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Behind the Curtain: A Look at Georgia’s CLASS Implementation

18 Sep 2015 by Lisa Rogoff


Georgia DECAL is a bit of a hero around these parts. When we talk about states and programs that have successfully implemented CLASS, DECAL inevitably comes up. We talk about its thoughtful roll out of CLASS, how it ensured buy in from all parties, and more broadly, about the state’s leadership in early childhood education with the nation’s first state-funded universal pre-K program in 1995. DECAL’s Pre-K Professional Development Evaluation Report that came out earlier this year speaks to a lot of these incredible details.

What we don’t often get to see or hear are the men and women behind the DECAL curtain. Over the past few months, I had the opportunity to interview three key players about DECAL’s CLASS implementation and find out what really happened behind the scenes. Susan Adams, the Assistant Commissioner for Pre-K and Instructional Support explained how CLASS came to be a part of DECAL’s DNA. Bentley Ponder, Director of Research and Evaluation spoke about how the state came to receive its Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant (and the party he had to sacrifice to make it happen). And Pam Bojo, Director of Field Operations (aka Director of Getting Stuff Done) humbly talked about how she brought all the big ideas to life in the programs and with staff.


Pam and I had a chance to catch up earlier this year in person, and the short clip below illustrates how CLASS had a meaningful impact both in the classroom and on the DECAL organization more broadly. I had so much fun learning about the people who actually made this happen that I wanted to share a little bit of that with you. I hope you enjoy the video and take the time to read Georgia’s CLASS story.



"We have seen a change in all of us—myself included—in the way that we communicate with each other." - Pam Bojo on implementing the CLASS tool. 


Learn how Georgia implemented CLASS in it's state-funded pre-K program.