Recently, we spoke with Jane Franco, a Provider Specialist with the Sunshine Stars, a QRIS in Florida. Jane is a certified MMCI Instructor, with both toddler and Pre-K CLASS observer certifications under her belt. She currently coaches about 15 teachers through the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties; she is also facilitating two unique MMCI cohorts. Our interview is below!
Tell me a little about yourself and your background in Early Childhood.
I have been working specifically in the Early Childhood Education field for the past seven years. I assisted in starting up a preschool at the Charter School I had been working at for thirteen years and served in a director/supervisor role for just over five years. Over a year ago, I was contacted about an amazing opportunity to work with teachers in the preschool setting as a coach for a new Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) for Pasco and Hernando Counties in Florida (Sunshine Stars). I love going into the different schools and working with and encouraging teachers to be the best they can be for themselves and their students.
Tell me about your experience with MMCI and your journey in becoming certified.
My supervisor asked if I would be interested in training to deliver MMCI teacher training. I had been certified as a CLASS Observer for Toddler and Preschool, and was excited to gain a deeper understanding of each Domain and the Dimensions within. I was asked to take the training, along with our Coalition’s official trainer, Dawn. We work well together and both have a passion for the importance of being all in as a teacher, so we know how important this interaction piece of the teaching puzzle is. We are currently teaching two MMCI cohorts simultaneously as Provisional Instructors, and hope to become official instructors by April.
What are some of the challenges you faced facilitating MMCI and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge is getting some of the teachers to buy in to the importance of not only learning what the interactions are all about, but the importance of actually implementing what they learn into their classroom. Teachers come for the training after a long day at work, so I am always trying to think of ways to make them part of the training and keep them engaged. I have also visited their classrooms and have made it a point to praise them when I see them being intentional with different dimensions. The visits have definitely helped me with feedback and to form relationships with the teachers.
Can you tell me a success you have seen as a result of MMCI? A specific “ah ha” moment from a teacher?
Recently I coached one of the teachers participating in my MMCI class. I did two cycles of the CLASS Assessment for her to reflect on. I felt like a proud mom while assessing her because she had implemented so many intentional interactions. From her clear expectations, to quick transitions—she was a well-oiled machine! I have seen tremendous growth!
What is your biggest takeaway from facilitating MMCI?
My biggest takeaway is how much better I see classrooms functioning and how the quality is raised when teachers who have participated in MMCI are mindful and intentional with their interactions. As a Provider Specialist working mostly in the area of coaching; I, too, have a much better understanding of the dimensions and am better able to support the teachers I work with.
Before the 2019 InterAct Class Summit in Nashville was even over, we were already excitedly planning 2020! But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let's take a quick look back at the incredible presenters, attendees, and staff that made 2019 possible. We had nearly 400 participants from all backgrounds—teachers, caregivers, mentors, coaches, trainers, implementation leaders, administrators, assessors, researchers, and more. However, their common passion for improving classroom interactions and empowering life-changing teachers was evident.
Teachstone is pleased to announce that starting June 3rd, we will be launching our public offering of the Child Development Associate with CLASS®. Enrollment will open on May 6. It is a comprehensive online program that supports learners seeking to fulfill the continued education requirements for maintaining their Child Development Associate (CDA) accreditation.
I lived in rural Japan for three years. While there, I became very accustomed to ordering the same types of entrees at restaurants due to my limited ability to read menus and my unwillingness to eat foods outside my comfort zone. So imagine how overwhelmed I felt when I returned to the States and had to decide on one entree amid pages and pages and pages of delicious options. It took a few weeks to learn how to navigate my way through these endless options without wanting to close my eyes and blindly point while ordering my meals.
Can we talk about structure? When CLASS entered my life, I was 20 years into my career in the field of early childhood education. What I remember most about that initial training, besides the nervousness about an impending reliability test, was a sense of relief. Structure, including State and program standards, curriculum, materials in the classroom, and approaches to childcare and pedagogy, had dominated my working hours. CLASS was a lot to learn, but for me, it was a breath of fresh air. Observing with CLASS meant I could set aside my obsession with all things structural – which encompassed my thoughts every time I walked into an early childhood classroom.