Whether we work directly with children, support teachers, create regional or state policy, or build professional development programs, it can be easy to let our day-to-day responsibilities trump the significance of our work. As Teachstone’s Product Marketing Director, I spend time each week observing and talking with our market—teachers, T/TAs, center directors, program directors, policymakers—and trying to understand their challenges. Without fail, I am always moved by these colleagues’ hard work and commitment to supporting young children; these conversations are what make my job rewarding. But during these interviews, I often notice that these individuals aren’t quite as moved by their grit as I am. They are worn down by bureaucracy or funding challenges, in a routine, or just tired from years of demanding and often thankless work.
It’s rare that they have a chance to step back from their hectic schedules and reflect on why they do what they do everyday. This year, many of these professionals across Head Start had the chance to do just this by applying for the Teachstone-NHSA Interactions Scholarship Fund. Applicants answered questions about how they would use the scholarship and related training to improve practice within their centers and agencies, and most important, they took the time to reflect upon why interactions are so important.
“Having been in the early childhood education field for nearly 18 years, I have witnessed first hand the importance of how respect, having conversations, laughing with children, solving problems together, using rich vocabulary, and asking questions can provide a secure learning foundation for a child.”
– Stephanie Bolin, Education & Family Services Coordinator, Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council
“Head Start’s mission to break the cycle of poverty compels us to provide a comprehensive program that meets children’s emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs. We seek to give children an advantage, a 'head start,' and teacher-child interactions do precisely that. It is vital that our agency seek to support our teachers in improving their interactions in order to be most effective at improving outcomes for our children.”
– Kellie Holcomb, Education Resource Specialist, Community Action Partnership of North Alabama
Stephanie and Kellie’s reflections provide a window into the thoughtful and inspiring answers we received from Head Start grantees around the country. Please take a moment to get to know our eight Interactions Scholars who represent six, regions, eight states, and a variety of positions within their agencies. I hope you’ll have a chance to see why teacher-child interactions are so important to each of them, and like me you’ll be inspired by their dedication and hard work.
Nearly two years ago I joined Teachstone with a deep desire and commitment to support leaders and teachers with real-time, practical, and evidence-based strategies and solutions to address the current needs of children, families, and educators. For the 20 years prior, I led organizations working at the national, state, and local levels focused on addressing the needs of children and families, especially those living in marginalized communities. As a practitioner at heart, my passion has been translating research to practice to drive impact and positive outcomes for children. This passion brought me to Teachstone.
Teachstone, developer of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) included in 23 states' Quality Rating and Improvement Systems and used by Head Start programs nationwide, has unveiled a new, easy-to-use, on-demand platform that will allow experts to provide research-based video coaching to educators seeking to improve their practice—no matter the setting.
It’s now been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered school facilities and forced educators across the globe to shift how they engage learners. At Teachstone, we too made shifts to ensure we met the moment, while remaining steadfast in our commitment to improving the interactions that matter most to children’s development and success.
We are ecstatic to announce that Teachstone is now a Certified B Corporation! This certification legally requires us to consider the impact of our decisions on our clients, employees, the communities we work in, and the environment. With this new business model informing our work, we are excited to continue to support ECE programs and leaders to ensure every child experiences life changing teaching and teachers are equipped with the tools to best deliver on that goal.