“How do I do CLASS in my program?”—that's a common question we get while talking to others about the CLASS tool. And while we always say, “You don’t do CLASS. You are CLASS!” we also want to answer that big question. So, to help explain the nuances to implementing CLASS, we are introducing a blog series—stories and interviews from school administrators who have successfully and effectively implemented CLASS.
Our first success story paints a picture of how the CLASS tool can be implemented in ways that fit unique settings. Lisa Luceno is the Director of Early Childhood at Briya Public Charter School in Washington DC. She is a passionate leader and had a lot to share about choosing CLASS, supporting teachers, and using CLASS in culturally diverse classrooms.
We’ve all been there—the spring semester is looming around the corner. Although you have the gist of the syllabus planned, the details still need to be worked out. Assignments need to be finalized and engaging classroom activities need to be developed.
Here are a few ideas that you might be able to adapt for your course.
So, your program is using the CLASS observation tool in pre-K classrooms. That’s wonderful! Here are a few things to think about as you consider transitioning to include use of the CLASS at the infant and toddler age levels as well.
The first thing to consider as you develop a CLASS observation plan for your organization is the purpose or goal of your observations. Are you more interested in teacher-level or program-level data? Will you be using the data you collect to inform professional development? What kinds of decisions will your data help you make? Knowing why you’re conducting CLASS observations and what you hope to accomplish will help you decide on plan specifics.
Our QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System) journey began in 2004 in a small office with just three staff. Just like many organizations, we contracted with a consultant to guide us in the implementation of our pilot QRS (Quality Rating System). We assembled quality indicators and requirements galore into eight domains, including ratios, screening and assessment, program operations, learning environment, curriculum, etc. Documents, documents, and more documents were reviewed to assign a star rating for a child care center.
Georgia DECAL is a bit of a hero around these parts. When we talk about states and programs that have successfully implemented CLASS, DECAL inevitably comes up. We talk about its thoughtful roll out of CLASS, how it ensured buy in from all parties, and more broadly, about the state’s leadership in early childhood education with the nation’s first state-funded universal pre-K program in 1995. DECAL’s Pre-K Professional Development Evaluation Report that came out earlier this year speaks to a lot of these incredible details.
At the QRIS National Meeting in July, I sat in on a session about the next generation of quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) and learned about how Arizona and two counties in Florida are shifting their thinking and plans to ensure continuous quality improvement.Having recently written a case study on Arizona, I reached out to Katie Romero again and had the opportunity to interview Katie and her colleague from First Things First, Leslie Totten, to learn more about the upcoming changes.Here’s the skinny:
The Randolph College Nursery School recently became the fourth program in Virginia to earn a top rating (5 stars) from the Virginia Star Quality Initiative, which is a pretty big accomplishment in itself. But in addition to being named a 5-star program, the nursery school also received a perfect score in the teacher-child interactions area of the evaluation—CLASS. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Holly Layne, the director of the program, to learn more about her, her awesome teachers, and how they did what they did.
Good news! All change has to start somewhere, and you can take positive steps no matter where you’re starting from. Take this (non-scientific) quiz to get thinking about where you are now and what your next steps might be toward improving teacher-child interactions at your organization.
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.