Las Familias: Whole Teacher, Whole Child Community of Practice

Questions & Answers
Las Familias

What is a community of practice (CoP)?

  • Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. —Etienne Wenger

What is the source of funding?

Grant monies are awarded by United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona (UW). They receive their funding from Arizona First Things First. SAZAEYC is a sub-grantee of UW. For the remainder of this Q & A, it will be referred to as “the grant”.

Is the grant renewed automatically?

SAZAEYC applies yearly for funding. There are no guarantees that the grant will be renewed or funded. The grant cycle is from July–June.

What is the “work”?

  • Continue and strengthen a CoP to provide the habits, concepts, and skills needed to implement Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) in classrooms by deepening teachers’ understanding of DAP as described in the First Things First grant proposal, “Great Expectations”.
  • Facilitate monthly cohort meetings.
  • Provide on-site coaching for cohort members to help cohort members reinforce knowledge and skills gained during meetings.
  • Provide college credit for cohort members through Pima Community College.
  • Report monthly to United Way on designated performance measures, in compliance with standards and requirements of First Things First.

Who is accountable for the performance and the monies?

There are three part-time employees who oversee the development and implementation of the “work”. The budget (expenses) are reported monthly to the SAZAEYC treasurer and UW as required by the grant. All three coordinators share the responsibilities related to performance. A monthly report outlining the work is written monthly and submitted to UW with copies provided for all SAZAEYC board members.

Who does the work?

Kelly Larkin, Julia Butler, and Sarah Woodworth perform the work as outlined in the grant recitals, including coaching, monthly meetings, writing, reading and responding to journal invitations, guided observations, brown bag sessions, as well as attending national speaker workshops provided by UW and other required meetings. Kelly, Julia, and Sarah are employed by SAZAEYC.


What is the cost to SAZAEYC for this grant and what is the value?

The grant pays for the cost of having employees and all other operating expenses like bookkeeping, supplies and materials. By being part of “GREAT EXPECTATIONS FOR CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND TEACHERS” SAZAEYC has a strong professional presence in our community. One of the strategic goals of SAZAEYC is to support high quality education for children and high quality professional development for their members and Las Familias furthers this goal. All CoP members are also members of SAZAEYCand many attend the Awards’ Brunch and annual conference—all supported by the grant funding.

What role does Pima Community College play?

Some of the CoP members enroll at Pima Community College (PCC) and earn credit for their participation in Las Familias. Their tuition is paid for by state funding (Pathways) and their student fees can be paid for by the grant. We currently have six members enrolled at PCC. The big picture goal is to help CoP members complete degrees in early childhood education and remain lifelong learners in our profession.

How can I become a member of a CoP?

There are 16 communities of practice funded by UW and First Things First. Each CoP has a different focus and may support work in specific geographic regions. Typically, members join in August of each grant year. Each CoP has a limited capacity. For more information, check out The UW website Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, Families, and Communities