An Instructional Design for Early Literacy Mentor-Coaches in Head Start and Early Head Start
Steps to Success (STS), a research based creative mentor-coaching program for MCs who work with teachers of young children, ages birth through eight years, offers an intensive yet flexible professional development strategy to improve the quality of direct service in early education and care settings, including Head Start and other center-based settings. ECA is implementing the Steps to Success program in Early Reading First projects in Massachusetts, Michigan and Maine.
In our approach, MCs participate in core training and then apply their coaching skills to support teachers in creating high quality learning environments, in using an intentional research based curriculum and assessment data to inform practice.
- Unit 1: Building Relationships to Promote Child Literacy Outcomes
- Unit 2: Observation of Staff and Analysis</p>
- Unit 3: Reflective Practices (for mentor-coaches and protégés)
- Unit 4: Using Child Assessment Information to Guide Instruction
MCs learn to use video as a coaching tool. They are provided with flip cameras and watch video of teachers implementing various evidence-based practices and discuss ways of using video to support teacher practices. ECA offers ongoing support to MCs as they work with teachers in addressing real classroom issues. ECA staff observe MCs in action and provide feedback and reflection. Additional resources include a Steps to Success (STS) professional development plan for MCs and a Decision-Makers Guide. Participants can receive college credit or CEUs for their participation.
Steps to Success (STS) is proven to be effective. The STS Model has six years of solid evaluation data to back it effectiveness in improving classroom language and literacy practices and learning outcomes for children. The data, available through the national Early Reading First Program, the University of Massachusetts and the Northern Michigan Community Action Agency, shows that in controlled conditions where treatment groups received the Steps to Success (STS) intervention, changes in teacher skills and dispositions and changes in student language and literacy outcomes were significantly better for the treatment group of teachers and children than the control group. Similar results were found over a five year period in both urban and rural settings for relatively large samples of children in the treatment groups (n=1,100) and control groups (n= 600) as well as for teachers (n=118). Under controlled conditions, classrooms where coaches used the Steps to Success (STS) protocol embedded in a professional conferencing/reflective practice model resulted in better teaching strategies, improved program quality, and significant positive difference on child outcome assessments compared to classrooms where coaching was not available.
STS is available online.