Developing a Successful Mentor Coaching Plan

What is your program’s plan for Mentor Coaching? The Head Start Program Performance Standards state that programs must implement a research-based, coordinated coaching strategy for education staff.

Mentor coaching is a great opportunity to provide teachers with guidance and support as it pertains to successful teaching strategies. It allows teachers to receive constructive feedback as well as to see effective teaching behaviors through modeling. The feedback and modeling of high quality teacher practices is directly related to the teacher’s mentor coaching goals – which is aligned with your program’s school readiness goals.

Our mentor coaching services are based on the principles of Practice-Based Coaching.  Our services will guide your Head Start Teachers toward improved implementation of best practices through observation, feedback, collaboration and goal-setting.  The components of our mentor coaching services include:

  • Planning goals and action steps;
  • Engaging in focused observations; and
  • Reflecting on and sharing feedback about teaching practices.

We provide on-site mentor coaching services for teaching staff utilizing the principles of Practice-Based Coaching.  We observe teaching interactions in the classrooms and provide strengths-based mentor coaching services.  We begin by developing trusting, collaborative relationships with each Teacher and we ask the Teachers complete a needs assessment.  We will then use that information to create individualized mentor coaching goals with each Teacher.

We will spend time observing in each of the identified classrooms and provide the Teachers with feedback from the observation.  We will provide each Teacher with the strengths (high-scoring behaviors) as well as opportunities for improvement (low-scoring behaviors) from the observations.  We will then spend time addressing, problem-solving and correcting the areas of concern (as it relates to CLASS).  We will model high scoring interactions and effective teaching practices.  We will also provide each Teacher with guidance, support and encouragement.  We provide content-specific feedback in order to build a strong partnership.  Our strengths-based approach to mentor coaching allows us to have “hard conversations” with Teachers on areas that need improvement.

Each of the mentor coaching services listed above includes guidance and support that is custom designed to meet the specific needs of your staff. It builds capacity and fosters continuous support. And, finally, it raises CLASS scores.

We also offer training for Mentor Coaches on how to implement a successful mentor coaching program.

Are you looking for on-site Mentor Coaching services or training on Mentor Coaching? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Hands-On CLASS Training

Are you looking for CLASS training that is relevant to your Head Start classrooms and that inspires your Head Start teaching staff to increase their CLASS scores? Are you looking for CLASS training that is highly interactive and fully engages your Head Start teaching staff in practice-based learning?

As you know, it’s important to have and maintain high CLASS scores. High scoring classrooms are a great indicator of positive teacher/child interactions that effectively support children’s learning and development. This leads to successful CLASS Reviews as well as best practices in the classroom.

Effective CLASS training consists of keeping the teachers highly engaged by utilizing a “learning by doing” approach. It’s based on the principles of adult learning, which results in high impact learning. This hands-on strategy allows the teachers to take back the information that they learn in the training and implement it in their classrooms. Adult learning is most effective when the participants can see, feel and experience the information that is being presented.

We offer highly interactive and practice-based CLASS training designed to increase CLASS scores. The training will be custom designed to meet the specific needs of your Head Start teaching staff. It can cover all of the domains and dimensions – or it can focus on specific domains or dimensions. This hands-on training will include specific examples and effective strategies in terms of the Head Start classroom.

Our CLASS trainings include showing video clips that demonstrate the interactions and teaching strategies that you want your teachers to display. We take each domain and dimension and show videos of what each dimension should look like and should not look like. We take time to discuss the video clips and talk about what the teaching staff saw and how they can score a “7” in their classroom. The training participants will have many opportunities to see what high-scoring domains and dimensions look like.  Additional hands-on activities may include small group activities; pair and share; role plays; question and answer sessions; and interactive exercises.

Are you looking for Hands-on CLASS training? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Training for Home Visitors: The Role of the Home Visitor

Home Visitors have such a short period of time with families each week, yet such a big to-do list. In home-based programs, the Home Visitor is the person who brings all that Head Start or Early Head Start has to offer into the homes of our families. It’s important that Home Visitors are highly organized, focused and clear about their role.

