NAEYC accreditation reaffirms Picatinny Arsenal’s commitment to youth educational programs

By Eric KowalOctober 13, 2023

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J - Employees of Picatinny Arsenal Child and Youth Services celebrate the accreditation of two Child Development Centers by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Pictured with staff members are Fortunato Rubio Jr. (far left blue jacket), Picatinny Arsenal Deputy garrison commander; Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Franks, Picatinny Arsenal garrison command sergeant major: Lt. Col. Alexander D. Burgos, Picatinny Arsenal garrison commander: Andrew Ciccolella (center floor gray shirt), Director, Picatinny Arsenal Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and Brig. Gen. John T. Reim (in uniform far right), Picatinny Arsenal commanding general.
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J - Employees of Picatinny Arsenal Child and Youth Services celebrate the accreditation of two Child Development Centers by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Pictured with staff members are Fortunato Rubio Jr. (far left blue jacket), Picatinny Arsenal Deputy garrison commander; Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Franks, Picatinny Arsenal garrison command sergeant major: Lt. Col. Alexander D. Burgos, Picatinny Arsenal garrison commander: Andrew Ciccolella (center floor gray shirt), Director, Picatinny Arsenal Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and Brig. Gen. John T. Reim (in uniform far right), Picatinny Arsenal commanding general. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Todd Mozes) VIEW ORIGINAL

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recently awarded accreditation to two of Picatinny Arsenal’s Child Development Centers (CDC), signifying that the installation's youth educational programs meet nationally defined standards of quality.

Academic accreditation is an external quality review conducted by a team of experts.  The NAEYC accreditation process is mandatory in U.S. Army Child and Youth Services (CYS) to ensure a commitment to high-quality standards.

“Achieving accreditation solidifies the hard work, attention to detail, and professionalism that the CYS staff demonstrate on a daily basis,” said Fortunato Rubio, who was recently appointed as Picatinny Arsenal’s Deputy Garrison Commander. “The staff have difficult jobs, and I am very proud of the entire team, and I know that they will continue to improve the care and service to Team Picatinny.”

The Picatinny CYS provides programs and services for children of eligible military and civilian families.

The NAEYC Accreditation assesses programs in 10 key areas such as promoting child learning and development, building family-partnerships, promoting physical health, managing staff professionally and more.

"The process is rigorous and typically takes about 18 months to prepare for," said Morgan Alger, one of the CYS Facility Directors at Picatinny.

The NAEYC assessment team conducted a two-day site visit in July, then sent notice of their satisfactory assessment on Sept. 19.

To achieve NAEYC Early Learning Program Accreditation, a program must meet the following requirements: 100 percent of applicable required assessment items, 80 percent pass rate for the program overall, 70 percent pass rate in each assessed class, and a 60 percent pass rate in each standard.

The assessed Picatinny CDCs received scores of more than 90 percent in each of the 10 assessed areas, including a perfect 100 percent on child progress.

The Overall Pass Rate is 93.33 percent (compared to 76.85 percent last year). All program scores increased, with the most significant improvement in Leadership and Management, scoring 90% (compared to 43 percent last year).

“I’m incredibly proud of Morgan Alger, who led this effort, and the entire team of care givers that not only prepared for this evaluation, but consistently deliver such a high quality of care for our children each day,” said Jessica Crespo, Picatinny Arsenal CYS Coordinator.

The Picatinny CDC accreditation will remain active for the next five years and is subject to unannounced visits from the accreditation evaluation team at any time.

“This accreditation validates that our staff are delivering child development programs that are of a high quality, which is the foundation children’s future success. Parents can be comforted in knowing through this evaluation that their child’s early development within the Picatinny CYS program is of superior quality,” said Andrew Ciccolella, Director, Picatinny Arsenal Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Along with the accreditation, the Picatinny CDC’s also passed the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s Army Higher Headquarters Inspection (AHHI) team inspection.

The AHHI inspection process incorporates five inspections throughout the year. Four of those inspections are completed by a Multi-Disciplinary Inspection team made up of local inspectors to include Fire, Safety, Army Public Health, Environmental Health, and Garrison Leadership. The results of that inspection are uploaded into a system that the AHHI team can access.

The yearly DoD certification is mandatory for youth educational programs to operate. If a program isn’t in full compliance with requirements outlined in DODIs 6060.2 and 6060.4, it is placed on a Performance Improvement Plan. If they fail to improve, the facility is closed.

As a result of these significant accomplishments, several Picatinny CYS employees were recognized with a star-note letter from Picatinny Arsenal Commanding General, Brig. Gen. John T. Reim.