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2013 was such a fantastic year, it’s hard to imagine that 2014 could beat it. But looking at what's planned for the year ahead, I’m pretty sure ’14 is gonna give ’13 a run for the money.

In the spirit of the new year—and because today just so happens to be the 14th—here’s a rundown of 14 things I’m looking forward to in 2014!

14. We just released our newest white paper, “Using the CLASS™ Measure in Family Child Care Homes.” In addition to offering a great overview of the FCC landscape and how providers can best leverage the CLASS system, CLASS trainer, Mary-Margaret Gardiner will be doing a series of blog posts on this topic; the first can be found here.

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13. This week marks the first of our 2014 regional trainings! We’re kicking off the season in Orlando, and we have trainings scheduled across the country. Orlando is particularly exciting because we’re launching our first regional Making the Most of Classroom Interactions training; next one is in May in C-ville!

12. As Rebecca Berlin blogged about yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education recently released its third round of Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants. The winners include Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. I am particularly excited about New Jersey’s plans to develop a PD training academy and Vermont’s proposal to include CLASS into QRIS while also focusing on K-3 to prevent the fade out of impact. Congratulations to all of the winners!

11. We’re close (think February or March) to putting out a one-day training for coaches, directors, and T&TAs on giving CLASS-based feedback to teachers. There’s so much to share on this topic—we’ve already been blogging about a number of these issues, here, here, and here—so be sure to stay up to date on this new training by submitting this form.

10. We are planning to go to over 30 conferences this year. (Yes, 30!) We’ll have presentations at almost all of these, and we’re planning to have booths at the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference, NAEYC, NHSA, and a few others. Next up: Sedra and Mary-Margaret are headed to Williamsburg, VA, for SECA. Let us know what conferences you plan to attend!

 

Brad Groff Brad Groff, CEO

9. As you might have noticed in our newsfeed, on January 1 Brad Groff officially became Teachstone’s Chief Executive Officer. Brad served as interim CEO for a year, helping Teachstone refine its vision for early childhood and further improve its products and programs. I am thrilled to have him officially take the reins and lead us into the year ahead.

8. My own very personal excitement: on April 6th, my husband and I are expecting a baby boy! Rock Rogoff (his name until he emerges into the world) is our first child, so we have all the typical first-time parent jitters and anticipation. I do feel fortunate to have my Teachstone background to guide me, as I know that many of the CLASS principles are applicable for parents and children as well.

7. Late last year, we released Instructional Support Strategies, a one-day, face-to-face training that provides a springboard for early childhood leaders helping teachers improve the effectiveness of their interactions with children. The response was overwhelming, so we’re developing an online version of the training with the first course releasing in March.

6. With the new year comes a new webinar series. This time, we’ve set up a leadership series to help your organization improve teacher-child interactions. We’ve released information and registration for the first three webinars. And if you missed last year’s series, be sure to check out our on-demand recordings.

CASTL logo5. The Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) at UVA's Curry School of Education—where the CLASS system was born—continues to put out thought-provoking research. Some specifics to keep your eye on:

4. After much research and an in-depth pilot, Teachstone will release the Infant CLASS tool with Observation training, certification, and Dimensions Guides in April. Soon after, we’ll also have a combined infant/toddler online Introduction to the CLASS Tool and Video Library Companion. Stay in the know by signing up here.

3. The time has finally come: we are revamping our website, blog, and store! My goal is to make the site more user-friendly and provide more engaging and valuable content to each of you. I’m hoping to have this done in April (I have a particular stake in getting this done by then; see #8).

2. We are renewing our partnership with the nhsaNational Head Start Association, to further support the Head Start community. We have lots of events in the works for NHSA’s members, and are looking forward to a variety of presentations at the NHSA Annual Conference in April. Let us know what suggestions you have, and learn more about our work with Head Start.

1. Most important, I am looking forward to interacting with all of you. The work you’re doing in your classrooms, regions, states, federally, and even internationally to improve the quality of early childhood education is what keeps me motivated. I can’t wait to hear from you, learn more about your work, and support you on your journey to improve teacher-child interactions.

Here's to 2014!