Too often, Home Visitors take over the parents’ role of being their child’s first and most important teacher. They do this by planning the activities, bringing materials into the home, and working directly with the child at the home visit. Instead, the Home Visitor should act in the role of a Coach.

As a Coach, Home Visitors will be surprised at what happens when they step out of the spotlight and focus on what’s happening between family members. In the role as Coach, Home Visitors will learn to pivot to the parent-child relationship and the everyday interactions that support the child’s development. Coaches stay in the moment, use daily routines to help parents observe, reflect and adapt their behavior to meet their child’s needs. The role of the Home Visitor is to empower the parents to support the child’s growth and development. This approach looks for ways that parents can “get it right” so they have more confidence. This confidence will increase the parents’ skills and abilities – and support their child’s readiness for school.

We offer highly interactive and practice-based training that focuses on the Home Visitor’s role as the Coach. This custom designed Home Visitor training includes topics such as:

  • The Home Visitor as the Coach
  • Building strong relationships with families
  • Establishing boundaries
  • Safety and Awareness
  • Utilizing the Home as a learning environment
  • Successful socializations
  • Working with challenging families

Are you looking for on-site, hands-on Training for your Home Visitors on “The Role of the Home Visitor? This training will be custom designed to meet the unique role of your Home Visitors. Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Training on: “Building Strong Leaders”

It’s important to have strong leaders in place across your program. We need Center Directors to provide leadership for their center…guiding their staff and taking full accountability for their center. We need Family Service Workers and Home Visitors to provide guidance and support to our families to be engaged in their child’s education and on the road to self-sufficiency. And we need Content Area Managers to ensure that high quality services are being provided effectively and efficiently… and that their content area stays in full compliance.

This custom designed training addresses the best practices of Leadership Development and supervision. We will address cultivating a program of excellence as well as the leadership and commitment that it takes to attain excellence. The training will focus on the elements of becoming a strong leader. Identifying your supervisory style is one of the key elements. Being knowledgeable about your supervisory style is essential in becoming an effective leader. This training will explore different supervisory styles and finding out which one is the best fit for you.

We offer on-site, highly interactive Leadership Development training that includes topics such as:

  • Leadership versus management;
  • What leadership looks like;
  • Identifying your supervisory style;
  • Your role and responsibilities as a leader;
  • Setting expectations and accountability;
  • Giving staff the tools to be successful;
  • A focus on compliance monitoring (always staying “Review-ready”);
  • Going above and beyond in attitude and action.

This hands-on training provides staff with an opportunity to learn about what it takes to be a leader – and it provides them with opportunities to “practice” being a strong leader.

Training on Leadership Development and how to successfully supervise staff is critical for your Center Directors, Content Area Managers and other supervisors. Managers need the skills to be an effective leader as well as the tools to guide and support their staff. It’s important that supervisors achieve buy-in with their employees. When staff feels that their supervisor is invested in them and their success, staff will give 100% to their job. This is especially important in this case as their job is to provide high quality services to the children and families.

Looking for training on Building Strong Leaders for your staff? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Supervising Your Brain and Other Helpful Habits

Serving Head Start and Early Head Start children and families is very important work. We work closely with our children in order prepare them for Kindergarten as well as a foundation of lifelong learning. We work closely with our families to ensure that they are fully engaged in their child’s education and on the road to self-sufficiency. This work is significant, demanding and strenuous.

If you work in Head Start or Early Head Start, you know certain things. You know that…

  • Change takes practice. Practice takes time. Extra time is something that you don’t have.
  • Working with challenging families can be draining and it takes a toll on you.
  • Taking care of yourself in order to serve children and families is critical.

Do you get to the end of the day and feel exhausted? When is the last time that you accomplished everything on your “to do” list? If someone else listened in on the things that you say to yourself, what would they hear? A friend encouraging you on? Or an overly critical version of yourself?

No matter what your role is, it’s essential to understand how “supervising your brain” is key to doing effective, rewarding work. This highly interactive training takes a hard look at what we need to be paying attention to in order to make a difference. A difference in your life… in the lives of those you work with and for… and a difference in the lives of the children and families that we serve.

