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What does Power to the Profession Mean to You?

10 Apr 2019 by Yvonne Godber

Power to the Profession!

Powerful words from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), right? NAEYC describes their initiative as: "a national collaboration to define the early childhood profession by establishing a unifying framework for career pathways, knowledge, and competencies, qualifications, standards, and compensation."

 

At Teachstone, we spend a lot of time thinking about what these words mean to us as an organization, and specifically to our mission of making sure every child has access to life-changing teachers. By supporting and empowering teachers, we work towards our goal of supporting and empowering children.

So we’re curious - what do you think about when you hear “Power to the Profession?” What should happen to make sure teachers are confident… valued…. skilled… rewarded? What matters most in the process of empowering life-changing teachers?  

One thing we know for sure matters is effective professional development for teachers. To understand the key ingredients of powerful PD, we turn to experts in the field, like Linda Darling-Hammond and colleagues at Standford and the Learning Policy Institute, who describe how effective PD includes:

  • Active, adult-focused learning.
  • Opportunities for collaboration, feedback, and reflection.
  • Use of evidence-based models (like MTP and MMCI!)
  • Sufficient duration and intensity of support.

These principles drive the development of all of our tools and methodologies at Teachstone. To support life-changing teachers, we do our best to make sure our materials are reliable, engaging, trustworthy, and grounded in best practices.

That’s step 1.

The next step is the incredibly difficult process of adapting tools and methods to unique contexts and stages of teacher development. We all know you can’t just plop a coaching model onto an existing system without a lot of careful thought about how to leverage and protect internal resources to make the model work. Planning matters. Context matters. And teacher stage of development matters - what works with teachers who have been in the field for years, won’t work as well for teachers who are brand new to the classroom.

Partners in Action

One partner we follow closely in this space is Deans for Impact, which is a group that is committed to bringing power to the newest professionals. Lead teacher preparation programs across the country collaborate to share and grow research-based tools and resources to ensure more teachers are consistently ready for the classroom on day 1. 

To achieve their mission that “every child deserves a well-prepared teacher,” Deans for Impact:

  • Brings together leaders at all levels of teacher preparation programs for leadership training and learning communities focused on practices that improve student learning. Check out and download their new resource, The Science of Early Learning, which summarizes the latest research on how children birth through age 8 develop a sense of agency, numeracy and literacy.
  • Creates Impact Networks comprised of representatives from teacher preparation programs to closely analyze data of related to current practices and teacher readiness to inform the development of targeted supports.
  • Lead a national effort called the Common Indicators System (CIS) Network to collect, use, and share tools (including CLASS), methods, and strategies that work in preparing future teachers.
  • Support teacher preparation programs to become stronger advocates for their field, by providing important outcome data, and encouraging states to adopt the Common Indicator System (CIS). 

 

InterAct CLASS Summit

This year’s InterAct theme in Nashville next week gets right at the heart of these core issues:

How do we together build, nurture, and sustain a talented workforce that has the power to make a difference in children’s lives?

A few of the related sessions we’re looking forward to exchanging ideas with you include:

  • Adam Kennedy (Loyola) - a guided apprenticeship with a tiered system of field-based supports for undergraduate teachers in training.
  • Gena Puckett (U of Mississippi) - a partnership helping teachers and assistant teachers work towards endorsements and certifications for licensure.
  • Mary Harrill (NAEYC) and Amy Cubbage (Teachstone) - a panel of teachers describe their professional journey, including preparation, ongoing development, and credentialing.

You’ll also get a chance to learn more about our new release, CDA Renewal with CLASS which is now open for enrollment! This is the only CDA program that is based on a CLASS lens, and focused on skills and strategies that boost interactions, the most critical component of teaching quality.

Can’t join us at Interact this year? We’ll miss you but know that this theme is going to carry through our work in many different ways via webinars, blogs, and other professional resources. The best way to contribute to this important - and ongoing - conversation is by joining the CLASS Learning Community. There you can connect, ask questions, access resources, attend events, and highlight your credentials. You’ll also find links to recordings of various sessions and keynotes held in Nashville. We look forward to interacting with you online!