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CDC, SAC staff earn NAEYC accreditation, recognition

Schriever Child Development Center and School Age Care program staff gather following a recognition dinner in their honor at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. The Parents Advisory Board sponsored the dinner to both recognize the hard work the staff put in during their National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation period and as a way to show appreciation for the work they do on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Schriever Child Development Center and School Age Care program staff gather following a recognition dinner in their honor at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. The Parents Advisory Board sponsored the dinner to both recognize the hard work the staff put in during their National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation period and as a way to show appreciation for the work they do on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Following a rigorous process in which the Schriever Child Development Center and School Age Care programs earned National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation, the staff were able to exchange their scrub tops for something a little more elegant during a recognition dinner here Oct. 14.

“This is more significant than what we typically do,” said Natalie McCoy, Parent Advisory Board. “They got to dress up, the decorations and party favors were meant to show our appreciation.”

The accreditation process is similar to the unit effectiveness inspection the wing recently had, though non-compliance with one of the 350 criteria per age group would cause the program to lose accreditation.

“The program must be in full compliance with all the required criteria at all times,” said Jessica Parks, CDC director. “Something as simple as losing line of sight of a child in the classroom would cause us to lose our accreditation.”

The criteria are divided into 10 program standards. The CDC/SAC scored 100 percent in seven of the 10 standards and over 80 percent in the remaining three.

“They crushed it, and they did it with less staff and having to work overtime,” McCoy said. “Our goal was to remind them that they’re appreciated.”

The dinner, sponsored by the PAB, was meant not only to recognize the accreditation, but to also show the PAB’s appreciation for the staff.

It certainly didn’t take long for the staff to be reminded the dinner was all about them.

“I’m going to break with tradition a bit because, typically, we introduce our distinguished guests first,” said Mary Barkley, 50th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Services flight chief. “Tonight we’re going to honor you first.”

The remarks were met with loud applause from the PAB volunteers and 50 FSS leadership in attendance. Following the meal, during which photos of staff with CDC/SAC children were displayed on the monitors in the Building 210 atrium, Lt. Col. Merrell Mobley, 50 FSS commander, expressed his appreciation as well.

“We’re here to celebrate you and it’s well-deserved,” he said. “My litmus test for a successful program is seeing how quickly my kids want to leave. Without fail, every day they tell me they want to stay. You all do a wonderful job. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

The words clearly made an impression on the staff as several were wiping tears during the speeches.

“This was so sweet of them,” said Brandi Tenhaeff, CDC staff member. “It actually made me tear up a little.”

“This dinner meant a lot to the staff,” Parks said. “They have an extremely hard and stressful job and I know this made them feel appreciated more than words can express. These ladies and gentlemen are truly the unsung heroes of the base and deserve the recognition for their hard work and dedication, not only to the program, but to all the children and families they support day in and day out.”

The PAB periodically provides lunches or snacks for the staff at the CDC building to show appreciation, but McCoy said the PAB wanted to do something more special for this occasion.

“Lunch is something you share with friends and co-workers. Dinner is something you share with family, and this is a family,” she said. “The PAB’s goal was to take care of them for once since they always put our children first.”

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