Think back to when you were new to CLASS. Really try to remember the details of those early days. Most of us had some pretty strong reservations, but we just forged ahead anyway. We had to. The CLASS seemed like just another assessment in a long line of new things to have to learn in an already-impossible work schedule.
If you’ve been hearing a lot about teacher leadership lately, consider yourself privy to a very relevant educational topic. All the buzz right now is focused on well-deserving teachers who are leading the way in their schools. Now more than ever, we are seeing a trend of teachers moving into leadership roles, such as coaching other teachers and participating in planning committees. Because these shifting roles and responsibilities were previously correlated with administrators, longstanding staff, or even tenured faculty, they may cause indeterminate or converging relational/organizational patterns. As a result, educators need innovative approaches to facilitating their new leadership systems and models in education.
The first thing to consider as you develop a CLASS observation plan for your organization is the purpose or goal of your observations. Are you more interested in teacher-level or program-level data? Will you be using the data you collect to inform professional development? What kinds of decisions will your data help you make? Knowing why you’re conducting CLASS observations and what you hope to accomplish will help you decide on plan specifics.
Whether it’s an infant cooing in response to a teacher’s gentle voice in an Early Head Start classroom or a second grader delighting in their teacher’s positive feedback in an elementary school classroom down the street, interactions matter in every education setting across the country.
This year’s annual NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) conference was a whirlwind for me! Scheduled to co-deliver two presentations in one day, I’m sure you can understand why it felt like a blur!
A little after my daughter’s first birthday, she was playing with a small, elephant pull toy. She would try to push it, but it would get stuck on the attached string. After that happened a few times, she tried to bunch the string up and put it on top of the elephant. That didn’t work, so then she tried putting the bunch of string in the hole on the elephant. That failed too. Finally, she decided to put the string over her shoulder while she pushed. The string stayed and she was able to push the elephant, unencumbered.
There I was at the final session of a yearlong professional development program, which surprisingly, and very pleasantly, turned out to be the most atypical professional development that I had ever attended. As an administrator for more than 14 years, I had experienced quite a few of them and was therefore extremely conversant on the good and bad of professional development. This professional development, however, seemed more of a retreat for early childhood administrators desperately in need of refuge from the tumultuous world of accountability.
On February 1, 2015, Early Learning Ventures (ELV) became Colorado’s newest Early Head Start Grantee. Combining the comprehensive nature of Early Head Start services with our Shared Services Model, we are primed to serve 240 children and families in four distinct Colorado counties. To date, we have signed contracts with 26 licensed childcare programs, 11 childcare homes, and 15 centers, and we are still growing. On October 20, 2015, ELV’s enrollment reached the big TWO-ZERO-ZERO (200)—83% of our funded enrollment!
The commentary on the TNVPK evaluation continues. Study authors Farran and Lipsey wrote a pushback piece addressing critics’ claims that the study findings are due to the poor quality of TNVPK programs. They also laud the TNVPK program as being among the nation’s highest quality models. Now we’re on my favorite topic: quality.
Preschool programs have been shown by numerous studies to be effective in increasing children’s social and academic achievement by kindergarten entry, so why do we continue to question the value and worthiness of these investments in critical early learning experiences, particularly for more disadvantaged children? Similarly, why would we want to think of preschool as an inoculation? Do we really think we can dose a vulnerable four-year old with nine months of decent early education and voilà they read like the kids from the fast lane? It’s like we think pre-k “pours in” skills to the container that is a four-year old, and those skills are permanently there, they won’t leak out. We treat this as if the years before preschool and then again the years between preschool and third grade don’t matter.