This on-site, practice-based training will include:

  • Writing actionable steps toward your next goal;
  • Describing the complete picture of what’s keeping you stuck;
  • Identifying small habits that can change your life;
  • Practicing new ways of dealing with the everyday challenges of working in Head Start and Early Head Start.

Looking for training on Supervising Your Brain and Other Helpful Habits for your staff? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Training on: “Time Management & Organizational Skills”

It’s important that your staff have good time management skills as well as good organizational skills. These skills are critical when managing a caseload, linking children and families to needed services, and documenting the work that is done with children and families.

Family Service Workers and Home Visitors are often pulled in many directions and it’s important that they are able to organize their time and prioritize their to-do list. Learning how to not procrastinate and effectively focus on all of the tasks to be accomplished is key.

This highly interactive, on-site training will include:

  • Discovering your personal work & organizational style;
  • Reviewing time management principles & how to organize your time;
  • Developing an accountability plan;
  • Defining healthy boundaries;
  • Learning how to embrace change and apply change management skills at work.

This hands-on training will include practical strategies for the participants to be organized and efficient with their time so that they are able to accomplish everything on their to-do list as well as maintain organized and comprehensive records. As we say, “if it’s not written down, it didn’t happen”.

Looking for training on “Time Management & Organizational Skills” for your Family Service Workers & Home Visitors… or other staff? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Effective Case Management: Training for Family Service Workers & Home Visitors

Since Family Service Workers and Home Visitors are the first point of contact for our families, they are often pulled in many different directions. This often results in challenges in doing all of the needed follow-up with families as well as linking the children and families to needed services and resources.

Family Service Workers and Home Visitors play an essential role in your program, especially in the area of case management. They begin by establishing a good working relationship with each parent. Effective work with families starts with an understanding of where parents are and where they want to go. Build connection with families by allowing adequate time for conversation and listening with an open mind. Create a safe environment for parents to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge. It’s important that there is a system in place to link families to needed services and resources.

We see case management as a process that includes:

  • Establishing a good working relationship with the family
  • Implementing a goal setting process with the family
  • Linking the family to needed services and resources
  • Following up with the family regularly and maintaining good documentation and
  • “Closing the loop” to ensure that the family receives all needed services.

This highly interactive training focuses on effective case management, including a comprehensive follow-up system.  A system that includes “closing the loop” is explored – from making the referral – to ensuring that the client receives the services and that the services met the client’s needs – to documenting it all.  Case management tools as well as interactive case management activities are a part of this training.

A key piece of case management is documentation. As we say, “if it’s not written down, it didn’t happen”. It is vital that all interactions with the families and service providers are documented. Case notes must tell a story – from the initial referral… to all follow-up efforts… to delivery of services.

We utilize a strengths-based model, using each family’s individual strengths to assist them in achieving their goals. Families are the first and most important teachers of their children. They are our partners and play a critical role in their family’s development. Families have expertise about their child and their family.

This practice-based training will include:

  • Key concepts and strategies in case management
  • Successfully managing your caseload
  • Follow-up and connecting families to services
  • Documentation
  • Time management
  • Organizational skills
  • Effective planning

Looking for training on “Effective Case Management” for your Family Service Workers & Home Visitors?  Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

CLASS Training to Increase Your Instructional Support Scores

As we all know, it’s essential to have high CLASS scores. High scoring classrooms are a great indicator of positive teacher/child interactions that effectively support children’s learning and development. This leads to successful CLASS Reviews as well as best practices in the classroom. Most Head Start programs score lowest in the Instructional Support domain. This is understandable as some of the indicators within Concept Development, Quality of Feedback and Language Modeling are complex.

This hands-on training will address the indicators and behavioral markers under each of the dimensions within Instructional Support. Utilizing the teachers’ daily schedule, we will provide concrete strategies on how to attain high CLASS scores in Instructional Support. This targeted training will focus on ways to implement Instructional Support throughout the day. We will demonstrate how to naturally incorporate high scoring Instructional Support during large group activities, small group activities, center time, transitions and routines, meals… every part of the Head Start day!

