DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood TEACHERS ANGÈLE SANCHO PASSE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Teachers COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Other Redleaf Press Books by Angèle Sancho Passe Dual-​Language Learners: Strategies for Teaching English I’m Going to Kindergarten! Is Everybody Ready for Kindergarten? A Tool Kit for Preparing Children and Families Getting Ready for Kindergarten (a family companion to Is Everybody Ready for Kindergarten?) COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood TEACHERS ANGÈLE SANCHO PASSE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Published by Redleaf Press 10 Yorkton Court St. Paul, MN 55117 © 2015 by Angèle Sancho Passe All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted on a specific page, no portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or capturing on any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a critical article or review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper, or electronically transmitted on radio, television, or the Internet. First edition 2015 Cover design by Ryan Scheife, Mayfly Design Cover illustration by Tumanyan/Shutterstock Interior design by Percolator Graphic Design Typeset in Whitman and Ronnia Printed in the United States of America 22  21  20  19  18  17  16  15    1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Passe, Angèle Sancho. Evaluating and supporting early childhood teachers / Angèle Sancho Passe. pages cm Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-1-60554-366-6 (alk. paper) 1. Early childhood teachers—Rating of. 2. Early childhood teachers—In-service training. 3. Mentoring in education. I. Title. LB1775.6.P37 2015 372.11—dc23 2014030735 Printed on acid-​free paper COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET To all early childhood education teachers, with much respect ​ and gratitude for their important work COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Contents Acknowledgments  xi   Introduction 1 Why I Wrote This Book  3 Who This Book Is For  3 How the Book Is Organized  4 1 The Role of the Education Leader 7 Defining Evaluation and Support  8 Introducing the Guiding Principles for Evaluating and Supporting Teachers  9 Assessing Your Current Practices  11 Observation: How Well Are Teachers Evaluated and Supported? Sample Form  12 Self-​Assessment: How Well Are You Evaluating and Supporting Teachers? Sample Form  Visualizing Your Well-Supported and Well-Evaluated Early Childhood Workplace  Create a Caring Community of Workers  15 Enhance Professional Competence  16 Provide Appropriate Direction and Resources  16 Assess Professional Skills and Growth  16 Facilitate Involvement in the Field of Early Childhood Education  17 2 Creating a Caring Community of Workers Creating Good Working Conditions  19 Hire with Care  20 Pay Fairly  20 Set a Predictable Schedule with Reasonable Flexibility  Create a Physically and Emotionally Safe Environment  Setting a Common Agenda  22 Developing Professional Relationships with Teachers  23 Use Data as the Basis of the Relationship  25 Put Yourself in the Mind of the Teacher  27 Encouraging a Culture of Collaboration  27 13 15 19 21 21 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Communicating Effectively  28 Make Expectations Clear  28 Find Many Ways to Communicate, and Communicate Often  Weekly Communication Sample Form  31 Listen as Well as Speak  32 Welcome Feedback  33 Give Feedback and Offer Solutions Thoughtfully  34 Give Affirmations  36 Modeling Caring and Empathy  37 Maintaining Your Caring Community of Workers  38 29 3 Recognizing Teacher Quality 39 Identifying Three Aspects of Quality Teaching  41 Acts of Teaching  42 Results of Teaching  43 Professional Behaviors  43 Reviewing the Literature on Teaching Quality  44 Resources on Quality Acts of Teaching  45 Resources on Quality Results of Teaching  49 Resources on Quality Professional Behaviors  50 Summary of Resources  51 Teaching Quality Checklists  52 Checklist for Assessing Quality of Acts of Teaching Sample Form  53 Checklist for Assessing Quality of Results of Teaching Sample Form  54 Checklist for Assessing Quality of Professional Behaviors Sample Form  4 Tools and Techniques for Evaluating Teachers Evaluation Tools and Timing  59 Gathering Data for 360-​Degree Feedback  60 Tools for Leader-​Gathered Data  60 Tools for Teacher-​Gathered Data  62 Tools to Gather Data from Other Invested Adults  63 Family Survey Sample Form  64 Coworker Survey Sample Form  65 A Comprehensive Model for Teacher Evaluation  66 Step 1: Clarify Your Thinking about Teacher Evaluation  55 57 67 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Step 2: Choose or Develop Tools for Gathering Data  68 Step 3: Conduct the Evaluation  70 Step 4: Analyze the Results  71 Step 5: Communicate the Results  71 Performance Review Summary and Plan Sample Form  75 Step 6: