Ensuring School Readiness Through Successful Transitions

Uploaded by sedl on 06.08.2012

>> MARIANA FLORIT: Your moderator today is Tom Schultz. He’s the Project Director for
Early Childhood Initiatives at the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington
DC where he works with states to improve learning opportunities and outcomes for young children.
Prior to joining the Council, Dr. Schultz worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts where
he co-authored a recently-completed report, “Taking Stock: Assessing and Improving Early
Childhood Learning and Program Quality” based on the work of the National Early Childhood
Accountability Task Force. From 1995 to 2005, he served as a Senior Manager in the Head
Start Bureau where he led the development of initiatives in the areas of child assessment,
program evaluation, professional development and collaboration with other early care and
education programs. Tom, thank you for joining us. Please go ahead.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Thanks, Mariana. I’m excited to help facilitate the webinar this afternoon
on the topic of “Ensuring School Readiness Through Successful Transitions.” My job
is just going to be to introduce our four wonderful presenters and then get to as many
of your questions as possible. Before introducing our first presenter, I’d just make three
or four lighting-fast points from my experience in working on these issues. One is to know
the considerable history of organized efforts to improve the relationship between early
childhood programs in schools going back in my memory to the follow-through program that
was instituted in the late ‘60s through the Office of Education followed shortly by
a demonstration program called Project Developmental Continuity that was sponsored by the Head
Start Bureau. So we’ve been working on this issue for a good while. In my mind, there’s
a new urgency to these efforts to improve transitions for children because of our growing
awareness of the early onset of achievement disparities between disadvantaged kids and
their more advantaged peers so it’s not just a question of improving the relationship
in general between collaborative entities but we have a common challenge of trying to
prevent and ameliorate the achievement gap. I think the good news is that we’ve got
colorful new models and resources starting with new partnerships at the federal level
between folks at the top of the Department of Education and Health and Human Services.
We also have innovative models including the first school project that we’ll hear about
this afternoon, the PreK-3 Initiative and others. Finally, while I think this is an
issue that’s a challenging one, I’d also just offer the observation that for most young
children, the day they get ready to go to kindergarten for the first time is a day of
exciting achievement that they are thrilled, that their parents are proud of, that they
look forward to with great anticipation. So while I think we need to work as grownups
to make this transition successful, I think we ought to realize that in the lives of kids,
this is a really positive, exciting time. With that, I’m excited to introduce the
first presenter who we’re going to hear from this morning, who’s Steven Hicks who’s
going to be standing in for Dr. Jacqueline Jones. As many of you know, Jacqueline is
the Senior Advisor on Early Learning to the Secretary of Education and Steven works for
her as a special assistant and comes to the federal government with tremendous experience
as a former preschool and kindergarten teacher in the Los Angeles area. So we’re going
to hear some opening comments from Steven and we’re glad he could step in and stand
in for Jacqueline.
>> STEVEN HICKS: Thank you, Tom. I’m really delighted to be here. Especially as a former
preschool and kindergarten teacher, transition is really dear to my heart. I remember as
a preschool teacher starting – thinking about transitions for my young students from
the very beginning of their experience in preschool and coordinating activities with
the kindergarten teacher and then later as a kindergarten teacher, knowing how important
it was that I reached out to those early childhood programs, the head starts, the private providers,
the informal care providers, child care and the state preschool programs that set into
our kindergarten program so that there would be a real continuum of services and continuity
of services for those young children and families as they entered our elementary school. It’s
really exciting to see such a stellar panel of presenters for this afternoon’s webinar.
I’m sure that all of you on the line and watching this will really learn a lot and
get a lot of great expertise while you’re listening. At the Department of Education,
Secretary Duncan has really committed himself to a P-12 education reform agenda and our
early learning agenda here is focused on improving the health, social, emotional and cognitive
outcomes for all children from birth through third grade especially those with high needs
and here at Ed, this is really the first time that we’ve had this dedicated physician
in Jacqueline Jones as senior advisor to the Secretary and Early Learning as Tom was mentioning.
It’s really the first time we’ve had someone devoted to focus primarily on early learning
and of course, all of those transitions that you see from infant and toddler programs to
preschool programs to the K-3 programs. Over the last year, we’ve been working very closely
with our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services around six interagency
study groups focusing on key components on early learning and one of those teams met
throughout the year to help define the elements of parent, family and community engagement.
Last spring, the Department of Education and Health and Human Services together conducted
a listening and learning tour about early learning and one of those key foci was family
engagement sessions and that was in Orlando, Florida. We’ve also formed with the Department
of Health and Human Services along with the Office of Management and Budget and the DPC
over at the White House, the Domestic Policy Council, an interagency policy board that
conducted – is composed of senior staff from each of those agencies and they’re
working on joint statements. One of those joint statements is around family engagement
and that statement is going to include things like fostering partnerships between parents,
early learning and development programs and the elementary and secondary schools and the
districts in order to assist children and families as they make that transition from
the birth-to-five programs or the preschool programs to various learning environment.
From early care to preschool, from preschool to kindergarten, from kindergarten to the
elementary grades and then even all the way through the elementary grades as they go from
kindergarten to first and second and third grade. We’re also looking at making sure
that in our statement, we talk about the importance of engaging families and accessing and using
information about the quality of the child’s early learning program as well as providing
opportunities to have conversations with teachers using really critical data sources and other
information about their child’s progress and areas that they may need to work on or
strengthen at home and be a partner with to better prepare their child for school success.
In the reauthorization proposal that we’re making for the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act, we’re looking to strengthen the local education agency or the schools’ elementary
school plans that they would include promoting a continuity of services and effective transitions
for all children as they go from an early childhood birth-tofive program or preschool
program into the elementary school and then also making sure that those school plans include
activities to increase the coordination between the schools and the early learning program.
I know that this purposeful attention, these transitions that you’re focusing on this
afternoon is really critical to ensuring young children are successful in school and in life.
I know the expertise that you have on this webinar will give you key activities, lessons
learned, challenges and opportunities that you can take back whether you’re at the
state level or the district level or right in the classroom. Thank you again for letting
us be part of this and I hope you have a good afternoon.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Thanks, Steven, very much. Our understanding is that Steven won’t have
the opportunity to respond to questions this afternoon but if you have questions that you’d
like to be directed to the Department, folks, and want to send those to us, we will try
to include those in the set of questions that we provide responses to in terms of follow-up.
