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.
Charlottesville, VA – Teachstone®, a leader in the field of quality early childhood education, announced that Dr. Jennifer Park has joined the company as the Director of Applied Research and Public Policy. In this role, Park will lead collaborations in research and evaluation, and will design and drive all public policy initiatives.
Last week at the National Head Start (NHSA) Annual Conference in Washington, DC, we were honored to recognize the winners of the 2015 NHSA-Teachstone Scholarship Awards. These NHSA members embody the spirit of our work at Teachstone, where we recognize the parallel process centered on supporting teachers in their most critical role in the classroom: educating and nurturing the youngest members of the next generation.
By training, I’m an accountant. Or as some on my staff say, “a bean counter.” I like to know what things are going to cost, I need to know that we can pay for them, and of course, I want to know that we are getting a strong return on our investment (a.k.a. ROI).
As a former teacher, coach and Center Director, I remember hearing about new types of professional development and other materials across the early childhood field. I wanted to try everything! But budgets and time are limited, and I always felt like I was missing out on the good stuff.
“Of course!” That was the reaction of many in the field of early childhood when the Head Start Reauthorization of 2007 (Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act) highlighted a critical component of high quality early childhood education by requiring the federal Office of Head Start (OHS) to include a reliable and valid way of observing and measuring teacher-child interactions in its program monitoring. Early childhood educators know, first-hand, how the individual, minute interactions between a teacher and child can serve as the foundation for strong relationships that have the power to change the lives of children at-risk of a host of lifelong challenges caused by poverty.
Three weeks into 2015 and I’ve made some headway on my personal new year’s resolutions. I’ve been planning out my meals and grocery shopping on Sunday to make weeknights a little bit easier and a lot healthier. I’ve tried to be less critical of my husband’s household contributions (really I have!). And I’ve managed to make it to the gym even when traveling. With my personal confidence bolstered, I’m ready to share my Teachstone resolutions with the world, hoping that you’ll keep me accountable and maybe even share some of your own resolutions. So here goes …