Conduct Follow-​Up Reviews  77 Addressing Performance Problems  78 When to Address a Problem  78 How to Address a Problem  79 What to Do When Performance Problems Do Not Improve  Evaluation as Responsibility  81 81 5 Tools and Techniques for Supporting Teachers Supporting Professional Development and Professional Engagement  Pay Attention to Teachers’ Training in Relation to Data  84 Educate Yourself on Best Practices  85 Show Interest in What Teachers Learn in Training  86 Post-​Training Survey Sample Form  87 Facilitate Teachers’ Involvement in Professional Associations  88 Nurturing a Reflective Practice  88 Coaching  90 Resources for Coaching  91 Rules for Coaching  92 Use Data for Coaching  93 The Coaching Protocol: Four Steps  94 Create a Coaching Plan  95 Coaching Plan Sample Form  96 Facilitating Mentoring Relationships between Teachers  97 Mentoring Agreement Sample Form  98 Counseling  99 Empowering Teachers to Support All Learners  100 Keeping Morale Positive  101 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 83 84 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 6 Differentiating Support 105 7 Making a Plan for Evaluating and Supporting Teachers 121 The Early Childhood Education Workforce  105 Skill Level  107 Stages of Skill Development: Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent, Expert  107 Teachers’ Skill Awareness  108 Barriers to Skill Development  110 Formal Education  111 Experience  112 Age/Generation  113 Individual Dispositions and Learning Styles  114 Cultural Differences  115 Asking Teachers What They Need  116 Find Out What Teachers Need from the Beginning  116 Assess Overall Job Satisfaction  116 New Teacher Intake Sample Form  117 Job Satisfaction Survey Sample Form  118 A Need for Differentiated Support  119 Ready to Plan  122 Assess the Situation in Your Setting  122 Decide Which Principles Are Most Urgent for You  125 Write SMART Goals  125 Implement Your Plan  127 Evaluate Your Plan  128 Taking Small Steps  129 Recognizing Evaluation and Support as a Good Time Investment    Conclusion 129 133 Appendix: Reproducible Forms  References  151 135 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Acknowledgments I am so grateful for the collective wisdom and support that enable me to think and write on topics that are important and interesting. I wish to thank my family, my team at Redleaf Press, my colleagues in Head Start, and everyone involved in public school systems, child care centers, professional associations, teacher unions, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, faith-based programs, higher education, and government. A special acknowledgment for the staff, governing board, and members of NAEYC, who lead the way in early childhood education. I am proud to be a part of this forward-thinking community of educators. A big thank you to Carla Valadez, my editor, who expertly guided the writing of this book. xi COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET INTRODUCTION Just in the last week, I was asked to evaluate the quality of a restaurant where I had lunch, the quality of services at a medical clinic where I had a physical, and the quality of a professional conference I attended. In each case, I was asked to evaluate the way I was treated, the environment, the content of the services, and the skills of the individuals providing the service. Next week, when I take my car for a tune-​up, I will no doubt be handed an evaluation form. You are probably having similar experiences. In a data-​driven culture like ours, there is a constant striving for measurable improvement. If we can measure it, we can make it better. We can make it better if we measure it. Quality is important. Evaluation has become part of our everyday lives. We encounter star ratings for hotels, movies, and child care centers. We can find (or write) online reviews for almost any product or service available. We know evaluations have a helpful and productive purpose. They help consumers make smart choices. They allow consumers to provide feedback, which helps the organizations and individuals being evaluated know what to improve. Even in education, the evaluation of children’s learning, which helps teachers know what children understand and how they are improving, is now considered essential (Copple and Bredekamp 2009; McAfee, Leong, and Bodrova 2004). Evaluation of teachers, however, is not yet an accepted idea in the field of education, even among its leaders. As an example, some years ago I was involved in the beginnings of the Quality Improvement Process (QIP) in public schools. It was exciting to work with high-​powered administrators and union leaders to apply the research and principles of the quality movement in business to the field of education. It was also frustrating. During a particular meeting about teaching quality, the leaders around the table made a pact not to use the “E” and “A” words, evaluation and