This custom designed training will include items such as:

  • Analysis and Reasoning: Learn how to integrate the “how” and “why” of children’s learning.
  • Integration: Learn how to effectively make meaningful connections from new to prior learning.
  • Scaffolding: Learn how to provide assistance, feedback and questioning to assist children in continuing to learn and work at a higher level.
  • Feedback Loops: Learn how to increase language through sustained conversations, comments and follow-up questions in supporting a higher level of insight and comprehension.
  • Repetition & Extension: Learn how to acknowledge and build on each child’s unique ideas and contributions to a lesson or conversation.
  • Self- & Parallel Talk: Learn how to best map both your actions & the children’s actions as a means for language modeling.

The entirety of the training will be framed in terms of the Head Start classroom – including what a “7” looks like for each of the indicators and behavioral markers under Instructional Support. We will offer practice-based strategies to increase CLASS scores in each of these indicators and behavioral markers. We will address best practices as it pertains to teaching behaviors and interactions.

If your program’s scores are lowest in Emotional Support or Classroom Organization, we can focus on that domain instead.

A variety of learning styles will be explored such as videos, role plays, small group activities, pair and share, question and answer sessions, and other interactive exercises. The participants in this training will have many hands-on opportunities to see what high-scoring Instructional Support looks like – as adult learning is best when the participants can see, feel and experience the information that is being presented.

Are you looking for highly interactive and custom designed “CLASS Training to Increase Your Instructional Support Scores”? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Conducting your ITERS & ECERS Observations

Are you looking for someone to come to your program and conduct ITERS or ECERS observations of your classrooms?

We conduct ITERS & ECERS observations for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.  As outside observers, we have the objectivity needed to observe classrooms without the possibility of bias. The results of these observations will provide you with the data that you need to make decisions in your program.

The ITERS & ECERS observations include:

  • Observations of each of your classrooms;
  • A debriefing with each Teacher after the observation to provide them with feedback and reflection of the results;
  • The opportunity for your Education Coordinator or Mentor Coach to sit in on the debriefings – for continuity purposes;
  • A meeting with you (and your Management team if you want) to discuss the results of the observations;
  • The scores, a report of the strengths & areas of improvement of each classroom, and a list of program-wide issues that are causing lower scores and recommendations to address and correct those issues.

We also provide training on the ITERS and ECERS tools. Our highly interactive and practice-based training includes on-site training as well as practice conducting the ITERS or ECERS observations and debriefing/consultation after the observations.  The training, observations and debriefings/consultation will provide your staff with the knowledge and hands-on experience to conduct ITERS or ECERS in their classrooms independently.

Are you looking for ITERS or ECERS observations or training on the ITERS or ECERS tools? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Working Together to Promote Nutrition & Physical Activities in the Classroom & at Home

Teaching staff play an important role in establishing the foundation of wellness for young children and their families. Since teaching staff collect data on children’s progress and make decisions based on that data, it’s important to look at the nutrition, health and safety needs of our children.

It’s essential to examine the challenges that teachers face regarding wellness and learning… and to discover creative & exciting ways of implementing good health practices that support our children’s path to school readiness. As we know, children’s basic health and nutrition needs must be met before they can begin learning.  Building a foundation of wellness (health, nutrition & physical activity) is one of the critical elements of school readiness.

This highly interactive training will provide teaching staff with a strong understanding of wellness concepts as well as fun ways of implementing each of these concepts in their classroom.

This hands-on training will include:

  • Understanding the important contributions of health, nutrition and safety to children’s learning and well-being;
  • Implementing and modeling appropriate health & nutrition wellness practices;
  • Fostering interactive play to support learning as it pertains to nutrition and physical activities in the classroom;
  • Strategies to partner with children and families to promote wellness in young children.

We invite you for a fun-filled interactive day as we explore one or more of the following:

  • Chef Kid: Cooking with Children to Encourage Positive Food Choices;
  • Healthy Hearts for Head Start: Developing Healthy Hearts and Minds Through Movement;
  • Mouthwatering Morsels in Books: Connecting Literacy and Nutrition.

Are you looking for on-site, custom designed training on Working Together to Promote Nutrition & Physical Activities in the Classroom & at Home? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.