At some of our recent Lunch and Learns, Affiliate Trainers indicated that they would be interested in learning more about their fellow ATs and the kinds of things they are doing with the CLASS outside of training. In response, we are introducing a new feature we are calling our “Affiliate Trainer Spotlight!” We agree that it would be a fun for all of us to learn more about our Affiliate Trainers and the kind of work that they are doing to promote the use of the CLASS in their communities. If you would like to be featured, or if you would like to nominate a colleague for this spotlight, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s spotlight is on Kari Price from Lincoln, Nebraska.
She is a Program Evaluator at the Department of Education and Child Development at the Munroe-Meyer Institute, which is a part of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The Institute contracts with a variety of educational initiatives to conduct outside evaluations of the efficacy of their programs. Their clients range from early childhood programs, to elementary and secondary schools, to after-school programs.
Kari is a certified observer on all age levels except Infant and is an Affiliate Trainer for Toddler, Pre-K, and K-3. In her day-to-day work life, Kari conducts a variety of assessments including the Environmental Rating Scales, child assessments, and of course, the CLASS. She codes video from tapes that are sent to the Institute and writes detailed reports that programs use to develop professional development programs for their teachers. In addition, she is the K-3 anchor for their coding team and mentors observers to ensure that they maintain a high degree of reliability.
I caught up with Kari at our Regional Training in San Antonio where she was attending the Toddler TTT. When I asked her what she liked about being an Affiliate Trainer, Kari stated that she loves training on the CLASS because it takes her back to her days as a classroom teacher. She said that were she to go back in time to the classroom knowing what she knows now, she would have been an even better teacher!
What is Kari’s advice for new trainers? Prepare, prepare, prepare! If someone asks a question that you cannot answer, be honest with him or her and do the research in the manual. She also advises new trainers to recognize that what they are doing is important. She said, “We have an awesome opportunity, so do it [train] with a smile and have fun!”
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
As a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) instructor, the sections of any given two-hour session may feel, at times, very goal driven. These sections titled "Know," "See," and "Do” are interconnected. In particular, it is possible to consider "Do" within "Know," and "See." When an instructor supports in-the-moment experiences that connect new knowledge to current practice, they make the CLASS dimensions more relevant to the educators' daily work. But how can we infuse more “Do” into “Know” and “See?” First, let's re-cap what happens in each section.
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.