On Friday, May 17, 2024, LACOE’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten Career Development Initiative (UPK-CDI) recognized more than 90 individuals for completing one of the UPK-CDI pathways to launch or advance their career in early education.

This second annual End of the Year Reflections event—with the theme “A Sweet Ending to a New Beginning”—honored more than twice as many early educators as the inaugural iteration in 2023. This includes more than 70 who are now qualified as assistant teachers in Head Start classrooms, as well as 20 others who completed one of three new pathways to earn their preschool teacher qualifications, transitional kindergarten teacher ECE unit requirements, or the Family Development Credential–Community Health Worker (FDC-CHW) dual certification.

UPK-CDI participants and their guests gathered for a celebratory luncheon at Almansor Court in Alhambra. County Superintendent Dr. Debra Duardo provided a moving keynote address, and Congresswoman Judy Chu’s office sent a representative to honor and encourage participants. Other speakers included Dr. Dolores Gallegos of West LA College, Kellie Konysky of PACE, LACOE HSEL staff, and one selected member of each UPK-CDI cohort—FDC-CHW, UCLA, West LA Cohort 2, West LA Cohort 3, Teacher Pathway, and the TK Teacher Pathway.

Congratulations to all who have completed a UPK-CDI pathway! In the words of Kellie Konysky, “We can’t wait to see how you flourish in your new roles.”

A recent feature on UPK-CDI can be found at LAist: https://laist.com/news/education/early-childhood-education-pre-k/los-angeles-county-early-childhood-teachers-parents-head-start.

For more information about UPK-CDI, please contact hselupkcdi@lacoe.edu