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Teachstone Blog

Jennifer Park

Jennifer oversees Teachstone’s applied research and public policy program. She served as a preschool teacher, researcher, evaluator, school administrator, and consultant. She was the first research director for Teaching Strategies, Inc. In Florida’s Office of Early Learning, she was responsible for statewide quality improvement for the state’s CCDF program. She led an unprecedented $16 million effort to improve the state’s early learning program and developed a comprehensive plan targeting professional development, program assessment, child screening and assessment and the development of a statewide, integrated data system. She also led the development of the state’s first joint birth to age 5 standards for subsidized child care and the state’s Pre-K programs. Jennifer embraces the challenge of translating complex early learning concepts to diverse stakeholders and obtaining buy-in to execute complicated program plans to better serve children and professionals who care for them. She has served as a school administrator in independent and charter schools. Outside of work, Jennifer is a parent partner to her daughter’s and son’s teaching communities.

Favorite Teacher: Mrs. Patton, Algebra

Recent Posts

Did You Know the CLASS Isn’t Reliable? Why You Need Professional Development for Observers and Coaches

05 May 2016

Yes, you read that correctly. The CLASS isn’t reliable in scientific terms. But, it is valid: you can count on the CLASS to measure what is predictive of positive developmental and academic outcomes for children, and it has been validated through more than a hundred studies. In research terms, however, tools aren’t reliable on their own. People can be trained to sufficient reliability with successful completion of CLASS observation training and reliability testing. To maintain high levels of reliability, it’s important to think about your own professional development plan to maintain the skills you recently acquired.

Topics: Professional Development, Observation Training Read More

Prioritizing Quality in Early Learning: Does High Quality Come with Too-High A Price Tag?

24 Feb 2016

A recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), Examining Teacher Effectiveness Between Preschool and Third Grade, examined inequities between children from poor and higher income families on key features of programs, but may have inadvertently confounded the field’s understanding of the forms of program quality that are structural in nature (e.g., teacher credentials) and those that reflect the actual classroom processes (e.g., teacher-student interactions) that more directly contribute to student learning. The CAP report argues that because process measures require a substantial amount of human capital to administer, this may outweigh the value of their use at scale.

Topics: Research, Leadership and Policy Read More

Quality: When You Measure, Measure the Right Things

12 Oct 2015

The commentary on the TNVPK evaluation continues. Study authors Farran and Lipsey wrote a pushback piece addressing critics’ claims that the study findings are due to the poor quality of TNVPK programs. They also laud the TNVPK program as being among the nation’s highest quality models. Now we’re on my favorite topic: quality.

Topics: Research, Pre-K, Leadership and Policy Read More

Does Pre-K Work? Why Measuring Quality Across Years Matters

06 Oct 2015

Preschool programs have been shown by numerous studies to be effective in increasing children’s social and academic achievement by kindergarten entry, so why do we continue to question the value and worthiness of these investments in critical early learning experiences, particularly for more disadvantaged children? Similarly, why would we want to think of preschool as an inoculation? Do we really think we can dose a vulnerable four-year old with nine months of decent early education and voilà they read like the kids from the fast lane?  It’s like we think pre-k “pours in” skills to the container that is a four-year old, and those skills are permanently there, they won’t leak out. We treat this as if the years before preschool and then again the years between preschool and third grade don’t matter.  

Topics: Pre-K, Leadership and Policy Read More

A Tale of Two Coaches

26 Aug 2015

The US Women’s Soccer Team coverage brought me back to my own experiences as an athlete in my youth. As I mentioned in my previous blog, it made me think about how the adoption of Title IX in 1972 created opportunities for me and other girls. This mandate created opportunity and changed lives.

Topics: Coach Tips Read More

Using Mandates to Drive Change on the Soccer Field and in the Classroom

16 Jul 2015

Congratulations to the USA Women’s Soccer Team! What an amazing accomplishment to be the best in the world. In listening to commentary on NPR, I heard a clip of a little girl saying that she wants to win the world cup when she grows up. I couldn’t help but think about how unlikely it would have been for the US Women’s team to be world champions absent the passage of the Title IX mandate.

Topics: Leadership and Policy Read More

Why Early Childhood Research and Policy Matters (and My Next Steps)

29 Jun 2015
Hey there! I'm Jennifer, the new Director of Applied Research and Public Policy at Teachstone. I am so excited to join this group of innovative, action-oriented thinkers. While I'm new to Teachstone, I am not new to early childhood education. I first came to this field as a toddler teacher in Florida and have great memories of catching frogs with children on the playground and having wonderful conversations during rain storms. My time as a teacher was invaluable in preparing me for each of my other experiences in this field. 
Topics: Announcements Read More

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