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Professional Development

The Shepherd's Academy for Teaching Excellence is a vocational training program that serves early childhood educators and program administrators in partnership with The Shepherd's Academy. We provide inspirational staff development and business consulting for administrators and teachers of programs for young children. Our objectives are to ensure optimal development of children by developing programs that engage every learner and to improve processes and performance in order to provide the best service possible to young children. We are a Professional Learning Community within a community of learners. A PLC is an ongoing process used to establish a schoolwide culture that develops teacher leadership explicitly focused on building and sustaining school improvement efforts. Our PLC includes teachers, early educators, administrators, support, community members, parents, and students, as appropriate. Through participation in PLCs, teachers enhance their leadership capacity while they work as members of ongoing, high-performing, collaborative teams that focus on improving student learning.

The Shepherd’s Academy for Teaching Excellence provides many Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning: Bright from the Start and Georgia Department of Education Office of Professional Learning courses. A supervised clinical experience, which consists of either student teaching or a practicum within The Shepherd's Academy for teachers who are currently in the field, is provided for students completing their certification programs. Each experience is a full-time, daytime responsibility and includes a weekly or monthly meeting and/or seminar. All policies and procedures are in compliance with the National Health and Safety Standards established by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Board of Health, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Association of Christian Schools International, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation (Advanced ED Georgia) standards for quality schools; and federal, state, and local regulations. We are a 501(c)3 corporation that is organized for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes. 

Child Development Associate (CDA)

The Child Development Associates (CDA) Program prepares students for work in the early childhood care and education field. Participants must be working with young children regularly either in a paid or volunteer position to fulfill their coursework requirements. Complete the 120 hours of early childhood education training, covering the growth and development of children birth to 8 years of age. The online version is designed to be completed in 12 weeks. The material is available 24/7 and the course is self-paced. You may begin the class immediately and have up to one year to complete the class. The non-refundable registration fee is $199.00/person. [Promotional rate-For a limited time.] The textbook list ($85), supply list for the teaching portfolio ($35), and directions (login information) for access to the online course are issued within 24 hours.

40-Hour Director's Training

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning: Bright from the Start approved 40-Hour Director's Training Course covers all early childhood education program administrative competencies. Enrollment in the online version is on a rolling basis and the course is self-paced (you work whenever your schedule permits you to). You may begin the online class once your payment is processed and login information is emailed to you. Some students take a few days to complete the online class, while others take a few weeks. Access to the class is available 24/7. The online course must be completed within six weeks. The online student reviews the manual and PowerPoint presentations, completes online assignments, and receives feedback Monday – Friday and often on weekends. Once you have registered you receive a receipt immediately. Course materials (manual and PowerPoint presentations) are downloaded in the Edmodo online platform. The promotional rate for the online version is $199/person ($300 savings off the regular price).

10 Hour Health and Safety Orientation and Training

This workshop provides recommended health and safety research based training for educators serving children birth through age 12 years. Participants will gain a broad overview of the National Health and Safety Standards which promote the well being of children in educational environments; injury prevention, exclusion guidelines for common childhood illnesses (i.e. asthma and allergies) and infectious diseases including COVID-19, MRSA and the H1N1 virus (swine flu), and guidelines for identifying risk factors and clues which indicate child maltreatment, prevention strategies and reporting procedures.  All early education staff with direct care responsibilities must complete 10 State-approved hours of Health & Safety Orientation training plus CPR & First aid training, within the first 90 days of employment.

You’re invited to our professional learning community!​ Welcome to an adventure! Join us in discovering best practices that will enhance your students’ holistic development, achievement, and motivation as we achieve ACSI accreditation. Our PLC has the following attributes:​

Amazing early educators and administrators​

Who meet monthly​

Who work collaboratively to reflect on practice​

And works between meetings​

To accomplish shared goals. (increase teacher knowledge, understanding and skill in bible integration and differentiated instruction.)​

To increase student motivation and achievement as a result​

To assemble a curriculum guide for accreditation​

For more information, please see Dr. Penn or ​

contact her at (678) 557-8684.​

See you on…October 9, 8 a.m.​

What professional development participants are saying...

"Althea is meticulous, thorough, interesting and fun all at the same time. Her research is of great value. Time is well spent in her presence. She thought of every detail needed for our new business. We're now in our fourth year and going strong. We thank Althea for all that she has done and continues to do. We're blessed to know her as you will be also. I highly recommend her."

Gayla Scott Owner/Director of Academy of Golden Rules

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