We’re next going to hear from Judith Jerald who’s a valued friend and colleague of mine,
who is currently at an organization called Save the Children but actually has gone through
a number of transitions in her own leadership and work as a child advocate that allow her
to speak with terrific experience to the topic this afternoon. She actually began her work
in early childhood as the founder and director of Early Education Services, a very comprehensive,
innovative and very wellrespected local program for young children and families in Windham
County, Vermont where she administered a wide range of early education programs including
early head start, preschool, head start, even start, state welfare reform and child care
contracts and school district preschool programs. That program was housed in the local school
district so she had experience working on the early childhood comprehensive array of
services from within a school district. From there, she moved to Washington DC in 1999
to be the first national coordinator of the Early Head Start Program where I got the opportunity
to work with her and where she had opportunity to address issues of transitions for first-time
parents as well as for parents moving from the Early Head Start Infant/Toddler Program
into various preschool and child care programs and then onto the school. Most recently, as
you note in the slide, she’s working at Save the Children where she administers a
new birth-to-five early childhood language and literacy program called Early Steps to
School Success that is focused on rural resource-poor communities throughout the United States and
also serves as a model for Save the Children’s work on a global scale in the early childhood
sector. So looking forward to hearing Judith’s comments and again if you want to start generating
questions, you can do that by typing them in on your computer as you listen to Judy
and watch the slides, so Judy?
>> JUDITH JERALD: Thank you, Tom. Thank you very much and I’m so delighted to be here
thinking about – talking to all of you all across the country is very exciting indeed.
We know that young children and families experience transition in many different ways throughout
a child’s young life. From home to childcare, they transition into preschool and then transition
into kindergarten and today, we are going to focus on preschool and kindergarten transitions.
These are important milestones as Tom mentioned. They really are rites of passage particularly
when a child is going into kindergarten. Even though that child may have been in Child Care
or Head Start or other preschool programs, it is an important milestone but it can also
be stressful. We look at transition as a threepart experience; the child, the parents and the
teacher or caregiver, [both those] who are sending the child on and those who are receiving
the child. It’s a two-way street for sure involving these three to four players so we
want to think about it as both a going-to and a comingfrom experience. We know that
moving from home to group care or from preschool to kindergarten can generate feelings of worry,
fear and stress but fortunately, there’s a lot that we can do to make a positive, smooth
transition. So why are smooth transitions important? Well, I would like to suggest that
for children, a thoughtful plan transition means less stress and fear, more confidence,
a positive outlook about where they are going and a greater sense of trust that is important.
For parents that build parent trust in their child’s ability to adjust and achieve in
a new setting, give some confidence in their own ability to let go, that is often quite
difficult and help their child adjust and achieve. Also they see themselves as partners
in their child’s educational experience and can have a sense of pride and commitment
to being involved in that. That’s what we want to build. They can also learn skills
in communicating and partnering with teaching professionals because although I know you
don’t look at yourselves that way, sometimes teachers are frightening to a parent. The
sending teacher may be sharing some of the sense of loss and letting go if they have
had this child in their school or in their child care setting for a while. So it’s
an opportunity for them to participate in this letting go as well and to support the
parent and act as a bridge from one setting to another. The receiving teacher school is
a very important player. That’s the person who really begins the home-school partnership.
That’s the stage for the next several years. Next slide please. So what are some of the
elements of school transition to school? Well, first of all, as you can see on this slide,
three times the word “relationship” is up there. It is all about relationship, folks.
I want to say also that it’s very important to build the school-parent relationships before
there are problems that need to be addressed so that there is a trusting relationship if
and when problems do arise. So what better time to do it when the parents and the children
first come into the school? We know that parent involvement depends upon how welcome a parent
feels in the school is a very important part of it. We also know that family involvement
in education boosts young children’s academic scores. It can. Research shows that. Some
other research shows that the strength of the relationship between a child and his or
her kindergarten teacher can predict how well the child will adapt to school and learn,
not just in kindergarten but over the following years. We know that children who transition
well, who have good experiences in kindergarten really are much better at accepting and becoming
accustomed to school routines, the policies and practices as they move through the school
system and as far as friendships are. As we think about that, we know there are very important
ingredients in a child’s school experience and that a teacher can play an important role
in helping to make those social connections between children and between parents as well.
Next slide please. So what are some useful tools for – what are some transition strategies?
Well, the first one I want to offer is plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute.
One of the things we used to say in early head start is transition begins as soon as
the child is enrolled. I think that this is true that at least six months before a child
is going to kindergarten, the sending teachers and the receiving teachers can begin to provide
activities and materials that support transition. Things such as offering names of books or
even giving books that have something to do with going to school, going to kindergarten,
sending letters home and holding parent group meetings. The more you can make these home-school
connections before school starts, the smoother it will be such as the mother staying. Next
slide please. Bringing parents together so that they can connect and share their concerns,
ask questions, visit the classroom. Also connecting, once the child is in school, making sure that
the parent and the teacher connect perhaps six to eight weeks into the school year so
the parents are really wondering, “Okay, how is she really doing?” The teacher by
this time may have some questions that they need, “Why is Joey so clingy all of a sudden?”
“Oh, maybe it’s because we just had a new baby.” Making sure that information
is sharing back and forth. Also at the very beginning, to offer parent volunteer opportunities
is one activity that’s one of my favorites which is on the first day of school when most
parents do bring their child even if they’re working, they get to work a little late on
that day because it is such a milestone that once the child goes into the kindergarten
classroom, there are other parent volunteers or school staff who can ask those parents
to join them for a short coffee klatch in which the parents can sort of talk with each
other about what this has been like, how they’re feeling about this and also sign up sheets
for volunteering. It’s a good way to begin that as well. Next slide please. It’s also
important for the sending and receiving schools to work together overtime, not just around
transition but for the preschool teachers or the child care centers and the school personnel
to build relationships that will support smooth transitions. For example, they could share
trainings during the year, get together to discuss the different curriculum materials,
the expectations that a kindergarten teacher may have for what a child will know coming
into kindergarten and parent meetings can also be shared by the sending and receiving
teachers and program. Field trips to the school, creating orientation packets together perhaps,
sending a letter home that is sent from both teachers, the childcare teacher or the head
start teacher and the kindergarten teacher. Making home visits together is another example.
One thing, and this does require some resources, but one thing that has proven to be successful
is something that’s called scamp, school camp where a kindergarten has – a school
district offers a kindergarten class for one week with the teacher, the kindergarten teacher
and with perhaps some preschool teachers who have worked with the children who are going
to be attending. In this way, the children get into the school before those older children
who are running up and down the corridors. Yes, they are. They get [Audio Gap] or the
school building, the bathrooms, the cafeteria, the library and it’s not so overwhelming.
