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Teachstone Blog

Sarah Hadden

Sarah Hadden, Senior Advisor, Training and Professional Development | Sarah is an educator with 30 years of experience in the field. She has been a classroom teacher, a researcher, and a teacher educator. Prior to joining Teachstone, Sarah worked on the development and implementation of the first CLASS-based professional development programs (MyTeaching Partner and the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education) at the Center for Advanced Studies on Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia. Sarah conducts Pre-K & K-3 Intro and Observation trainings, Pre-K & K-3 Train the Trainer Programs, and Feedback Strategies and Instructional Support Strategy trainings. Sarah lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has conducted CLASS trainings in 28 states (including Alaska and Hawaii) and 4 continents! When she isn’t working, she often has her nose in a book.

Recent Posts

Vlog: Regard for Child Perspectives in Toddlers

17 Aug 2017

Mary Margaret-Gardiner and Sarah Hadden discuss the Toddler CLASS dimension Regard for Child Perspectives. You'll learn why there isn't a student expression indicator and the importance of non-verbal choices. Before you watch, check out their previous vlog, Regard for Student Perspectives in Pre-K, and think about the differences between these two dimensions.

Topics: Toddler, Tips and Tools Read More

What 150 Peer Review Studies Have to Say about CLASS

10 Apr 2017

If you’ve ever attended a CLASS Observation Training, you’ve heard the trainer state that the CLASS is a valid tool for measuring the efficacy to teacher-child interactions: that classroom quality, as measured by the CLASS, predicts positive developmental and academic outcomes for children (predictive validity). Specifically, children who attend classrooms with higher CLASS scores demonstrate better social and academic outcomes than their peers in classrooms that were not rated as highly.

Topics: Research Read More

CLASS: Over a Decade of Research Confirming Improved Outcomes

07 Nov 2016


The Research Origins of CLASS

Research leading to the current version of the CLASS tool began in 1991 as a part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, which examined the influence of early environments and classroom processes on the development of children from a variety of family backgrounds. Study findings clearly indicated that classroom processes impact student outcomes (NICHD EECRN, 2002; Pianta et al., 2005).

With this knowledge, the research team further refined the initial observational tool (the Classroom Observation System: COS) for use in the National Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL) study. This large-scale study examined the quality of publicly funded preschool programs to learn how variations in quality impacted children’s academic and social outcomes.

Topics: Research Read More

An Exception to CLASS Scoring in Productivity

31 Oct 2016

I recently heard from a trainee who had attended two different Observation Trainings and heard conflicting information related to scoring the indicator of transitions under Productivity. His first trainer stated that, if a transition does not take place during an observation cycle, then the indicator should be disregarded. The second trainer indicated that if a transition is not observed that the indicator should be scored in the low range. So, which is correct?

Topics: Pre-K, Observation Training Read More

How Do You Code Teacher Sensitivity if You Don’t See Any Problems?

20 Oct 2016

We recently received an email from an observer who had just completed his K-3 recertification and had some difficulty with Teacher Sensitivity. He stated that he was uncertain how to code the indicator of Addresses Proble­­ms if the students do not appear to have difficulties. He wondered if he needed to be more attentive to minor signs of awareness and responsiveness. If you've ever wondered that yourself or have had a trainee ask you that question, read on to see our response. 

Topics: K-3, Pre-K, Observation Training Read More

Top 6 Challenges in Implementing CLASS PD– Establishing Teacher Buy-In

29 Sep 2016

At our recent 2016 InterAct CLASS Summit, we asked a group of educators to share their biggest difficulties in implementing professional development within their organizations. Despite the group’s diverse backgrounds, they reported similar challenges:

  • Buy-in
  • Uneven teacher skill sets
  • Planning and logistics
  • Time
  • Sustainability
  • Costs

We're excited to introduce the next post in our four-post series discussing strategies to help with these common challenges. 

Topics: Professional Development, Implementation, Leadership and Policy Read More

Building Relationships with Pre-K Students at the Start of a School Year

07 Sep 2016

I am not a big fan of summer in Virginia. It is too long and it’s too hot. However, there is the part of me that looks forward to the end of the school year because it means that there aren’t as many cars or school buses on the road. And parking downtown where I work is much easier. 

Topics: Teacher Tips, Pre-K Read More

Meet One of the Youngest CLASS Observers

23 Jun 2016

During one of Teachstone’s regional trainings, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had a father-daughter team in my training; the mother was also in attendence but in a different session. I know they say that the family that prays together stays together, but perhaps it’s also true that families who code together stay together! 

Meet Samantha St. Clair, probably the youngest certified CLASS observer I know.

Topics: Reliability & Certification, Just for Fun, Observation Training Read More

CLASS Coding: Don't Play the Numbers Game!

18 Jan 2016

At some point in every training, someone invariably looks up and says, “So, if I want to be reliable, all I need to do is never score a 1 or a 7, right?” 


Topics: Observation Training Read More

Improving Instructional Support Strategies at the Water Table—and Beyond!

13 Jan 2016

Our video bloggers are back to continue their discussion about Instructional Support (did you catch the first video?). This time, Sarah and Mary-Margaret drill down into a common classroom activity—children playing at a water table—to discuss some of the many learning moments that can take place with a teacher's facilitation.

Topics: Teacher Tips, Coach Tips, CLASS FAQs Read More

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