The Step Up to Quality team is an incredible resource for child care providers going through the five Steps – and they can also connect providers with other early childhood education resources. As a part of the State of Nebraska Department of Education’s Office of Early Childhood, the Step Up to Quality team works closely with their colleagues within the government, and with partner agencies across the state.
To help providers get to know the people behind Step Up to Quality better, we’re featuring each of the team members and their role. First up is Morgan Krull!
As the person who processes the applications for Step 1, Program Coordinator Morgan Krull is often the first person child care providers connect with from the Step Up to Quality team.
Her role encompasses a lot more, though. She also handles the documentation for Step 2, as well as the Rating Readiness Tools for Steps 3-5. She manages the incentive bonuses and sends out reports when ratings are finalized.
“I communicate with programs to let them know what to expect throughout the rating process,” she said.
Morgan said she spends a lot of her day responding to emails – but she appreciates being that central place for questions. And a lot of times those emails make her day.
“I love it when I’ve been communicating with providers, and they email me when they’ve accomplished a goal. I want them to know we’re cheering them on every step of the way,” she said.
While Morgan’s background isn’t in early childhood education, she sees herself more as a resource on the technical side of the process versus the programming side of the process. If she can’t answer a question, she knows who to ask.
“Each of us on the team has our areas of expertise, and we all come together to focus on our main goal, which is to help our providers continuously improve the quality of their care,” she said.
She has become more passionate about the importance of high quality early childhood education, and appreciates how the Step Up to Quality team believes in “learning through play” for themselves, too.
“We have a lot of fun together,” she said.
Morgan wants every child care provider to know that the entire Step Up to Quality team celebrates every step in the process, starting with the first.
“When programs start their journey with Step Up to Quality, we celebrate that,” she said. “And if their goal is to reach Step 2, that’s great! We will cheer them on as far as they want to go.”
Seeing the growth and impact the Step Up to Quality program has had on young children in Nebraska has been rewarding to her, she said.
“Early childhood education is such an important area, and I love that I get to be a part of that,” Morgan said.
She remembers her own teachers as being an influential part of her life. Morgan was an only child who was able to be with family during her first few years. When she first attended child care, she wasn’t used to being around lots of other children.
“I remember how the teachers took me under their wing. They made me feel welcome and comfortable in a new setting,” she said. “They showed me a lot of kindness and I remember that so many years later.”
Morgan said her teachers instilled a lifelong love of learning and showed her that learning can be fun. To this day, Morgan is an avid reader and loves learning new things.
“Knowing that your teachers care about you is important,” she said. “In those early years, your brain is wide open and you carry those interactions with you for the rest of your life.”