Greetings! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog more than last year. While I’m not the most prolific, when I do post, please know it comes from the heart. And, there’s nothing I’m more passionate about than Head Start and its mission to support young children and families through a program of comprehensive services that can move mountains for our most vulnerable young children.
When I was a National Head Start Fellow, I got to know the then staff serving at the Head Start Bureau (now the Office of Head Start, or OHS) in DC. I found out OHS was filled with dedicated child advocates who shared my lifelong passion to ensure all young children have the opportunities to thrive and succeed in this wonderful yet challenging world. It's a world that is undeniably more challenging for some more than others, especially young children starting life in poverty. While the staff may have changed a bit, the commitment from OHS to give young children the best “head start” in life continues.
We applaud OHS for its recent request for information, proposing changes and asking for feedback and fresh ideas on how to redesign and strengthen the Designation Renewal System (DRS) to improve transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness. I’m pleased to share our comments (attached) submitted to OHS on the proposed changes to the use of CLASS in Head Start monitoring and in the DRS.
Some key recommendations in our comments:
Please review our comments and share your thoughts/questions with me. I look forward to hearing from you.
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.
When my first child was born, I was 30. I was also married, had a master’s degree, and taught in a district that paid pretty well. During my pregnancy, I learned what to look for in high-quality child care and I thought I knew how to find it. What I didn’t know was that even though my husband and I both worked, we couldn’t afford quality child care.
A year ago, urged on by my insightful new colleague, Manda Klein, who was born and raised in Texas, I wrote a blog entitled, At Our Core. It praised the bipartisan efforts to discontinue the practice of separating children from their parents and caregivers at our country’s borders.