Program Quality Improvement
Creating high-quality learning environments requires skilled and committed leaders to help shape teaching. Effective teachers engage in reflective practice; regular child assessment; and adopt curricula that make a difference in children’s development. Leadership is second only to teaching as an influence on learning. Both are linked to improved student outcomes and educational equity. ECA can consult with you on any topic below to improve the quality of your program.
Developing leadership capacity
ECA engages leaders to support teachers, through coaching, mentoring and technical assistance. These skills are not based on roles, but rather on functions of any leadership role invested in helping teachers grow. ECA will support you in the change process and work with you on how to engage in reflective and targeted performance feedback. We explore ways that leaders can encourage teachers to:
- Assess whether teacher instruction and effectiveness are improving over time
- Pinpoint student learning needs and changes required in instructional environments, and program policies and practices.
- Identify specific tactics that will improve personal practice
Supporting birth through grade three alignment
Leaders in early education and care systems serve as a critical catalyst for change in linking education efforts and creating a continuum of learning across this age group. ECA’s Leadership Institutes support leaders from school districts, community-based organizations, and family child care systems in building partnerships that will lead to improved school readiness, school success, and life-long opportunity for children. In ECA’s Leadership Institute education leaders explore – through dynamic presentations, case studies, and small group work – how educators of children birth through grade three can work together systemically. Additionally, we focus on best practices for designing a strong model of inclusion across these diverse program types.
Setting the stage for evidence-informed data driven decision making
Continuous improvement requires an ongoing examination of data. Educators need to know not only how to gather and analyze data but also how to use the data to set direction and guide staff development. Data informs educators’ work via a shared understanding of the evidence.
Data driven decision making is a process for using assessment results to improve teaching and learning. A quality data system enables educators to run reports, track progress, and evaluate effective strategies. ECA’s workshops on data driven decision making – such as Helping Teachers Use Assessment Data and Using Assessment to Inform Curriculum – provide teachers and education leaders with intensive learning and necessary tools for systematically collecting, organizing and analyzing multiple data sources to improve student performance.
ECA implemented Data Matters: Improving Student Performance and Assessing Instructional Effectiveness (DESE), a statewide model for creating communities of learners. Teaching teams and educational leaders developed a common vision and language of data-driven decision making. Training focused on the relationship between assessment, accountability and instruction: using data to identify effective practices, structure content specific learning, plan more effectively, and gather evidence of effectiveness.
Child and Classroom Assessment
We present strategies for linking assessment to instruction and for using assessment to improve student outcomes. Integrated into our work are the four essential elements of data driven instruction: multi-tiered model of service delivery; use of scientifically based materials and practices; integrated data collection and assessment systems; and a problem solving protocol.
Engaging adults in high quality instructional practices
Evidence-based instructional practices are approaches that are scientifically based and supported by a body of research that complies with the criteria for research quality.
ECA’s training and technical assistance focuses on the components of explicit instruction, including defining instructional tasks, scaffolding, strategic integration of skills, modeling and feedback, planned review and priming background knowledge and big ideas. Teachers examine their own practices – instructional pacing, strategies for creating interactive lessons, and maintaining student engagement. They crosswalk their practices to a best practice, inclusive based model. Once comparisons are made between actual and desired practices, teachers create action plans for making instruction more explicit and intentional.
ECA conducts Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) observations of pre-k through grade three; ELLCO (Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observations) and ECERS (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale) observation assessments and provides teachers with formal feedback; creates a summary report of findings; and provides recommendations for future PD/TA for teachers.
ECA also creates guidance for childcare regulations across settings, and has developed workforce competencies for several states.