Our QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System) journey began in 2004 in a small office with just three staff. Just like many organizations, we contracted with a consultant to guide us in the implementation of our pilot QRS (Quality Rating System). We assembled quality indicators and requirements galore into eight domains, including ratios, screening and assessment, program operations, learning environment, curriculum, etc. Documents, documents, and more documents were reviewed to assign a star rating for a child care center.
Fast forward to 2007. With all the confidence from our pilot QRS, we added the letter "I" to QRS; and our QRIS was branded as Guiding Stars of Duval (GSOD). Our QRIS went through a little Weight Watchers’ regimen, and the streamlined set of quality indicators and requirements were organized into five domains.
In the 2012-2013 school year, five years after the implementation of our first iteration of Guiding Stars, we began a discussion about the importance of effective teacher-child interactions in early childhood classrooms. We knew we had to add a tool within our Guiding Stars which would measure this important facet. So we took a one-year pause and collected pre-K CLASS observation data, set the CLASS-score ranges for the different levels within our Guiding Stars based on our observation data, and built capacity with lots of training!
Effective August 2013, we moved into the next iteration—Guiding Stars of Duval 2.0 (GSOD 2.0) with the addition of pre-K CLASS. Our child care center directors, teachers, and the entire early learning community embraced pre-K CLASS. We collected more CLASS data and reviewed scientific literature about the power of positive adult-child relationships, which continued to inform our work.
During the fall and winter of 2015, we will have more dialogue with our child care directors, and collect more data based on observations using the infant and toddler CLASS measures. Our next iteration—a focused and streamlined Guiding Stars 3.0 will be implemented effective August 2016 and will include the three early childhood CLASS family of tools: infant, toddler and pre-K CLASS, with an emphasis on nurturing and effective teacher-child interaction.
We look forward to reporting back to the entire early learning community across the country through the Teachstone blog during the fall and winter of 2016 after we begin our full scale implementation of the entire CLASS family of tools. We hope for great choreography. And by the way, a decade later, we are up to 90 employees in our organization. Our QRIS/CLASS journey continues!
Padma Rajan, works as VP of Programs, Research and Evaluation for the Early Learning Coalition of Duval in Jacksonville, FL. She has spearheaded and facilitated the implementation of Guiding Stars of Duval, the Quality Rating and Improvement System in Duval County, for the past decade. Guiding Stars of Duval is the signature initiative for the Early Learning Coalition of Duval and has a big emphasis on teacher child interaction, which is measured with the use of the CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) family of tools. And she is a Teachstone ambassador.
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
CLASS allows us to quantify the quality of teacher-child interactions—and that is a powerful thing. But improving child outcomes takes more than just data collection; it’s what you do with the data that really matters.
Here are 4 things you should know about using data to improve student outcomes.
As an infant classroom teacher, you know that talking to babies is important. For instance, you tell the infants in your care what they are looking at (“You see the new block basket on the shelf!”). You label objects (“You have the red ball!”). And you describe events that take place in the classroom (“The tray just fell off the table! That scared you.”). These are all examples of talking with babies. Why, then, can it be so challenging to do this consistently in the classroom?
We all know people are naturally social beings—we need interactions to survive. But just because we’re naturally social doesn’t mean we know how to be social. We have to learn social behaviors—from our families, caregivers, and peers. Teachers play a key role in promoting social development, which includes peer play and friendships.