Southern Utah University Head Start (SUU HS) is located in Cedar City, Utah and supports 21 classrooms across a large geographic area. It is funded through Head Start and managed through Southern Utah University.
SUU Head Start’s CLASS roots go all the way back to 2007 (prior to Head Start’s adoption of the measure). The program has always used CLASS as a professional development tool—conducting observations and using scores to identify training and PD needs. Recognizing this as a strong approach, SUU HS recently decided to go deeper in their CLASS implementation to achieve a more formalized and consistent professional development program.
I lived in rural Japan for three years. While there, I became very accustomed to ordering the same types of entrees at restaurants due to my limited ability to read menus and my unwillingness to eat foods outside my comfort zone. So imagine how overwhelmed I felt when I returned to the States and had to decide on one entree amid pages and pages and pages of delicious options. It took a few weeks to learn how to navigate my way through these endless options without wanting to close my eyes and blindly point while ordering my meals.
Recently, I wrote about research showing us just how few children experience even “good enough” teaching from kindergarten to third grade. Only 4% of children in rural areas of North Carolina and Pennsylvania had access to good enough teaching during these critical early years and over 50% only experienced good enough teaching for 1 year or less.
As I entered my 15th year of teaching young children and supporting adult learners, I found myself searching for answers. Answers to why CLASS implementation was so difficult, why teacher buy-in was such a challenge, and why long-term improvement seemed impossible. In my role as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, I’m constantly checking the data. Data drives instruction, instruction drives learning, learning drives comprehension, and comprehension equals success!