If you missed our webinar, “What is Data-Driven Professional Development and Why Does It Work”, you can watch the full recording here. Rebecca Berlin, Scott Siegfried, and Padma Rajan covered how they use data to improve child outcomes.
It’s (relatively) easy to collect observation and assessment data. But data isn’t enough. You have to learn what data is fundamental for improvement, and how to create meaningful reports around that data.
Take the work Scott Siegfried is doing with Miami Valley Child Development Centers (MVCDC), for example. He's collected data on child assessment, mentoring programs, and even an end-of-the-year opportunity for staff to reflect on the PD process. By knowing what data is most important for reaching their goals, MVCDC has kept an eye on trends and targets, as well as created new outlets for professional development.
We all know that when coaches can leverage data, professional development works better.
In Duval County, Florida, Padma Rajan knows that what gets measured gets improved. CLASS-reliable coaches used observation data as a part of their mentoring process, and in turn, Instructional Support scores went from an average of 2.00 to 2.38.
With data in hand, coaches can create individualized PD plans; teachers can more easily reflect on their strengths and weaknesses to make informed changes; and administrators can have visibility across what is taking place in their organizations and lead more effectively.
The statistics around exclusionary discipline practices, like suspension or expulsion, are grim. Kids who get kicked out, especially repeatedly, are often already behind academically, become less engaged in school, and are monumentally more likely to drop out of high school. And while exclusionary discipline affects all students, it’s essential to keep in mind that children of color are suspended and expelled at rates disproportionate to their white peers.
We’ve written before about the discipline disparities between children of color and their white peers. (Since that post was published last year, the Department of Education has released updated - but not improved - statistics on the topic.) But discipline is not the only school arena where children from different backgrounds have different experiences. There’s also evidence that racial bias affects teachers’ academic and behavioral expectations, even in early childhood.
As I entered my 15th year of teaching young children and supporting adult learners, I found myself searching for answers. Answers to why CLASS implementation was so difficult, why teacher buy-in was such a challenge, and why long-term improvement seemed impossible. In my role as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, I’m constantly checking the data. Data drives instruction, instruction drives learning, learning drives comprehension, and comprehension equals success!
One of my biggest takeaways from the childcare calculator we talked about recently was how much it would cost to increase early childhood educators’ wages. It wasn’t shocking—if you’re looking to get some laughs, ask any teacher you know if they’re in education to make big money—but it was a disappointing reminder of just how little we pay those who are shaping our future. The recently-released 2018 Early Childhood Workforce Index gives us some specifics around compensation in early childhood education and care.