What I’ve been told by teachers is that doing this one-week program gives the child
truly a head start in that they are able – the teachers are able to begin a lot of the work
that they do sooner because the routines are already in place and they felt that it gave
a very good beginning to the fall. Next slide please. Discuss group transition activities
but it’s also important to incorporate individual opportunities for the teacher and parents
to share information and to help the teacher get to know the child better. One way to do
that is through portfolio, so it’s something that we’re doing in our Early Steps Program.
For four years, the parent and child work on a portfolio and for the parent to be able
to [put] such a book or books maybe, to meet with the teacher, to share information, to
say, “This is my child. This is what my child can do. This is what my child needs.”
It’s also important for kindergarten teachers, early in the year, to have one-on-one meetings
so that they can focus on individual needs and strengths. Again, I would strongly suggest
that this happen before school starts and then again, early into the fall semester.
Next slide please. What is transition like for parents and children? It’s something
that I hope teachers ask themselves and show some empathy about parents are indeed excited
and as Tom said, children are excited too but they also may feel sad, the parents, and
conflicted because their child is less dependent upon them, worried perhaps about whether the
teacher in school would be good for their child, “Will the teacher like my child?
Will she do well? Will he make friends?” All of those things are very important for
teachers to recognize and be available onto discuss if needed. It’s also important that
the school helps the parents prepare the child for kindergarten. Give information out to
the parent suggesting that the parent practice self-help skills with the child, zipping a
coat, filling backpacks, washing hands, toilet habits and this may sound strange but to be
sure that a child knows his name. Sometimes children have nicknames and they don’t recognize
it. Some of the teachers may [Audio Gap] some things [of that]. Next slide please. I want
to briefly share some discussion prompts that I think can be helpful to teachers when they’re
meeting with parents. It can help both the parent and the teacher focus on their knowledge
and hope for the child. Next slide and you will see some of these. Learning and growing
in kindergarten is a very important discussion for children and teachers to have and some
of the questions that teachers can ask parents or have parents even doing a questionnaire
include things like having the parent say, “You know, what I like most about my child
is” and “What I find most challenging about caring for my child is” or “Three
hopes that I have for my child are? On slide fifteen now, just some other – this could
also be in a questionnaire sort of situation in which both the teacher and the parent can
be talking about, “My child is happiest” or “I know this” - as the teacher could
say, “Your child is happiest when she is in the [book] corner.” “I think my child
needs help with” or “I think your child needs help with” and so forth. Next slide
please, slide sixteen. What I really like, the tool here that I really like has to do
with setting goals together that parents and teachers together sit down and say, “What
are our goals for the child now? What do we want her to be able to do in three months,
in six months and what are the kinds of things that you can do at home and that I can do
in school as a teacher that will help make this child do that. How can we work together
to best support the child?” Now wouldn’t this practice be wonderful to continue throughout
all the child school years right into adolescence, really working together on behalf of that
child. Slide seventeen please. I have devoted only one slide to challenges and there’s
a reason for that because I don’t believe there really is any reason why positive, strong
school transition and home-school partnerships can’t happen. Although there are challenges,
I think that if we think about it in terms of the relationship that we need to build,
that is absolutely crucial to this child’s success in school that it can be done. Time
of course is an issue. Parents are working and school personnel need to be aware of that
and be supportive of what they can do to meet with parents when parents can meet. We know
that the resources are shrinking in school budgets and that some of the things that are
suggested may not be possible and also sometimes it’s a challenge in rural areas to make
the kinds of home-school connections that we need to make. It is a challenge if the
family does not speak English, if the home language is not spoken in the school. There
are challenges when there are special needs in migrant populations but it really comes
down to knowing and accepting as a community that this is an important thing to do, to
support positive home-school relationships that begin with transitions in school. Thank
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Thanks very much, Judy. We’re getting a number of questions and we want
to make sure that we get a chance to direct some of those to Judy before we go on to our
next presenter and I guess one that I think is increasingly of interest to schools and
early childhood programs that ties into your focus on the importance of relationships is
how - [the advice you] would provide in terms of the challenges, the transitions, working
successfully to promote the transitions for parents with limited English proficiency,
the increasing number of communities that are having families from immigrant backgrounds
and refugees that are coming into early childhood programs and then moving on into schools.
So we’d love to hear any response you have on that.
>> JUDITH JERALD: Sure. It’s a very good question. It’s very important because it
is a challenge and very often, many of these families are moving into rural areas or communities
where there are knots because of that language so it is very important to address and to
look at. I think another part of that is that culturally, very often, some families coming
from other countries have not had an experience of being involved in the school in a partnering
way in which we expect in the United States. So I think the first step is to really try
to help bring that parent in as a partner and help them or parents help them understand
that they are welcome, that they are needed. How do you do that? Well, of course, it’s
very important that somebody speaks their language and there are often community folks
who can come to a parent-teacher meeting and help with that or a family relative who does
speak English who can be included. I think that the approach that the teacher makes,
the acceptance and the respect for that family’s culture as well as language by demonstrating
things in the classroom, by sharing cultural things are very important.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Thanks very much. Another question that came in from a participant has
to do with, while affirming the importance of relationships, again, asking about the
issue of whether there are ways to use technology to increase the opportunities to communicate
with parents, between parents and schools, sharing plans, sharing data. I’ve been in
a number of meetings with programs recently that have been saying that younger parents
of young children are extremely tech savvy and they’re used to living on their cellphones.
So I wonder if you either have experiences or ideas about ways in which the importance
of in-person relationships and communications can be complemented with use of technology.
>> JUDITH JERALD: Absolutely and in fact, it was part of my presentation but I had to
cut it short. I had too much. I could talk about this forever. The texting, I’m glad
you mentioned that because one of the things we’re finding in our home visiting program
is you want to contact a parent to see if they’re going to be home for the home visit,
text them. Don’t call them. Don’t email them, text them. Don’t send a letter, text
them. That seems to be very good but another thing that many teachers in schools are doing
is that they have sites set up so that they can, in a way, a parent can go on and see
what the curriculum is for the next week, what the lunch menu is for the next week.
They can be asking questions, “Could you please have your child bring such and such
into school because we’re going to be studying X?” All of those kinds of emailing and going
online to communicate I think are very important and very doable because what we find anyway
is that most parents do have access to a computer somehow.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Great. We’re doing great. Another question that has come in has to do
with at a program level, how different early care and education programs can share assessment
information that they may have collected on children? Another dimension of this would
be for the many children who may be involved in special education in their early childhood
years and are going to be going into school and how to address the transition there. So
I guess it’s a two-part question, sharing assessment data and the transition for families
who have young children with disabilities.
