Last week, I joined several Teachstone colleagues and thousands of early childhood educators for the 2013 National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference in Washington, DC. As Rebecca Berlin described, Teachstone delivered four presentations; we also enjoyed meeting many fellow early education colleagues throughout the week in the exhibition hall and other events.
I personally had the pleasure of attending several presentations, including Providing Classroom-Level CLASS™ Observation Feedback to Teachers, delivered by Teachstone's Senior Specialist of Coursework Hilary Ritt and Training Manager Sara Diamond. This presentation was so well attended that when the seats filled up, participants sat on the floor and against the walls! I was struck by the passion of the participants as they demonstrated deep understanding of the importance of interactions and genuine respect for the teachers with whom they work.
Of course, I attended several non-Teachstone presentations as well. One particularly interesting presentation included, "How a Head Start Coaching Community of Practice Created a PD System using CLASS and the Project Approach" (delivered by Carol Bolz, Sue Vartuli, and Catherine Wilson). This presentation described a research project that explored how coaching improves quality of instruction and learning in Head Start classrooms over five years. The presentation included classroom stories told by a pre-K teacher that participated in the project. This teacher, “Mr. George,” described the ways his implementation of The Project Approach complimented his CLASS interactions (particularly Concept Development and Quality of Feedback), and the ways his teaching focus shifted to seeing children as thinkers and risk-takers. With 40 years of Head Start teaching experience, he was truly an inspiration!
I could go on and on about the fabulous presentations I attended and the inspiring people I met at NAEYC, but I would rather hear from you! Did you attend NAEYC? Use the comments to describe your experiences and favorite presentations!
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.
It’s been a great year. You have just conducted some professional development trainings for the group of teachers you are coaching. You got the opportunity to visit their classrooms and see them in action, do formal and informal CLASS observations, and had countless coaching conversations. You see that it’s all beginning to click. You have the teachers’ buy-in, and the motivation is high.
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.