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.
It seems that every time I sit down to write a blog post I am traveling via plane, train, or automobile to a conference. Today I am headed to National Harbor, Maryland for the QRIS National Meeting to join 850 state and national leaders to discuss moving the QRIS conversation from compliance to continuous quality improvement. My journey (literally and figuratively) started with a cup of coffee and Debi Mathias’ Build blog post BUILDing Strong Foundations. In the post, Debi highlights the message that my colleagues at Teachstone and I push forward everyday—to truly move the needle on quality and impact the future for ALL of our country’s youngest children, we must move beyond simply checking a box noting compliance and change practices through an embedded, ongoing, quality improvement process. The CLASS system is an integral part of this process. By linking observations with professional development, programs can move the needle on quality.
As the Production Specialist on Teachstone’s Content Innovation Team, one of my job responsibilities is to decide how we use the classroom footage we film throughout the country in our online programs and observer certification testing. I’ve been certified on Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K for awhile, since most of Teachstone’s current products are aimed at birth-to-five users.
We all know that Concept Development captures how teachers promote children’s higher-order thinking skills. We can define the indicators and give examples of the behavioral markers. We can identify when teachers are using types of interactions. We can even help teachers take an engaging lesson plan and find some ways to incorporate effective Concept Development into the activity.
When we were in Chicago in July, 2015, we caught up with Vanessa Rich, the President of the National Head Start Association and the Deputy Commissioner, Family & Support Services for the City of Chicago. I had the opportunity to ask her about how she leverages data to make decisions about professional development for teachers. Vanessa believes that in Chicago, and across Head Start, reflection is the most important link between data and improvement efforts.
As part of the recent federal Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership grant initiative, Early Learning Ventures (ELV) was awarded an annual grant of $3.1 million to serve 240 children and families in Arapahoe, Garfield, Mesa, and Pueblo counties in Colorado. ELV will combine the comprehensive nature of Early Head Start services with our shared services model, which uses networks of independent child care centers and family child care providers to promote business efficiencies and quality among small providers in each community. Approximately 30–40 licensed child care centers and family child care homes (approximately 60–70 classrooms) will participate in this innovative model to increase program quality as well as school readiness for all children and families. With the idea that school readiness is a shared responsibility and that quality improvement is much broader than what occurs in the classroom or by any one individual, the ELV Partnership model affords an equitable distribution of resources for participating child care providers. The ELV Partnership model supports programs in five areas that are key to program quality:
What’s so great about being a preschool teacher? A lot, actually. Working with kids can be an enormously rich, rewarding experience, one that’s regularly sprinkled with “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!” moments.
Like the moment a child hands you a picture they’ve drawn for you of you.
Like the moment a child’s face lights up when you start singing their favorite song.
Like that moment when you’ve engaged all the kids in an activity that brings glee (sheer glee!) into the classroom.
Several times in the past few years, I’ve had conversations with colleagues about teachers at the high end of the CLASS scale. It’s very rare to see a teacher score in the high range across multiple domains, and especially in Instructional Support. It’s a bit more common to see a teacher who gets 6s and 7s in Emotional Support and Classroom Organization, but low/mid or mid-range scores in Instructional Support.
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.
Infants are completely dependant on adults for their survival and development. That's why it is important to start CLASS observations even in classrooms with the youngest children. Learn about the four specific dimensions that make up infant-caregiver interactions, and how to improve these interactions in our new online program, Learn About Infant CLASS Dimensions.