On The Road Again

We are so excited to be back on the road offering in-person training.  So many of our clients have expressed the desire for in-person training and we are happy to be able to provide it.  While live virtual trainings and webinars have filled a necessary void during the pandemic there are many advantages to in-person training.

  • Your trainer has the opportunity to read nonverbal cues. They can read the audience and adapt the training to best meet your program’s needs.
  • Trainings can be more interactive. Participants have a more active role.  They can practice the content that they are learning during the training.
  • Virtual trainings can be prone to distraction. The phone may ring; someone may stop by the office, causing the participant to lose focus.
  • Team building. In-person training allows your team to come together, building comradery. They can share experiences and learn from each other.
  • Trainings should have content that is customized to the specific needs of your program. Webinars are not customized, and the information can be outdated.

 

We recognize that many of our clients are not yet in the position to have in-person trainings or have found that they fill a need for their program, so we will continue offering our synchronous virtual trainings.

We are currently scheduling training for both in-service and pre-service as well as live CLASS™ Observations.  For information on our training topics please contact Susan Witek at (704)277-7473 or view our services.

New Year, New Training Opportunities with Essential Elements

The New Year is a great time to assess your program’s strengths and areas where there are opportunities for improvement. While it is a new calendar year, your Teaching staff, Policy Council, Governing Board, Family Service Workers, Management Staff and Support staff are halfway through the program year. This is the perfect time to take stock and “fine tune.”

If you have identified a need to strengthen family partnerships, assist teaching staff with challenging behaviors, create more effective transitions, increase Classroom Organization or Instructional Support scores, or strengthen your staff’s ability to interpret data to drive instruction, the second half of the program year is the perfect time for an in-service training. Implementing trainings to address identified areas for improvement as they are occurring is far more effective than waiting for the next year’s pre-service trainings.

Don’t wait, schedule your training while the year’s challenges are current and fresh in the minds of staff.

Our most requested in-service training topics amidst this year’s unique challenges are:

  • How to Have Hard Conversations (with families or staff).
  • Working with Challenging Families.
  • Change Your Questions, Change Your Life.
  • Self-Care and Team Building.
  • The “Well Oiled” Machine” (CLASS™-based Classroom Organization training).
  • Asking the Juicy Questions (CLASS™-based Instructional Support training).
  • Building Successful Relationships with Families-(navigating making connections during a pandemic).
  • Recognizing and Addressing Compassion Fatigue
  • CLASS™ The Heart of Teaching

You can learn more about our full list of training topics and services online.

Are CLASS™ Observations Important This School Year?

The answer is a definitive yes. And we can help with that.

Most of our clients have faced the challenges of re-openings in January following the winter break amidst another COVID variant, staffing shortages and classroom closures. Directors, Education Managers, Teaching staff and Support staff are having to wear many hats, making it challenging to complete the tasks outlined in their job duties.

If you and your staff are struggling with finding the time to complete internal CLASS™ observations, consider the benefits of external observations. Forgoing CLASS™ observations until staff are available to conduct observations 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.

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.
  • CLASS™ scores for each classroom observed.
  • An Excel spreadsheet with scores from all classrooms and a comparison to the Head Start Grantee competitive threshold and quality threshold.
  • A written summary of individual classrooms, highlighting strengths and recommendations for improvements that can be used by your staff for professional development.
  • 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 providing the above-mentioned data for those programs that are able to invite observers into their classrooms.

To learn more or schedule your CLASS™ observations, contact Kristine Cortina at (704) 451-3255 or kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.  You can learn more about our other services at www.HSEssentials.com.

In-Service Training

It has been a busy pre-service training season for Essential Elements and our clients! The Office of Head Start has indicated that programs should be at full capacity by January of 2022 and Federal reviews will soon resume.

With that in mind, now is the time to plan for in-service training. Here is what some of our clients and staff had to say about a few of our most requested training topics during the pre-service season:

Understanding Class™ to Increase CLASS™ Scores – This was one of the best trainings ever! It was difficult sitting still for two days, but I have great reminders, new ideas, and most of all the desire to have a great year using what we have been taught! The presenter kept us engaged and thinking about how and why we do every part of our day. :)Thank you for setting up this training. I am sure it was expensive, but the payoff could be priceless. :)” ~ Head Start teacher

Creating High Quality Classrooms-I think today was fabulous! I love the trainer’s personality and training style. She injects humor and reality into content that makes her very relatable and genuine. Her infusion/integration of Conscious Discipline, CLASS and Head Start knowledge is perfect.” ~ Education manager

High Quality Care for Infants and Toddlers-The trainer was amazing, best training ever and I learned so much.” ~ EHS Teacher

Economic Mobility for Head Start Families-This training was exceptional and far exceeded my expectations…really excellent, relevant and useful information!” ~ PFCE Manger

School Readiness for Early Head Start and Head Start Professionals-Great session; it was clear and easy to follow.  I would sign up for sessions with this presenter and encourage others to attend.” ~ EHS Teacher

COVID-19 Strengthening Routines and Procedures- “We sincerely appreciate Essential Elements. The presenter did a fantastic job of connecting with the staff during the keynote and all other training sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in on the training sessions and I learned quite a bit! I’d love to partner with Essential Elements in the future to provide more in-depth training to our staff in the areas of leadership, PBC, and EHS Services. Again, thank you for your support and I look forward to partnering with you soon.” ~ Vice President of Early Childhood Services

In case we missed you during pre-service, we offer the above trainings for in-service professional development virtually and in person. Here is a complete list of our training topics and services.

 

Why you SHOULD be doing CLASS Observations

CLASS observations Many programs gave a sigh of relief when the Office of Head Start announced that they would not be conducting CLASS observations this school year.  While this is certainly important given the challenging conditions the pandemic has created, this is NOT the time to relax when it comes to CLASS.

Teaching and classroom interactions have changed due to the constraints forced upon programs by Covid-19.  Following guidance put forth by Teachstone, we are conducting CLASS observations both virtually and in-person.  Teachstone guards against drift by observers by requiring annual recertification, and by offering calibrations.  Teachers can drift as well.  Small changes, over time, can result in straying from the interaction goals that CLASS is based on.  Continuing with CLASS observations will ensure that your staff continues to adhere to CLASS even with all of the current changes in your classrooms.

As outside observers, we have the objectivity needed to observe classrooms without the possibility of bias. While we understand the challenges your teachers are facing, we are less likely to make allowances for these challenges than internal observers might be.

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 Susan Witek at (704)277-7473 or SusanWitek@hsessentials.com.  You can learn more about our other services at www.HSEssentials.com.