>> JUDITH JERALD: Yes. In terms of the assessment data, it certainly is necessary that that
information gets shared and I think that the relationship between the sending program,
the parents and the receiving program is how that should be shared. It should be shared
in a meeting. The portfolio that I mentioned is a way to do that so that the teacher can
really get a picture of the child over time. I think it can also be shared by teacherto-
teacher meetings that a sending teacher can share information oneon- one with a teacher.
When that happens I think depends on the individual. Sometimes teachers don’t want that information
until they get to see the child for a few weeks themselves because they don’t want
to color their own opportunity of learning to know that child. In terms of disabilities,
I think we’re better set-up in the schools to be doing that because the services that
the child has often been receiving comes or has been receiving often comes through the
school districts and so those teachers already have a relationship. They know each other.
They can get together more easily but if the child is coming from some place else and also
in order to include the parent and the other people who work on the individual plans for
these children, they need to get together in a meeting so they all know who’s doing
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Terrific ideas. We got time for about one more question and I’ve been
thinking that it might be worth asking you to offer some reflections on your experience
in working in very rural communities in the United States and both the strengths and possible
challenges of connecting early childhood partners, families and schools at this transition point.
>> JUDITH JERALD: Thank you. As you know, one in five of our rural children are - even
more in some places much higher are living in poverty and one of the things that we’re
trying to do at Save the Children is go into these communities that are very poor and really
make the connections to the schools. So we are in the schools and this is one of the
things that I would suggest if any rural school can do this is to have somebody be at a – it
doesn’t have to be a school personnel, it can be somebody else in the community but
somebody who connects these young children and families with the school at a very early
age. Sort of like a family resource center because if you can get those children and
families connected when they’re babies, it’s a much more positive situation. Transportation
is a huge issue. In rural communities, it’s very hard to get parents to the school so
that’s one reason that home visiting also works. I would say that both - one of the
challenges and also one of the beauties of working in small rural communities is that
everybody knows everybody else. It’s a challenge because they know all the bad things those
parents did when they were in school. They’ve got an opinion about that family and it’s
a good thing because they’re connected and they know each other and they want to help
each other. I could go on forever, Tom, but I know you don’t want me to.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Thanks a lot.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: That’s wonderful and we appreciate this great kickoff following Steven
and we’re now going to turn to our third presenter, Dr. Sharon Ritchie. Sharon is a
Senior Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University
of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and currently is the co-director of a really innovative
and exciting program called FirstSchool that is working currently in North Carolina and
Michigan. I believe soon to possibly expand to some other states and it’s basically
an effort to rethink education for children ages three through third grade with a particular
focus on African-American, Latino and low-income students. Prior to beginning her work at FirstSchool,
she was on the faculty at UCLA where she co-directed three major research projects that examined
early childhood and early school practices. She also worked as a teacher-educator at UCLA.
She’s been involved in a number of other national initiatives including creating materials
for NAEYC accreditation and doing studies of accreditation and her original background
is a special educator. So we’re excited to have the opportunity to hear next from
Dr. Sharon Ritchie and I’ll turn it over to her.
>> SHARON RITCHIE: Alright. So we too are interested that the pathway be smooth across
the traditional transition points and believe that the big picture alignment and integration
of curriculum programs and practices that will ultimately make these important transitions
seamless. So we are a preK-third grade initiative and I think the important words are preKthird
because we really believe that [igniting] the best of early childhood elementary and
special education is key to making the experience with the young children as vital as they should
be. We all have so much to learn from one another as we take what we know is the best.
I think it’s in the best interest of young children. We believe that public school work
is very important as well. We’re not saying that we want to have it in the special or
private school programs. We’re saying that we have to work in the real world where real
kids are and that we take our work seriously in the public sector and we really do want
to focus on those who have been traditionally underserved by our schools and we really work
in our poorest schools with our high minority population. So, why preK-3 education? The
children are already in schools so how do we maximize the fact that we have many of
our kids in schools by ages three and four. Sadly, we know that a lot of children are
not doing well and that retention is both expensive and ineffective and then the further
we get to these fade-out arguments and like some notions that if you just - if preK is
really as good as it should be, well then why aren’t kids still achieving by the time
they’re fourth or fifth grade. To me that’s sort of like saying, “Well you had breakfast
already so why on earth would we want to have lunch and dinner as well?” That’s just
like, “Let’s give them that very solid start that they need in order to make sure
that they’re really ready by the time they reach fifth grade.” So where did our work
come from? We did studies in the early 2000s across 11 states looking at hundreds and hundreds
of classrooms. Although the results were not positive, it surely did give us the picture
of what it was we wanted to work on, and certainly the things that Judith was talking about,
about the alignment between Pre-K and elementary is, “What is it that we do to take the greatest
advantage of the fact that we have young children and how do we smooth that move for them into
elementary? How do we improve that communication between teachers across that stand as well?”
We saw that there were low ratings on classroom quality and sadly what we continue to know
that our poorest children are in the lowest quality classrooms. We really also wanted
to spend time looking at how to improve the school experiences of children, that they
have more meaningful interactions, that they have less time in transitions and routine.
So, part of the way that we work with schools is that we really do use data not to evaluate
schools, but rather to help them inquire into practice. We’re not in the business of saying
that you’re doing this right, wrong or indifferently but rather offering schools, individuals,
teachers and grade levels and things to think about, views of their practice that they don’t
normally get. We’re going to be looking at that in a second. Also to help them develop
the structures, the support, the kind of work that Judith was describing and even more.
So how do we really have those things in place to make sure that we’re communicating and
that there is continuity? Finally, how do we get kids off to a really good start by
rethinking what’s important to have them be ready to do? In front of you, you have
some data that we gather on every single teacher in Pre-K through third grade classrooms in
the schools where we work in. As I said, we don’t use it to evaluate them but rather
sit down with them as individuals and as grade levels to have them look at their data and
become curious about this. So you have in front of you two things. One, we’re going
to look at the experiences of children as they move from Pre-K and K and also look at
some of the differences between what teachers believe about what’s good for children and
in essence, what really [happens] for them. These graphs read like a clock, so you’re
going to be looking at what’s called basic, which are for us the transitions and then
down to the open [snack pulses], etcetera. Just in a sense, we’re looking at transitions
from Pre-K to K and we’re thinking about, “This is on the backs of five and six-year
old children that they’re experiencing…” If you look at the gray triangle and the black
large space on the Pre-K and the large gray space and black space on the kindergarten,
you’ll see that it’s that whole group and choice time has basically slipped. These
numbers are percentages of time. If you want sort of the minutes of time just multiply
times four, but you can see that there’s a dramatic difference in what children experience
and how much time is given to thinking about what that means for children to move from
19% of their day to 32% of their day in whole group times, that their opportunity for choice
dropped from 36% of their day to 12% of the day, and how do teachers talk to each other
about making that transition smoother and about what it is philosophically that makes
you make those decisions. If you go to the bottom graph which is corresponding to the
one on your right, we’re looking at – when we talked to the kindergarten teachers about
what they believed was a way of how kid should spend their day versus what was happening,
you see particularly in the bottom three triangles on the kindergarten - at least that they believe
that children should have a very balanced experience, but in fact when we go in their
classrooms that’s not what’s happening. So what are the conversations that you have
in order to help them think about why that’s true? Here we were particularly looking at
the experiences of minority boys and how groupings were affecting them and really saw that for
these features that their minority boys were far more attentive in the small group settings
than in the individual and whole group settings. Of course that’s not just such an easy thing
to say because to have success in small groups, you have to make sure that kids are autonomous,
that kids can be independent, that kids can function as community members, so that there’s
all of those things that have to be in place in order for kids to be able to benefit from
small group [instructions]. Here we were looking at the content and the things that children
were engaged in and in this particular teacher’s classroom, these children have opportunities
to do lots and lots of different things. They have access to a wide variety of literacy.
