Currently, the Metropolitan Council on Early Learning (MCEL) is expanding the scope of existing programs and implementing new strategies to increase access to quality early learning.
Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Institute
Studies have shown a clear relationship between the quality of interactions between teaching staff and children and overall child outcomes. The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is well researched and has been adopted nationally by Head Start as a quality measurement and quality improvement tool. MCEL is currently implementing the CLASS Institute, working with area early learning teachers and administrators to pilot three different innovative models. These models will increase the number of early learning programs using the CLASS to help children succeed in the classroom and in life.
MyTeachingPartner (MTP) — In partnership with The Family Conservancy and Teachstone, MCEL is administering this pilot with 10 new teachers in three different school districts in the Greater Kansas City area. This model provides teachers with individualized support and feedback focused on their emotional, organizational and instructional interactions with children.
Supporting and Sustaining Quality Systems (SSQS) — This pilot program provides training and coaching over a 10-month period to preschool administrative teaching staff using the CLASS. Quarterly trainings are offered in a large group setting and monthly on-site coaching is provided to preschool lead teachers and administrators at each program to build a team of professional staff focused on improving their teaching practices.
Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI) — This interactive course is specifically designed for preschool teachers and led by trained instructors. The training provides 20 clock hours in 10 sessions. Through this training teachers are prepared to identify, understand, and apply stronger CLASS interactions to their classrooms.
Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP)
MCEL, in partnership with the Francis Institute and The Family Conservancy, is working to increase the number of teachers trained on the Desired Results Developmental Profile — a comprehensive child assessment program. The DRDP (2015) assessment instrument is designed for teachers to observe, document and reflect on the learning, development and progress for children, who are enrolled in early care and education programs. The assessment results are intended to be used by the teacher to plan curriculum for individual children and groups of children and to guide continuous program improvement. Four trainings were held in the last year and two more trainings are scheduled for late summer in 2016.
MCEL convened a group of kindergarten teachers, representing nine different school districts in the region, to develop a kindergarten draft screening instrument that could be used by all districts. The draft screening instrument covers the following developmental domains: cognitive, approaches to learning, language and literacy, physical and health, and social/emotional. The group verified that the draft was aligned with the Missouri Early Learning Goals and the Kansas Early Learning Standards. The committee is currently working to operationalize a screening assessment and then the participating school districts and several community-based programs will pilot the new screening tool during the upcoming school year.