Teachstone continues to fulfill the important role of supporting Spanish-speaking partners who implement CLASS in their programs and communities. In an effort to strengthen our reach to this key base, Teachstone recently hosted a regional conference in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The regional conference offered several CLASS trainings in Spanish as well as translation services for English trainings. Trainings were held from November 4–8 at the headquarters and facilities of Camera Mundi Inc. Camera Mundi is the largest and most comprehensive provider of products, equipment, materials, and services to the educational sector in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
One of the highlights from this weeklong event included a Head Start forum, where Camera Mundi General Manager Jorge G. Díaz Rivera formally announced his organization’s partnership with Teachstone. Mr. Rivera expressed an enthusiasm for the collaboration.
Many local community members and leaders in the field of education attended the forum, which included an overview of Teachstone’s most recently translated products and services. Senior International Advisor Lorena Sernett highlighted Teachstone’s latest efforts in providing CLASS trainings, products, and services in Spanish. Bilingual Community Specialist Richard Aguilar also provided information on several new supports available to Spanish community members, including La Comunidad de CLASS, a Facebook page dedicated to Spanish-speaking educators.
Over 100 participants attended trainings during the week, most from local Head Start programs, but also a few from Colombia and the US mainland. Teachstone offered Spanish Pre-K and Infant-Toddler Observation Training, A CLASS Primer for Teachers in Spanish (Fundamentos de CLASS para maestros), and Train-the-Trainer for the Pre-K age level.
Overall, turnout for the regional conference in Puerto Rico was robust, and participants were eager to enhance their understanding of the CLASS tool. Teachstone looks forward to the collaborative mission alongside Camera Mundi—and is proud to play its role in advancing the education of children in Puerto Rico and throughout the world.
Across the country and around the globe, schools/programs will soon reopen after extended closures due to COVID-19. Those that have remained open are instituting new health and safety practices.. Localities will determine whether to provide in-person, online, or hybrid teaching. Regardless of the model that schools/programs adopt, classrooms will look different now and for the foreseeable future.
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
As the former Vice President of Education and Program Operations, as well as the Head Start/Early Head Start Program Director, of a large Chicago Agency, I am often asked the question, “How did you get your CLASS scores to rise so much?” Our Pre-K Instructional Support scores rose from a 2.65 to a 3.74 the first year, and from a 3.74 to a 4.17 the second year. It wasn’t an easy process. And it was up to us to show our teachers the importance of teacher-student interactions and slowly introduce how CLASS scores could be used to improve these interactions.
Below are three steps we took to introduce the importance of CLASS and interactions to our teachers and, ultimately, raise our CLASS scores.