They get to have math and science. They’re moving around a lot. In other teachers’
classrooms, we see far less in the way of balance of children’s experiences that they
may not be read to at all. They may have only phonics instructions, that they might not
get around to science and so how do we talk to teachers about how we help them have more
of those [experiences]? We also need to collaborate for continuity and this means of course that
communication is essential to the seamless education. So [ready] schools are importantly
getting schools ready for children instead of children ready for school and that takes
a real different kind of a mindset. It also takes a willingness to really look at your
school and do self-assessment and be critical about many aspects of your school to develop
groups of people to look at schools that cover that Pre-K to third grade span and to really
focus on the importance of leadership not just at the administrative level but also
develop [team] leaders within the teachers. It’s also the development of professional
learning communities, and that is really more of the use of school data and the development
of reflective practitioners at both vertical [themes] and horizontal that you look across
the Pre-K-3 span as well as really paying attention to what’s happening in each of
the classrooms at a particular grade level. Finally, truly family engagement [teams] who
are creating multiple and varied opportunities for communication between teachers and families,
to have schools demonstrate a genuine interest in the children and their families, and finally
to collect data through a variety of methods. We do focus groups where we really thought
with parents about their real interest in their children and what those relationships
should look like. Rethinking foundational processes, Judith talked a lot about relationship-relationship.
I couldn’t agree more. I think that relationships are essential and we truly do know that the
positive relationship between a child and the teacher is essential for optimal learning.
The teacher regulation is too often replacing self-regulation and that is essential to kids
doing well that they learn to delay gratification and reduce [simple activity] but this takes
real attention. It’s not going to happen by itself. Then finally to make sure that
children have a lot of opportunities to represent their learning, prescribe curriculums that’s
cut out a lot of the opportunities for teachers to hear from children verbally, to see graphically
and [pictorially] how and what they’re learning. So, really, to be able to open up those opportunities,
because if the children are ready for school then those transitions are going to be smoother
for them. So that was a very quick view of FirstSchool and I’ll turn it back to Tom.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Thanks very much, Sharon. It’s really terrific to be able to hear
about the ideas that underlie your initiative and actually one of the first questions that
we’ve received has to do more with helping people understand the scope of your activity,
where you’re now working and are you available to provide help to other schools that are
interested in these ideas?
>> SHARON RITCHIE: Well so we do work on three different levels. Our major and most intense
work is to work with four schools in North Carolina and four in Michigan where we’re
in multiyear projects to really help schools look at this data, develop the collaborative
structures, etcetera. We also work at a state level at both North Carolina and Michigan,
particularly in North Carolina. We’re working with their demonstration Pre-K and K sites
and also working to the ready schools movement that is very important in North Carolina.
We’re trying to highlight some of the things that we do in the intensive consultation.
Then nationally, we’re working on developing the institutes, so that people can come in.
We’re not ready to do these yet but these are certainly on the agenda, to look at FirstSchool
as a large overview but also to come in and really focus on different aspects, focus on
instructional practice, focus on the effective use of data, focus on home-school partnerships.
So, sort of two different directions: one a more general one and one a more specific
one. So we’re hoping to have literature out on that in the near future.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Wonderful. Another question that people have posed has to do with whether
you’re dealing with issues of health and wellness ed for school as a problem area or
is an area where you’re finding you can promote more responsiveness a family needs?
>> SHARON RITCHIE: Well, I’m not sure that I’m going to answer that as directly as
you asked it but we’ll see. I think the things that we feel that were good at focusing
on are the importance of nutrition and exercise and fresh air. We’re seeing so much of – with
all of the pressure and the testing that the first thing that seems to go is recess time
and gym time and time to really move around. So we’re really trying to help schools recognize
that it’s that movement and nutrition and fresh air that actually helps kids learn.
It’s not to shorten up their meals and snacks and to not give them that opportunity is,
in the long run, detrimental to kids. I think also in our home-school partnerships, that
part of making those successful is really helping schools identify community resources,
and so identifying ways that they can have medical home and to have proper dental care
and how schools can facilitate that and have the resources on hand is an area that we’re
working on and I would not say that we’ve made huge headway. Again, with all of the
budget cuts, school nurses are non-existent, social workers are harder to come by and they’re
trying to deal with five and six schools. It’s a very troubling situation.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Thanks. Very good response. Another question I think people - and I’m
impressed with the approach that you’re taking to using various kinds of data in kind
of a diagnostic, professional development approach rather than, as you said, to evaluate
individuals. I think at the same time there is a question about how you’re approaching
the evaluation of this initiative in terms of what kinds of outcomes you’re looking
for and looking at and as well, are you seeing some promising outcomes in terms of progress
based on the schools that you’ve been working with the longest?
>> SHARON RITCHIE: Okay. So we’re just not quite in [unintelligible] it, but yes, of
course we want to. So we do have a whole other set of data that looks at us that we don’t
share with the teachers, but one of our data sources is the class of Bob Pianta out of
the University of Virginia that really will let us know what effect we’re having on
emotional climate and on instructional approaches and on classroom organization. We’re also
particularly interested in seeing we’re looking at attendance, at discipline, at retention.
Has attendance improved? Is retention less? Are parents participating in greater numbers?
