Here are my CLASS Scores … Now What?

A client recently asked me, “How do I raise my Instructional Support scores?” You’ve certainly heard a lot about the importance of high CLASS scores. In Head Start, they are the measure of high quality classrooms and are tied to Recompetition. Your staff conducts CLASS observations and the scores are then shared with all. If your program is like most programs, your lowest scores are in the area of instructional support. So now, what can you do to improve those scores?

We’ve found that successful training in this area includes the following 3 points:

Use every moment as a teaching moment.

Training activities should focus on finding teaching opportunities throughout the entire day. Select a well-known story and discuss questions to ask children. Practice skills such as feedback loops as well as repetition and extension by talking through real scenarios in Head Start classrooms.  Intentionality is key here.

Think back and look forward.

Provide teaching staff with CLASS observation notes of one of their classrooms. Be sure to guide the staff through a review of the feedback. Take a look back at what could have been done; and look forward to what can be done. These steps will help your staff to identify and take advantage of teaching moments.

This is a new language.

The dimensions within the instructional support domain are a new language for us all.  Incorporating these skills into daily practice is a process and it takes time.  Specialized training followed up by mentoring and coaching are the first steps.

Have a question about improving your CLASS scores? Give us a call.

A Good Community Assessment is Essential

Do you make decisions for your program without enough data? It happens. More frequently than you think. Here are a few thoughts to consider:

What is comprehensive data?

It all starts with a good Community Assessment.  A comprehensive Community Assessment provides a complete picture of the current conditions in your service area – including the needs of low-income children and families.  Once you have a complete picture, you and your team can plan and make the right decisions for your Head Start program.

Where do you find the data that you need?

There is a wealth of data available from a variety of sources.  Externally, there is the Census Bureau, State Departments of Health, Kids Count Data Center, and State Data Centers, just to name a few.  Internally, there is your PIR and surveys of your parents, Policy Council, Board of Directors, staff, and community partners.

How do you use the data?

A good Community Assessment will be user friendly – providing you with key findings and trends.  It should also compare the current data to the previous years’ data.  So now you have what you need to make decisions.  From the information, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • Are we selecting the children who are the most in need?
  • Are my centers in the right locations?
  • Do the program options that we offer meet the needs of our parents?
  • Are we providing children and families with the services that they need?
  • Are we collaborating with the right community partners?

A comprehensive Community Assessment is the tool that you need to make good decisions in serving the children and families in your program.  If you need help creating a Community Assessment, we can help.  Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 to discuss your needs.