we bring to the classroom, he extolled.   
"To the extent that we are successful in demonstrating what we know about educating and preparing young people to fulfill their promise," he said, "the children will benefit, their families will benefit, the community will benefit, and you will benefit."