Are there more opportunities for parents [to come]? So those are some of the kinds of things
we’re looking at. Are PLs, are professional learning communities more prevalent? We do
a lot of quantitative data but we do a lot of qualitative as well. So, what is the quality
of those [schemes] that we’re looking at how the school developed as a learning community
not just at the grade level but how it begins to function as a community. I think becoming
a reflective practitioner and becoming curious about children and being willing to inquire
into what’s happening and take a great interest I think are sort of the very large goals for
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Terrific. Maybe we have time for one last question and I asked Judith to
talk about the special issues in rural communities. I know from past conversations with you that
one of the things you’ve been looking at as a particular priority in schools that you’ve
been working with is the issue of African-American males and their early school experience. I’m
wondering if you could share a few thoughts about what you’re seeing there in terms
of what needs to happen to be more responsive to what those youngsters need. We know that
their achievement is a problem in the later school years so how are you looking at that?
>> SHARON RITCHIE: Well I think one of the main things that we think about is improving
the school experiences for children and so what does that really mean? So often it’s
our African-American boys who are in trouble all the time. One of things we’ve really
started to talk to teachers about are their arbitrary rules, sort of the crisscross applesauce,
the walking with your hands behind your back, the silent lunches and who is overrepresented
in terms of getting in trouble for those kinds of things and really start talking to teachers
about what the function of their rules are and to even take – sometimes you just do
things out of habit and aren’t really thinking about it. Teachers have started to give a
great deal of – have really paid attention to who’s getting in trouble and how useful
is it to take away recess to make sure that they don’t get the ice cream party. So,
teachers want to have their children have good experiences and I think just bringing
that up and offering awareness has really changed the conversation. I think another
thing that we’ve talked about is how oftentimes that the African-American boys are so easily
hurt by things like not getting to be first or feeling that something unjust has happened
to them and really recognizing that of course they can’t solve that problem that children
cannot be hurt every time, but rather really noticing for how long children shut down and
are absent for learnings that they become sullen and angry and they’re going home
with those feelings and not eager to come back. So, how do you go back and how do you
really develop the relationship and make sure that you validate the feelings, that you make
sure a child does return the next day and then that development of that relationship.
So there are a lot of things to talk about but those are two of the things that we talked
about with teachers quite a lot.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Wonderful. Thanks so much for all that you’ve shared with us this
afternoon and for folks who’ve put in questions that we weren’t able to get to, we are going
to try to respond to a select group of those in the follow-up to the webinar. Our final
presentation this afternoon is going to be from Whitcomb Hayslip who is a former assistant
superintendent at the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he worked for many
years and was in that role responsible for programs serving over 35,000 young children
between birth and five years of age. He’s currently working as a consultant on a variety
of projects including the state level, transitional kindergarten initiative that he’s going
to talk about in a little bit with us, as well as in California, as well as educator
in Los Angeles. He has done graduate training in both child development and special education
and began his career as a teacher of infants and toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten-age
children. I’m looking forward to his comments and then to taking your questions for him.
So I’ll turn it over to Whit.
>> WHITCOMB HAYSLIP: Thanks, Tom. First of all, I want to talk about the fact that I’m
going to be dealing with the specific model that we’re using here in Los Angeles. I’m
very clear about the fact that LA is a unique community and so that as I’m talking about
this, it’s not that I’m saying that you’re going to necessarily replicate exactly what
we’re doing here in LA, but I hope that there are some lessons that we have learned
through this that maybe applicable both in urban and rural communities throughout the
country. Then I’m going to be talking about a program we’re calling “transition kindergarten”
and really trying to put it in the context of the [whole] continuum from actually birth
through third grade. First of all, I want to sort of talk about the genesis of this
program. First of all, California is one of only four states that the required kindergarten
admission date as late as December and most of you around the country do not have that
date in December. We’re only one of four states that have it. Most have moved it up
to August, September and there are either a couple of states that have moved it as early
as June. So, at the same time, we know that we have very rigorous kindergarten standards
in California. If you compare our standards with other states, you’ll see that we’re
talking about very rigorous standards for our youngest children in our K-12 system.
Then finally, and that this came about as a study that we had done by Dr. Linda Espinosa
and Dr. Marlene Zepeda, who were looking particularly at our dual language learners, our LA Unified
School District. As they looked at those dual language learners, they discovered that what
was happening was that if we looked at our children as they moved through our system
that our kindergarten-age children looked quite good, that we had children who were
exiting kindergarten looking quite good in terms of our curricular-based assessments
but when we looked at our Grade 2 California Standards Tests, our English-Language Arts
scores raised great concern. So actually the same cohort of children that looked positive
and progressing at the end of kindergarten did not look good at the end of second grade.
So all of this came together for us to really evaluate what was going on. One of things
we considered was, “Why did this one cohort of children looked positive at the end of
kindergarten but not at the end of second grade?” We started evaluating what was the
content of our kindergarten program, our first grade program, our second grade program. We
realized that our kindergarten program was actually very, very heavily directed towards
decoding, whereas in the second grade program that there was much more emphasis on meaning
and comprehension. I began to feel that we had a group of children who were moving through
our system that really had not had the foundation in what we want to call language development
and concept development. How we responded? We looked at this and so our superintendent
and our chief academic officer proposed a new transition kindergarten program for the
youngest kindergarteners. So what we did was to look at a few other districts in California
who had acknowledged the fact that we were putting very, very young children into a very
academically-rigorous program and it piloted the use of a new program for the youngest
kindergarteners. So our superintendent and chief academic officer thought this was one
way that we could begin to address this transition issue, that we got some support from both
the Packard Foundation and the Boeing Corporation to provide funding for the development of
the program. We were extremely fortunate to have Dr. Linda Espinosa from University of
Missouri be named as the chief consultant in that program development and she’s played
a very key role along with this, this first year in our implementation. We were also very
fortunate that our Title 1 committee here in the district allocated a substantial amount
of money to help support the initial program implementation and professional development.
