Taking a New Look at Policy Council and Board of Directors Training August 25, 2014

It’s hard to believe that summer is ending and a new school year is upon us! Along with classes and home visits starting up, it’ll soon be time for Policy Council and Board of Directors training.  While I’m sure that your governance training will include roles and responsibilities, performance standards, and leadership opportunities, consider also including the items below.

  • The history and vision of Head Start – Just as it’s important for staff to be familiar with the history of Head Start, it’s essential for your Policy Council and Board of Directors to be familiar with it as well. Knowing where Head Start came from and where it’s going is critical information as they provide governance duties to your program. In addition to the history of Head Start, the mission, vision and guiding principles of Head Start is valuable information to share as well.
  • A strong partnership with the Management Team – It’s essential that your Policy Council and Board of Directors receive training on the value that comes from a strong partnership between the Management Team and the governing bodies. Good communication, transparency and trust are key components to creating a successful partnership. A strong partnership will result in a system of effective and efficient governance of the Head Start program.
  • Making an impact – It’s often helpful to begin with the end in mind. Talk with your Policy Council and Board of Directors about what they would like to achieve for the Head Start program while they are a part of the governing body. The possibilities are endless! This will show your Policy Council and Board of Directors the tremendous value that they bring to your agency. Policy Council and Board members can leave a lasting impact on the program for many years to come.

Looking for training for your Policy Council or Board of Directors? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Mentor Coaching: A Key Ingredient of Ongoing Professional Development for Teachers

I bet you’ve just conducted – or are getting ready to conduct – many hours of training for your teaching staff.  I’m sure that the training covers a multitude of topics – curriculum, lesson planning, and ongoing assessment, just to name a few. You probably also have in-service dates scheduled for additional teacher training throughout the year. It’s important to have a plan in place to support teachers in between large and small group trainings – to provide individualized guidance to teachers as they implement what they learned in the trainings.

Mentor coaching is a critical part of a comprehensive professional development plan. It provides teachers with hands-on support that is custom designed to meet each teacher’s needs. It builds each teacher’s capacity and fosters continuous improvement. And, finally, it raises CLASS scores.

A high quality mentor coaching program includes:

  • Assessment of needs. Review the CLASS scores and other observational data and determine the teacher’s strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Setting goals. Ask the teacher what they’d like to work on. Starting with what the teacher wants to improve on will increase buy-in.
  • Ongoing observations. Either in person, or long-distance, provide ongoing observations of a variety of skills.  If this is being done long-distance, the teacher can send videos to the mentor.
  • Reflecting and sharing feedback. Through guided questions and activities, the mentor provides an opportunity for reflection as well as specific feedback.

Looking for long-distance Mentor Coaching? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Essential Tips: Supporting the Work of Our Home Visitors

Tip #1:  Be safe and take care of yourself.

Ensure that your program has procedures in place for the safety of Home Visitors – such as providing safety training to staff members and establishing clear rules about safety practices.  With as much time as Home Visitors spend taking care of the families they serve, they may forget to take care of themselves.  Home Visitor training should address boundary issues and personal time.

Tip #2:  Provide training specifically geared to Home Visitors.

Home Visitors are responsible for bringing the Head Start or Early Head Start program into the family’s home.  Like other staff, their training plan should include topics such as screening and assessments, lesson planning, and building relationships with parents.  In addition, their plan for professional development should also include training that is specifically designed for their needs. Suggestions for topics could include: home as a child development environment, parent education techniques, and observing parent/child interactions.

Tip #3:  Establish a system to observe your Home Visitors and support their professional development.

Observing Home Visitor practice is an essential part of the home-based program, especially as it pertains to supporting parents in their role as their child’s primary teacher.  The observations can be used as a tool to assess Home Visitors’ work with families as well as to track Home Visitors’ development over time.  In addition, the observations can be utilized as a training tool to build on the Home Visitors’ strengths and address areas that need improvement.

Interested in training for your Home Visitors? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.