Amy started out her career in early childhood education as a teacher after completing her undergraduate degree from Brown University. She went on to get her JD at Northeastern University School of Law and an MS in Leadership and Policy in Early Care and Education from Wheelock College. Amy worked as a National Head Start Fellow for the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF), after which she consulted with early childhood education agencies on a range of topics. She served as adjunct faculty at both Wheelock College and Eastern Connecticut State University and co-authored a chapter with Joan Lombardi on Head Start’s legislative history in The Head Start Debates. Throughout Amy’s career, she has been an active member of affiliates of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). She was first introduced to the CLASS tool as an MTP Coach with the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE)’s Professional Development Study. Since joining Teachstone in 2010, Amy has served as an MTP Specialist and MTP Coaching Program Manager. An avid runner and mother of three, when she’s not coaching teachers, Amy can be found coaching kids on the soccer field. Or eating chocolate.
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Denny-Brown, 3rd Grade
A year ago, urged on by my insightful new colleague, Manda Klein, who was born and raised in Texas, I wrote a blog entitled, At Our Core. It praised the bipartisan efforts to discontinue the practice of separating children from their parents and caregivers at our country’s borders.
On a hot summer day in July 2016, I had the good fortune of being the one not on vacation on our small policy and research team. Instead, I went to DC to serve as Teachstone’s representative for a convening of policymakers, researchers, and ECE practitioners. They were gathering to discuss if and how exemplary Head Start grantees might be identified for Leading by Exemplar, an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Bellwether Education Partners.
The violence of the past days has reminded us all that we must be vigilant in denouncing hate and speaking out against it. I encourage everyone who cares about our courageous country and experiment in democracy to get out and vote on November 6th! Paraphrasing from an editorial in the Hartford Courant today, the strength of our united character is being put to the test. We must speak up, and no better way to do so than voting or encouraging others to do so. Truly great educators are those who never give up. I am not ready to give up on our country as a land that holds such great promise of freedom and justice for all, beginning with our youngest ones who cannot vote but will live in the world we are creating with every action or inaction.
Take heart! For too long, one of the least heartening perspectives on the federal government budget came from early childhood education advocates, who, year in and year out, felt left out of the political dialogue during budget talks. They were either ignored or, worse, the recipients of unwanted attention as federal spending on education was slashed or level-funded as costs increased. However, during a time when we see much division in our country, especially coming out of Washington, D.C., it actually is a bit –just a bit – encouraging to look at early childhood education programs which are garnering more and more bipartisan support.
Regardless of the various journeys we take or paths we find ourselves on when we discover CLASS, we all believe in the power of interactions to change children’s lives. While our focus is on classrooms (broadly defined), as educators and passionate education advocates we believe in the right of all children to experience nurturing interactions, both inside and outside any classroom walls.
Greetings! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog more than last year. While I’m not the most prolific, when I do post, please know it comes from the heart. And, there’s nothing I’m more passionate about than Head Start and its mission to support young children and families through a program of comprehensive services that can move mountains for our most vulnerable young children.
May was a busy—and very confusing—month for federal budgets. First, on May 7th Congress finally passed, and the President signed, a federal budget for Fiscal Year 2017--the budget year that we are more than half way through! In addition, on May 23, the President came out with his Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which would start October 1. We wanted to take a minute to break these budget events down and discuss what it might mean for schools and programs using the CLASS, such as Head Start, and what it might mean for child well-being more generally.
When the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was reauthorized in December 2015, Teachstone joined with others working across grade levels to celebrate the new law—the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA allows and emboldens states to build seamless systems that recognize and incorporate early childhood education in a pre-K to 12 system.
At the end of February, I had the great privilege of attending the annual National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Public Policy Forum as part of my state team, the Connecticut Association for the Education of Young Children (CTAEYC). The field was well-represented: teaching staff and administrators, as well as professional development providers and advocates from a non-profit campus-based child care center, a family child care, a non-profit hospital-based child care center, a for-profit child care center, and two training, support, and research centers for early childhood programs in Connecticut.
Last Friday, the federal Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) published an evaluation of the Office of Head Start’s (OHS) Designation Renewal System (DRS). Given the complex nature of the study, from the recruitment of the sample to the numerous quality measures, we thought it would be helpful to put the findings in context and begin to address the important questions raised in this report. We also are pleased to provide this snapshot summary of the research on the CLASS® involving thousands of classrooms and tens of thousands of students across the age levels, from infant care through secondary education. In collaboration with practitioners, researchers, and policymakers across the field, we are learning and building on our commitment to ensuring outstanding early childhood education for every child in every classroom.