Conducting Your Program’s CLASS observations: More than Just Scores

How are your CLASS observations going? Are you getting the most out of them that you can? CLASS observations are an important piece of the puzzle to ensure best practices in the classroom. They are also critical in the data collection and analysis process. CLASS data is carefully considered when planning training and mentor coaching. CLASS observations are also important when preparing for a CLASS Review.

When conducting CLASS observations, consider the following:

  • Videotape the CLASS observations. Videos are a great tool to use for mentor coaching. It provides the teachers with real examples of teaching behaviors in the Head Start classroom. It’s a good way to show the teachers their strengths as well as opportunities for improvement.
  • Debrief with each teacher after the observation. Take a few minutes to speak with each teacher following the observation. The teachers will appreciate some immediate feedback. It’s a good time for to reflect on the observation and to build a foundation for future mentor coaching.
  • Write a summary of each classroom in addition to the scores. Document what you saw in the classrooms as it pertains to each of the domains and dimensions. It’s great feedback for the teaching staff and the Head Start Director. It’s also good information to have when providing mentor coaching.
  • Consider custom designed CLASS training after the observations. The observations will provide you with valuable CLASS data. It will show you exactly which dimensions your teaching staff are strong in – and which ones your staff can use additional guidance and support.

We conduct CLASS observations that include all of the items listed above and the points listed below:

  • As outside observers, we have the objectivity needed to observe classrooms without the possibility of bias.
  • We can observe your English-speaking and bilingual classrooms.
  • We offer the opportunity for your Education Coordinator or Mentor Coach to sit in on the debriefings that we do with teachers – for continuity purposes.
  • We offer the opportunity for your Education Coordinator (or other CLASS-reliable staff person) to join us for dual coding on a couple of classrooms.
  • You will receive CLASS scores, classroom summaries and a list of program-wide issues that are causing lower CLASS scores as well as recommendations to address and correct those issues.

Looking for an outside observer to conduct your CLASS observations? Give us a call at (713) 594-7060 or email us at deborahkaiser@hsessentials.com.