As a former teacher, teacher leader, and teacher educator, I understand at my core the tremendous impact that a high-quality teacher can have on the lives of children and their families. But, I also know the deep feelings of frustration we often feel as teachers and leaders when we just cannot figure out to connect with, how to motivate, how to engage with those children within our classrooms that we are desperately trying to reach but just fail to figure out.
One of my first teaching jobs was in a Head Start program in central Virginia. I was focused on including children with language delays, behavioral needs, and autism into our rural program. I remember always feeling that there were not enough hours in the day to ensure the teachers, teaching assistants, family service workers, and even bus drivers had the professional development and support they needed to feel confident in meeting the diverse learning needs of the children in our classrooms.
I would try to fit in quick trainings before school and during in-service days—when the school system was nice enough to excuse us from the mandatory Word Study for Middle Schoolers training—but those one-stop trainings did not have impact that I wanted due to a lack of: time, intensity, follow up, and coaching for the teachers.
At Teachstone, we believe that to truly change lives, programs must establish and implement systematic professional development programs including providing research-based, intensive coaching. We are so excited to see this intensive professional development called out in the new Head Start Performance Standards and look forward to working with the field to ensure effective coaching becomes the new reality in all Head Start programs to truly support teachers in meeting the learning needs of all children.
We know that by providing a targeted professional development program for teachers and teaching assistants together (that includes training sessions, ongoing, intensive coaching sessions, and in-classroom support), that we could make a difference in the lives of children and families—all while reducing the stress level of teachers and increasing classroom quality at the same time.
To this end, Teachstone has reviewed the Head Start Performance Standards and has created an alignment of the professional development portions of the Standards and how we can help with the implementation.
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On Thursday, September 23, the Office of Head Start (OHS) announced it would not resume monitoring in January 2022 as it had previously stated. Dr. Bernadine Futrell, PhD, director of the Office of Head Start explained during a broadcast that, ”CLASS reviews will not be conducted during the fiscal year 2022 monitoring season...We are following the highest safety precautions possible as we enter in different programs to do the monitoring.”
From coast to coast and around the globe, there’s a common thread that unites teachers: wanting to be better for their students.
Even when things are tough in education, educators are striving to be their best. Their dedication to equitable, ongoing development is what inspires Teachstone’s work. It will take a systematic, data-driven approach to reach the day when all children are afforded excellent education and care. And, we are enthusiastic partners in getting to that goal.
Hey there, Teachstone community! My name is Stephanie Lewandowski, and I am the Senior Product Manager for myTeachstone. Before joining Teachstone, I built digital products for education companies, financial institutions, and government agencies. I’m passionate about delivering impactful products, particularly the tools that make the everyday work of teaching and learning a little bit easier. As a parent, and as a product manager, I know how invaluable early childhood education is, and I’m inspired by the teachers in both my personal and professional life.