The Verification Visit with the PD Specialist has a specific structure. You must bring your Professional Portfolio and the Competency Standards book to the Verification Visit. The pages in the back of the book will be used during for the Observation, the Review of the documentation, and the Reflective Dialogue.
The PD Specialist will look over your documentation, verifying the CDA training and the contents of the Profession Portfolio. The PD Specialist will be using p. 20 of the Comprehensive Scoring Instrument (at the back of the Competency Standards book) to record evidence from the Professional Portfolio. This would include verifying your CDA training, the number of Family Questionnaires collected, the Resource Collection, the six Competency Statements, and the professional Philosophy Statement.
There are two parts of your documentation that are extremely important and if they are incomplete, inaccurate, or missing, your CDA will be put on hold until it is corrected.
These two include:
1. The CDA training hours. If there are not enough hours accounted for (and the candidate has not received a waiver) or the training is not from an accepted source (See the section in the Competency Standards book that describes “Acceptable Professional Education”).
2. The first aid/CPR certification. This certification must be the type the Council requires (infant/child “pediatric” CPR) and it must not be expired.
The PD Specialist will wait until the end of your Verification Visit to tell you if either of these two problems exist and explain that the Council will be sending a postcard with the required procedures in order to continue your CDA process. This must be completed within 6 months of the date you received the “Ready to Schedule” notice. If not, your CDA will be forfeited.
Are There Any Other Issues That Can Put the Brakes On My CDA?
Yes, there are. One of them can happen early on in the process. If you are working in a child care program, you will need to decide on a CDA setting endorsement. This would be either infant/toddler or preschool. You will indicate this choice when ordering your Competency Standards book from the Council for Professional Recognition.
That book will be tailored to earning a CDA for that specific endorsement, including your Resource Collection, your Competency Statements, your Professional Philosophy Statement, the Observation, and Verification Visit.
Be sure to let the center-director know you have made this choice. It is critical that your classroom placement and the endorsement you choose match and stay the same until after your Observation and Verification Visit.
If your classroom is changed, you may not have the same age group as before, which would mean the materials ordered from the Council would not be valid for this new classroom. You would need to purchase another Competency Standards book for your current setting and classroom.
If you are a “floater” in your child care program, you will need to be proactive, as well. Moving around from one classroom and age group to another will simply not work when earning a CDA.
Furthermore, you and the children in that room need to get to know each other well and you need to be very familiar with the routines and environment, so you can act as lead teacher on the day of your Observation. The parents of the children must know you well enough to complete the Family Questionnaires.
Tell your director that if she wants you to earn your CDA, she will have to support you with this. If you aren’t getting the cooperation of the management in maintaining a particular setting through your CDA process, you may need to find another place to work that will.
As you work on your CDA, remember there is support and help. Getting started is often the hardest part… just knowing where to begin. Staying organized is the key and having some step-by-step help doesn’t hurt, either! Check out the new CDA Prep Workbook and pre-assembled binders on my website.
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