I know that it’s very clear in Title 1 guidelines about the use of Title 1 money around early
childhood. Unfortunately, if you look at what’s going on around the country, many districts
do not. So we were extremely fortunate that our Title 1 committee looked at this issue
and saw the importance of it. So what happened was last fall we implemented this program
with 36 schools and that we’re going to be adding an additional 80 schools in the
fall of 2001. Then what happened right at the end of the calendar year was that the
legislature in California voted to change the kindergarten age and actually to implement
this transitional kindergarten program for our youngest kindergarteners statewide. [Unintelligible]
on the goal of this program is to provide our youngest kindergarteners with the [readiness
year] that’s developmentally appropriate and better prepare them for success once they
enter kindergarten. I also want to talk about the importance of this program in terms of
transition for all children. That has to do with the fact that we have a quite effective
set of what we call our early learning foundations for birth to five in California. Some states
call those standards. We call them “early learning foundations” but all of our programs
in California are publicly-funded programs including Head Start, adhere to those early
learning foundations. We also have a very clear and designated set of California kindergarten
standards. What we have discovered is that continuum from our early learning foundations
to our kindergarten standards are not clearly implemented and also understood by both parents
and teachers. So one of the goals of this program was to really be able to say, “How
are we helping teachers, how are we helping parents understand the connection on that
continuum from our early learning foundations to our kindergarten standards?” Our statewide
Early Learning Council has now decided then with our state school board that we’re actually
going to designate this and come up with some clearer guidelines so that we can show that
continuum for all of the programs in the state. Also when we started to design this program
with Dr. Espinosa, we’d looked at what we’re calling traditional kindergarten. This is
the kindergarten growth program we have been running. As I stated early, we looked at our
curriculum and it had a very heavy emphasis on decoding. While we looked at language and
communication and socialemotional development in our kindergarten program, we clearly saw
that the focus is on decoding. In this transition kindergarten program as we’re trying to
give children stronger foundations, we really flipped that so that we really were saying,
“The focus of transition kindergarten is language communication and social-emotional
development with decoding.” So we’re not saying there’s not decoding in transition
kindergarten, but the emphasis has been flipped between the two programs. Also that we have
felt that the very important element in all of this has been engaging families both in
terms of understanding development, but actually understanding what is a brand new grade in
California, and helping families understand that this is not holding children back or
putting children back or remedial in any way but is really foundation along a continuum
of development. So one of things, we have a hugely diverse population in Los Angeles
and actually primarily Latino, so that we have more than 80% of our kindergarten children
Latino and more than 65% are dual language learners. One of the tools that we have used
is both traditional and ethnic media. We have had great, great cooperation from both the
Los Angeles Times, Univision and TeleMundo and they were very interested in a new program
and were anxious to get positive stories. There are so many negative stories about education.
So we’ve had great success in both print and video media in terms of talking about
the program. We also talked about personalized context from both teachers and administrators
at transition kindergarten side. I want to stress the personalized context. Many of our
schools have been doing what we call “kindergarten roundup” or meetings where we brought together
teachers and parents together. That schools that have been most successful are ones that
follow that up with actually individual meetings with families. So they began to lay that foundation
for collaboration and work. The principals who do it say it’s hard work to try to find
that time to meet with each of those families but we see a real difference when that happens.
Also some of the schools have designated what we call “parent ambassadors”. So these
are kindergarten and first grade parents who actually work with the [unintelligible] families
to help them understand what they’re going to be benefitting from, what’s coming in
and how the whole system works. Next, we also realize that the teaming with the preschool
staff members to bridge this so that we need to educate and talk a lot about transition
kindergarten with preschool teachers. They need to know about the content, the curriculum,
what’s happening in it because they have the relationships with those families and
so that we see that the more we work with them, the better our families are in connecting.
Kindergarten teachers and preschool teachers need to know more about their curriculum and
what’s happening there. I will tell you honestly, this works best when we have collocated
programs where we actually have preschool programs on the side and that’s the case
in many of our schools in Los Angeles. Then finally is the use of family members as expert
informants in program planning. So that one of the things we have learned with Dr. Espinosa’s
help is it is not just about telling a parent about the program but it is learning from
the parent about their child. So one of the things that Dr. Espinosa has designed for
us is a parent interview and languages interest survey that we do with families. We sit down
with families and we talk about what’s going on, what languages are used in the home, what
their concerns are for their child. It’s different than what we normally do in terms
of language testing. This is to find out what’s going in the household, what the family prefers,
what they want and how the child has been exposed in terms of their early experiences.
Now here’s some activity, some specific activities we’ve used in our program. First
of all, the one I just referred to which is the family languages and interests interview.
This is a time where teachers sit down with families and actually talk about the development
of language, talk about culture and talk about the family’s values and what they want for
their child. The next thing we’ve been using is a wonderful program called Abriendo Puertas
or Opening Doors. This is a comprehensive parent leadership and advocacy training program,
evidence-based and it is distributed nationally through a group called Families in Schools.
This is really addressing the sort of unique needs that some of our families have and as
I said in LA Unified, the majority of our families in terms of coming from a Latino
culture. Next we have a wonderful program called Me Gusta Leer and I Like to Read, which
is a home lending library program. Backpacks that we funded from the Boeing Corporation
go back and forth with books in both English and Spanish, helping families understand that
their reading to their child in their home language is helping their child academically.
In the past, we had done a lot of sort of sending books home in English to Spanish-speaking
families. So this is a program that really acknowledges what the new brain research is
showing about the benefits of dual language acquisition. We also have been working with
a wonderful group in Palo Alto, California called Bring Me A Book Foundation and they’ve
been doing workshops with our families’ parents as well as teachers, which is really
talking a lot about dialogical reading and not just sending books home, but really giving
parents some guidelines about the benefits that they can gain from the use of those books.
We also are doing family activity nights. One of the things that when we met with the
36 school principals and teachers before we started the program, they said, “We’re
tired of the old, stale parent education meetings and activities.” So we’ve taken a much
more hands-on activity-based approach. So we’re doing activity nights where children
and families come together. We focused this year on literacy and mathematics activities
where families come and do those together with all of the siblings and all of the children.
The next that goes along with that is what we call Road to College family field trips.
This came as a direct request from principals and teachers. So what we are doing on Saturdays
and this again is with some support from the Boeing Corporation, we’re taking the whole
family to colleges and universities and we sort of have a dual purpose here. Majority
of our families have not experienced higher education so we’re opening the door to that,
exposing them to that and that what’s interesting to us is that the colleges and universities
have been very open to this and are actually planning activities for the children. So it’s
not just children going in and just trailing along with their families, but some of the
child development programs at the universities are working to make this a fun experience
for both the adults and the children. As we’ve mentioned earlier, they were having a lot
of volunteer opportunities and this is for both families who can come into the classroom
but also for families who may not be able to. So helping us with preparation of materials,
calling, whatever they can do but including them in it. Then finally, use of newsletters
and ConnectEd communication system so that we have a technology system where our teachers
can send multiple messages to all of their families through the telephone and then the
families can [come] back and leave a message for the teachers through that system. Okay.
Next steps that we have – we’ve only just begun. As I said, we did 36 classrooms this
year. Over the next three years, we have to grow to 600 of those classrooms. We will be
serving between 12,000 and 13,000 children in this program within three years. So we’re
also trying to share the lessons learned in the development of this program along the
whole P-3 continuum. Many of the strategies we talk about for children and families are
not unique to transition kindergarten, so we’ve been trying to do more of our professional
development along the P-3 continuum. One of the most exciting things that has happened
about this is that how we’ve really created new lines of communication. Sometimes when
you focus on something new it leads you into areas. So that what happened at these schools
was when we created this brand new grade level which was called transition kindergarten,
the teachers weren’t quite sure whether they should be meeting with the preschool
teachers or whether they should be meeting with the kindergarten teachers. So what it
really did was force a bridge there and so now all of our schools that are involved,
we actually see meetings going in with the preschool, with the kindergarten, with the
transition kindergarten, with the transition kindergarten teacher being a link for that.
