Doris Lee is a Dare County Early Childhood Professional and onsite Administrator of a 4 star licensed facility. She is a strong advocate for Early Childhood and strives every day to be an influential resource to her fellow teachers, the children and their families as she serves in the field. She wants to raise awareness about how child care needs are not being met, including fair compensation for early educators, and the resources that are not available. Doris said, “AWARD$ Plus allows me to be able to take care of my financial obligations along with my living expenses. Our line of work deserves competitive wages for teachers and administrators to feel appreciated and respected as they fight the good fight. Early childhood educators shouldn’t be financially struggling to maintain the basics of everyday life all because they chose to work with children.”
First year? In many ways, yes! If you are familiar with Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$®, then you know this education-based salary supplement program actually began back in 2018. However, in FY23, the program transitioned to AWARD$ Plus with expanded eligibility. The primary differences in eligibility are shown below.
Veronica Pigford loves working with two-year-olds, but she didn’t start with this age group. “I came here for a summer job when I was working in the public school system and I just fell in love with infants and toddlers,” Veronica said. “I love all the children, but I am so happy working with the twos. They love you so much. They cling to you. They appreciate you and are eager to learn new things. I really like being part of that.”
Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is proud to offer two education-based salary supplement programs in North Carolina. The Child Care WAGE$® Program issued its first checks in 1994 in one county and as of 2023, is available in 63 counties across the state with funding from local Smart Start partnerships that choose to participate and the Division of Child Development and Early Education. Funding partnerships determine compensation amounts and some of the program’s eligibility requirements, and supplements are issued to qualifying educators working with children birth to 5. Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® started in 2018 and expanded eligibility in July 2023, rebranding as Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® Plus. Funded solely by the Division of Child Development and Early Education, the supplements are available in all 100 counties to qualifying educators working with children birth through age 2 at least 30 hours per week.
Wake County infant-toddler teacher Yvonne Blair-Burnette came to early childhood with a wealth of education and experience. With a Master’s Degree in Social Work and multiple early childhood semester hours, she worked for years in early childhood mental health. She visited various centers to help young children with developmental delays
Union County toddler teacher LaTonya Pegues got her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education in her 40s, and she is proud that she went back to school and stuck with it. She said, “It was hard, but I did it! I have a son and two grandchildren. I’m a teacher