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Since 2015, the UF Lastinger Center for Learning has collaborated with Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) to fulfill its mission of enhancing early care and education practices across the state.

Throughout the years of this partnership, the Lastinger Center’s role has evolved to best meet the needs of Georgia DECAL. Today, the Center’s Flamingo Early Learning specialists have grown to be a resource for the state’s professional development team, focusing on further expanding the team’s skill set. 

“The beauty of this project is in the way that Florida and Georgia have come together to realize we have more in common than not,” said Partnership Manager Raquel Diaz. “It’s been a beautiful partnership. They’ve helped us grow, and we’ve helped them develop their systems.”

By implementing Flamingo Early Learning program components, the Center builds Georgia’s professional development team’s capacity to coach educational leaders, facilitate professional learning communities (PLCs)* and develop leadership skills.

What is a PLC?

A professional learning community (PLC) is a group of people who come together to share their challenges or concerns about working with young children and their families and learn to improve their practices over time.

 Throughout the three areas of coaching, PLCs and leadership-building, Flamingo Early Learning specialists also provide technical assistance (TA). The Center’s TA support targets specific concerns voiced by participants, such as drafting agendas and revamping coaching systems, to create an individualized learning experience for DECAL leaders.

This personalized partnership allows Georgia DECAL leaders and education professionals to share their enhanced skill sets with hundreds of teachers throughout the state, creating lasting impacts that improve educational outcomes for thousands of students.

For more information about the Center’s work with Georgia, please contact Karen Molinario at

If interested in enhancing your state’s early learning leadership and education, please contact Raquel Diaz at

12 teachers accompanied by various program leaders and employees stand in the Lakeshore Learning store.