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!
As the former Vice President of Education and Program Operations, as well as the Head Start/Early Head Start Program Director, of a large Chicago Agency, I am often asked the question, “How did you get your CLASS scores to rise so much?” Our Pre-K Instructional Support scores rose from a 2.65 to a 3.74 the first year, and from a 3.74 to a 4.17 the second year. It wasn’t an easy process. And it was up to us to show our teachers the importance of teacher-student interactions and slowly introduce how CLASS scores could be used to improve these interactions.
Below are three steps we took to introduce the importance of CLASS and interactions to our teachers and, ultimately, raise our CLASS scores.
You likely know children in your schools and local neighborhoods who are dual-language learners—eager to explore and whose parents want the best opportunities for them in school and in life. But did you know dual-language learners in the U.S. make up 32% of children under the age of five?
When my first child was born, I was 30. I was also married, had a master’s degree, and taught in a district that paid pretty well. During my pregnancy, I learned what to look for in high-quality child care and I thought I knew how to find it. What I didn’t know was that even though my husband and I both worked, we couldn’t afford quality child care.