Verline Rollins‘ QSLA Story
Drew Child Development Center – Rainbow Site,
a QSLA participating provider
After an accident tore nine ligaments in her arm, Verline Rollins could never work as a surgical technician again. She left the medical field and found herself starting over. This was not easy, nor part of her plans. She went back to school to work towards a new career, and found a new love: teaching.
That was twenty years ago. Verline has been working in the early learning field ever since, and is now a lead teacher at Drew Child Development Center in Compton.
Drew Child Development Center is part of Quality Start LA, which works with early learning and care programs to help them understand their program quality and create a plan to keep improving for the benefit of children and families they serve.
For Verline, the learning journey with Quality Start LA began with some hesitance. She already had to restart her career once. Would Quality Start LA mean starting from scratch again?
But Martha, Verline’s Quality Start LA coach, put her at ease.
“It just brought out scaredness, nervousness in me. [I thought], ‘Wow I have to go back to school all over again,’ Verline recalls. “Then, when I met Ms. Martha and found out what [this] is all about, I felt better. I felt like I could do this, and I was willing to learn.”
On a monthly basis, Martha provides support, guidance, and resources to help Drew’s teachers continue to learn new skills and ways to improve. Verline was most nervous about the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS), a tool that formally assesses a classroom environment. But Martha has helped her understand how to use the information from her ECERS assessment to make simple improvements to her classroom that can make a big difference.
Verline and her team rearranged the room to make it more spacious and developmentally appropriate, with added plants, a fish tank, and new educational stations. The children and families noticed the changes and improvements right away.
Verline remembers, “The kids wanted to go into every area. We had to time them—and the parents!—so everyone could get a chance to explore.”
Verline knows that with Quality Start LA and coach Martha, she’s on the right path to increasing the quality of her program inside and out. She says, “Right now, I really want to tackle the outdoors. That’s what I need to work on so the kids can have as much enjoyment outside as they do inside.”
There are a lot of new things to learn from Quality Start LA—even for seasoned early learning educators like Verline. Her message to others in the field is, “Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. It’s worth it.”