Another thing we’re doing is to really look at use of data. We’re doing some assessment
within our transition kindergarten program that we’re entering into the school data
system and then we’re talking about how that’s going to be transitioning on to kindergarten
and first grade and how we use that and then form instruction from it. One of the things
that has always concerned me is that we have nearly 40,000 children in our Early Childhood
program and many times our kindergarten classes start as if every child was coming in at the
same place. So the more we can do to individualize and personalize by moving children from where
they are and helping the data do that to inform teachers as children move on. The next thing
we’re doing and that’s exploring some alternative administrative structures that
we actually see that in terms of the way we have set up in the past was very distinct
administration for our preschool programs, succinct administration for our K-12 programs,
and to begin to see if there are some new structures that not only can bring teachers
together but really can bring schools together along that P-3 continuum. Then finally, one
of the things that we are beginning to see is that as we get more information about the
importance of early childhood, our principals and our teachers are saying, “Three is pretty
late,” and so that we’re beginning to look at opportunities for that community support
that children birth to three can begin to connect to each of those elementary schools,
and we really believe that transition kindergarten was another sort of leverage point that inspired
people to do that. So I know I went over but that’s what we’re doing here and I really
look forward to learning together and we’re happy to share information as we gain it.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Fantastic. We really appreciate your enthusiasm and it comes through. One
of the things that interested me and we’ve got several questions on through the web system
is the range of things that you’re doing in terms of family engagement when it [kind
of] eight different projects that you were talking about and I wonder if you have any
initial feedback on which of those are proving to be most effective in terms of what you’re
hearing from teachers or parents themselves.
>> WHITCOMB HAYSLIP: Yes. One of the things I did not say - and I think it’s really
important - and that is that with our Title 1 money, we also have a family engagement
specialist and so that we are acknowledging that people need help and coaching with this.
So you’re right. We have eight programs and so we kind of throw them out to the schools
and so how they’re going to be facilitated and implemented, we really could not do it
without this family engagement support that we’re getting through Title 1. I will tell
you that I’ve become a true believer in Abriendo Puertas. It’s evidence-based. It’s
gone through a lot of work and that it is such an interesting process in terms of what
happens between teachers and families in it. So I think that our teachers and our facilitators
have been as changed by that program as our families have. It’s based on using some
[program] called “dichos” which are sort of proverbs or sayings within Latino culture
and then it really begins to build from those. So it’s saying, “Here’s what’s familiar
and valuable and valued in a culture and how do we all learn from it?” So our teachers
who are involved in that have been learning from those proverbs and have been learning
from parents as they reflect on it. What is really wonderful about that program as well
is it’s not just about parent education. It’s about advocacy. I mean that in a positive
way. So it’s really helping families understand their role in their child’s education with
their system as they move on. I also want to talk about the Bring Me A Book and then
Me Gusta Leer. I think one of the things, and there are many programs about sending
books home to families, but one of things I think is missing in many of them is understanding
the relationship piece of reading. I talk to people about when they were read to as
a child and they were probably in someone’s lap or someone was sitting next to their bed,
and so I think helping families understand that interactive language, the oral language
piece that goes back and forth. So what I like about both of these programs, they’re
not just sending books home but they’re giving parents support and guidance in the
use of books in the home.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Wonderful. Maybe one other issue that you could embellish on a little
bit or expand on a little bit was what you mentioned about your efforts to try to look
at how you can share data between the different early childhood programs that are sending
kids to kindergarten and transitional kindergarten, and then also promoting better use of data
by teachers in terms of planning instruction and seeing this continuum from early childhood
through grade three as you mentioned.
>> WHITCOMB HAYSLIP: Right. This has been a process. I’ll tell you what we did first,
Tom. Obviously it is easier with the 36,000 preschoolers that are in our own program.
I mean when you’re dealing with one system, it becomes much easier, but what happened
first was we had to kind of develop a data system within our preschool program. We didn’t
have one and so that we started to work on that in connection with the people who did
the K-12 data system and so that we now have - in California, we use an ongoing assessment
system called Desired Results, so all of our preschool programs are entering their Desired
Results data into that system and they can use it for ongoing information in terms of
their reports that are produced by that and then they can use that for their instructional
programs. But also now, and this is only in the last year, that moved on to the kindergarten
and first grade program whether it be at their same site or not. So that the principal, the
teachers at the receiving school can see where the child is on that continuum with the Desired
Results. As I said, we’ve actually moved a long way with our internal programs. We’re
currently working with our other publiclyfunded programs on memorandum of understandings around
so that we can do some shared research, some shared data with them because that’s the
big step. I mean we have a very large Head Start program within our district but the
majority of our Head Start programs are outside the district, so we’re working on ways that
we can begin to transition that information as well. Also we have a First 5 which is a
publicly-funded early childhood system in California and we’re currently actually
about to finalize a memorandum of understanding with them so that data would be shared and
all of the children [unintelligible]…
>> MODERATOR: Wonderful. Thanks so much for all of this material. It’s a lot to absorb
for people who maybe hearing it for the first time but I encourage folks to follow up with
the contact information that’s been included on the slides if you have questions. At this
point, I hope Mariana is there and I can turn it back to her and certainly I want to thank
Steven, Judith, Sharon and Whit for a really full program and for all of you who participated.
>> MARIANA FLORIT: Thank you so much. On the screen right now folks, you’ve got the evaluation
coming up. We’d really appreciate if you could fill it out, help us make our webinars
better going forward. We appreciate everybody bearing with our web server issues and audio
issues as they came. We hope that you still come back next time and we thank you so much
to both our presenters and participants for taking the time to be with us today. [Crosstalk]
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Mariana, one question that I saw at an earlier point was people who were
asking about the availability of the PowerPoint. Can you respond to that before we sign off?
>> MARIANA FLORIT: Absolutely. Within a couple of days, we’ll be sending out the archived
webinar link which is the audio and presentation together. You’ll also be getting the PowerPoint
deck and you will be getting a compilation of the Q&A that we weren’t able to address
during the webinar today.
>> TOM SCHULTZ: Terrific. Okay, well certainly thanks to the sponsors who have out this together
and we hope that you fund it to be profitable and that you will continue to work on this
agenda in your local communities and states. Thanks very much and hopefully there’ll
be further dialogues on this in subsequent webinars. Take care.
>> MARIANA FLORIT: Thanks to you, Tom.