For most of our clients, providing services to our Head Start and Early Head Start children and families has taken on a very different look than in the past. Some programs are operating on a solely virtual basis, others have reduced size classrooms while other have re-opened with a hybrid schedule. Many programs have re-opened only to have to shut down again due to COVID 19. All of our interactions with children and families have been impacted.
There are measurable benefits of in-service training and consistent professional development opportunities throughout the year. As new challenges arise during the year and new areas for growth are identified, virtual training sessions can help staff to tackle these challenges and address potential growth areas as they are occurring, instead of waiting for the pre-service season. People take in new information a little at a time. While pre-service is a good time to provide staff with training, it is just a few days of the year. Consider instead of presenting a lot of information at once, creating multiple training opportunities for staff. Creating a multi-layered plan to provide training to staff throughout the year, will lay a foundation of learning that can be built upon, while addressing current struggles as they are happening.
Our trainings are customized to your program’s current needs and available in a virtual format. We have added some training topics to address the needs of our clients and the struggles resulting from COVID 19 restrictions. Below are some of our most requested topics from clients after reopening:
- Facilitating Small Group Instruction – With social distancing requirements, much of classroom time is spent in small groups. This training focuses on the shift from whole group instruction to small groups and how to maximize teacher/child interactions while facilitating learning.
- Helping Children Feel Safe in Today’s Society: Covid 19 and Racism – This training generates in-depth discussion while taking an honest look at systemic racism and its impact on children and families.
- Increasing Instructional Support Scores Within a More Restrictive Environment – This training focuses on strategies to capitalize on opportunities that are available throughout the day, (even amid restrictions), to promote children’s higher-order thinking skills and increase learning, with facilitation of conversation and exploration of ideas, (asking those juicy questions!)
- Change Your Questions Change Your Life – Examine your work relationships and communications with a new perspective. Do you approach interactions from a Learner or a Judger approach? Dig deeper to understand motivations, plan for difficult discussions, and create agendas based on goals that will open up communication, build collaboration and increase problem-solving. (Certified Trainer).
See the training area of our website for more information on topics.
The answer is yes! While most of us would prefer live observations, for many of our clients, this is not possible due to COVID 19 restrictions. Forgoing CLASS observations until such time that restrictions are lifted can have a cumulative negative impact on CLASS scores. Without the data that comes from comprehensive CLASS observations, data driven decision making is impacted. Teaching staff can drift from best teaching practices and the goals set forth from previous observations and coaching. Virtual CLASS observations will not only guard against drift; our clients have found the following additional benefits to virtual observations while operating during COVID 19:
- Having access to uploaded video-taped teaching cycles adds an additional tool for Education Managers and Coaches to use when working with teaching staff on professional development.
- More time to work with teaching staff using the classroom summaries, recommendations for improvement and video segments we provide, due to reduced class sizes and hours of operation.
- The ability to target an underscoring content area of the day and obtain objective feedback from outside observers without bias. Meals are a prime example of a challenge directly related to new guidelines. For most, family style meals have been eliminated and teaching staff are struggling with how to implement meaningful teacher/child interactions as they pertain to CLASS during this time. We can provide feedback and recommendations on how to increase scores in this area within current restrictions.
Whether you are looking for program-wide observations inclusive of all activities during the day or want to focus observations and feedback on times and activities that are proving the most challenging for teachers, by nature of the virtual format, we can customize your observations to fit your program needs.
We are currently conducting comprehensive CLASS observations, remotely. Programs can videotape 20-minute cycles of their classrooms and upload the videos to a secure drive, specific to your program. Our Certified CLASS observers with extensive live observation experience and consistent reliability using the CLASS tool, will then observe and score your videos. We will provide you with:
- A debrief with the Head Start Director (and your Management team if you wish) to discuss the results of the observations.
- We will provide you with CLASS scores for each classroom observed, a written summary of individual classrooms, highlighting strengths and recommendations for improvements that can be used by your staff for professional development, and a list of program-wide issues that are causing lower CLASS scores, as well as recommendations to address and correct those issues.
We are also available to conduct live, in-person observations for those programs that are able to invite observers into their classrooms.
To learn more or schedule your CLASS observation, contact Kristine Cortina at (704) 451-3255 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about our other services at www.HSEssentials.com.