Guiding Change in Systems, Sectors and Settings
By Kimm Quinlan (Region 1) and Carla Seymour (Region 5), each from Massachusetts’ Educator Provider Support (EPS) programs.
In March, we attended the Coaching 4 Change training hosted by Early Childhood Associates. During the
afternoon session, participants broke into small groups to discuss coaching strategies appropriate to the program type they work with: infants & toddlers, preschool OST or family child care. We focused our discussion on the skills and practice of supporting programs and coaches. Using the tool Guiding Change, Impacting Quality: A Guide to Technical Assistance in Settings Serving Infants & Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Children in Out-of-School Time Programs and their Families, we found several practices that we could put into effect right away.
We used Domain 2: Systems, Sectors, and Settings for Infant & Toddlers, Preschool and Out of School Care to direct our conversation. This Domain is closely aligned with the Massachusetts Educator Provider Support grant (EPS). EPS provides funding to support programs and educators to advance in Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS) and work toward NAEYC Accreditation. While most of the coaching training focuses on strategies to support educators, we were interested to find materials that address the needs of programs and by extension, support the coaches in finding strategies appropriate to program focused goals. What we found was that Domain 2 provides the appropriate guidance to meet this goal. Most coaches are comfortable helping teachers but often it’s a bit more difficult for them to find a pathway to help programs to set goals and make a reliable plan to reach them.
Subdomain 2.1 is system components, Subdomain 2.2 is program management and practice; and Subdomain 2.3 is resource and referral. Each subdomain helps to articulate the areas that coaches focus on to work towards program quality with all programs. The coaches in Carla’s region develop coaching plans with each program they work with but usually the focus is on the levels of QRIS or Accreditation and may not include some of the other components of Domain 2. Similarly coaches from Region 1 often focus on QRIS goals as levels, but have begun using the GROW plan introduced at last years coaching training, to develop four to six weeks goals that lead toward QRIS advancement.
Though the Guide to Technical Assistance does have a companion self-assessment tool, we think that it may
be worthwhile for EPS coaching supervisors to reflect deeper and develop a tool to help coaches assess their own knowledge base and skill level in each of the subdomains in Domain 2. This will help them to determine how best to help programs and what skills they need to develop to reach their coaching potential. This is a comprehensive domain for programs and well worth the effort of coaches to familiarize themselves with the subdomains and to use them to set goals and measure progress.