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.
To do that, I ensure the features and applications on our platform work for all of you—teachers, school leaders, instructional coaches, observers, and more. My team regularly asks for feedback in the CLASS Learning Community on designs, ideas, and newly launched features. With this feedback, we can better help you collect CLASS observation data and connect it to individualized professional development resources. (In other words, thanks for helping me help you!)
Whether you’re a teacher or an educational leader, you know children deserve the best. Every teacher we talk to expresses a desire to keep growing their skills to be better for their students, and every leader wants to support their teachers in doing this.
We know improvement is a combination of measuring where you are, selecting the right professional development, and tracking your progress toward your goals. That’s why we designed the myTeachstone platform to help you choose the professional development option that best supports your needs. It maximizes your program’s potential for success by supporting continuous quality improvement in a scalable and sustainable way. When you focus on what matters most, you can measure elements of great teaching and improve upon them in a targeted, iterative way that takes full advantage of your professional development.
Observe and give feedback in myTeachstone. The pandemic changed when and how teachers and their instructional leaders can gather data. You need several options to measure with CLASS, especially when an observer cannot be there in real time. That is one of the problems we tackled in our observation application which helps instructional leaders collect, view, and report on CLASS data, then use that data to effectively promote teacher growth.
For example, teachers can upload classroom videos for an observation, even if coaches and observers cannot be there in person. Coaches or administrators can then use these videos to conduct informal observations, note their feedback, and share it directly back with teachers. Or, if needed, observers and admins can upload and view video footage for formal observations. This flexibility in the measure tools in myTeachstone mean teachers and program leaders can get data they need to make better instructional decisions for students.
The myTeachstone platform also contains tools to help observers give responsive feedback. When an observer enters indicators for a dimension, the myTeachstone observation application uses that information to automatically provide tailored feedback in an observation report. These statements are directly aligned with the CLASS manual and give teachers clear examples to inform their instructional practice while reducing the time observers need to spend drafting their written feedback. This speedy feedback, paired with Teachstone’s professional development resources, can help teachers improve more quickly.
When all the pieces to focus, measure, and improve on CLASS are in one place with myTeachstone, teachers, programs, and, most importantly, students can reap the benefits.
Ready to use this powerful tool to support teachers and their students in your setting? Learn about our process for CQI from our recent webinar. Or, dive right in - watch a pre-recorded demo on-demand, or request a time to talk with someone on the myTeachstone team.
Receive timely updates delivered straight to your inbox.
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.
If you've ever been through a CLASS Observation training, you are probably familiar with the graphic below. Research tells us that improving teacher-child interactions is a process that includes many pieces.
The first step is to identify a teacher’s strengths and opportunities for growth, which can be done through a CLASS observation. Once you have this data, you can share it with teachers through a formal report, a face-to-face conference, or a feedback session. You’re off to a great start, but now what?
Originally published Jan 23, 2020 by Allie Kallmann
A few years into teaching early childhood, I applied to work at a school that does incredible work in the local community. I was thrilled to get an interview but realized very quickly that, even though the environment was supportive and the students were wonderful young people, I was much too intimidated to work there.
Strong social-emotional skills are critical for student success in school and later in life. To that end, schools across the United States are implementing universal school based social-emotional learning programs (USB SEL). A wealth of research has examined the impact of such programs on students. However, little is known about how these interventions affect racially minoritized students and students with disabilities, as they have often been excluded from analyses.
We were excited to come across this study that reviews the literature on this topic and even more excited when the lead author, Dr. Christine Cipriano from Yale Medical Center, agreed to answer some of our questions about her work!