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Why Early Childhood Research and Policy Matters (and My Next Steps)

29 Jun 2015 by Jennifer Park

Child outcomes depend on early childhood research

Hey there! I'm Jennifer, the new Director of Applied Research and Public Policy at Teachstone. I am so excited to join this group of innovative, action-oriented thinkers. While I'm new to Teachstone, I am not new to early childhood education. I first came to this field as a toddler teacher in Florida and have great memories of catching frogs with children on the playground and having wonderful conversations during rain storms. My time as a teacher was invaluable in preparing me for each of my other experiences in this field. 
Some of you may remember me from my time at Teaching Strategies. Yup, I was there during the early days when we could fit the entire staff around Diane's farm table that served as our conference/lunch table. That was actually when I first learned about Bob Pianta's video-coding project that developed into the CLASS. I remember being so excited that someone was going to give our field a tool that defined what I had called "the magic in teaching." 
I also spent the last 10 years in Florida with some of that time spent developing statewide systems of quality. That was really fun work because I was able to focus all of my effort on how the state office could best support programs in increasing quality. I had great partners throughout Florida who wanted to adopt the CLASS with training and other teacher and program supports that had evidence in supporting better child outcomes. It was through strong partnerships and leadership throughout the state that we were able to get these systems in place. 
So here at Teachstone, I'm eager to partner with leaders across the country in developing systems that best support teacher success. I'm engaging research and program partners so Teachstone can continue to develop effective supports for each of your communities. This timing couldn't be better with our impending launch of myTeachstone which will support programs in managing data, develop professional development plans, offer training within the system, and track progress of teachers in completing training. I can't wait to dig into the system to see how we can be responsive to developing program needs. If you don't know about myTeachstone, learn about it here
I'm also looking through the proposed Head Start Performance Standards. Are you planning on submitting comments? We are! We know that the feds are looking for input from each of us in the field to best shape these requirements. We'll share our thoughts on that with you soon. 
I'm located in Washington, DC, and travel around for meetings. If you see me, please introduce yourself to me so we can make a connection and think together about how we can partner on our important work. Children are counting on us, and we're counting on teachers.
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