accountability, as if quality improvement could happen without any sort of evaluation. This idea was shortsighted. It set back progress. The thinking that evaluation can be avoided in quality-​improvement efforts, 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 2   INTRODUCTION   however, seems to persist today in early childhood education. I suspect the re- sistance comes from evaluation being done poorly and from teachers receiving punitive or meaningless evaluation without support to improve. Resistance to and fears about teacher evaluation are compounded by the growing pressure for quality improvement in education. As never before, policy makers and leaders at local, state, federal, and international levels are focusing on the value of early education in future academic success and even future life success. In the private sector, businesspeople, economists, and journalists are also interested. They know from research that quality of teaching is the biggest factor in the quality of children’s learning (Tucker and Stronge 2005). So education in general is under pressure, and teachers are the target. Much attention is being focused on ensuring that early childhood educators improve their teaching. Education leaders and teachers alike hear assertions such as, “If teachers just did a better job, the children would all learn more and better.” And while this statement is true, who is thinking of the teachers? If teachers are doing an unsatisfactory job, why is that the case? What do teachers need to be at the top of their form and skills, and are they getting those things? Are they getting coached on their performance, as athletes do, so they can get better? It is unfair to provide minimal support, such as one-time workshops and a yearly box of new materials, and hope that quality will improve. I call it the “hope theory” of educational improvement. We hope it works. This is not good enough for chil- dren, and it is not good enough for teachers, either. It leaves quality to chance. It makes the field of early childhood education vulnerable to well-​meaning but misguided philanthropists, researchers, policy makers, and businesspeople who want to “fix” our practice with their solutions and tools. We jump through the hoops of the latest grant, and we forget to focus on what we need to do for our teachers. Improving teaching quality, and thus the quality of children’s education, is not simply a matter of supplying more materials, more curricula, more training, more rules, more incentives, or more sanctions. Teachers are inundated with new initiatives, but they do not get helpful guidance and support. I believe that education leaders must find a way and a system to support teachers and a way and a system to evaluate them. We need to come up with approaches that make sense for early childhood education. And we have to let go of the idea that teacher evaluation is harmful; when teachers are adequately supported by their leaders, evaluation isn’t a threat, it’s an opportunity for collaboration, growth, and improvement. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET   INTRODUCTION   3 WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK My interest in this topic comes from several perspectives in my career as a teacher, union activist, administrator, teacher educator, organization develop- ment consultant, and coach. Over the years, I have had many professional con- versations about teacher skills with other educators, leaders, and researchers. Too often I hear that while supporting teachers is a good thing, evaluating them is too punitive. Teachers will simply “do what is right,” once they understand what needs to be done. I agree that teachers will try to do what’s right. I am also aware that the lack of a good system for teacher evaluation has created prob- lems in K–12 education. For example, ineffective teachers who did not receive proper evaluations and support prevented children from learning even close to what they were capable of learning (Sanders and Rivers 1996). I don’t want to replicate this condition in early childhood education. Addressing best practices in teacher evaluation and support is crucial in our efforts to improve education quality for children. Evaluation cannot be a forbidden word or a scary practice. In the child care field, turnover rate is very high, comparable to that of fast-​ food restaurants. In elementary education, one-​third of new teachers leave the profession within the first three years. At the same time, new people are attracted to the field every day, people with varying levels of skill and experience who need support to make their way in the profession. Fears of teacher evaluation and high attrition rates are symptoms of larger problems in early childhood education: inadequate systems of evaluation and support. These are problems I hope to help solve in this book. As a leader in education, you will find that you already have many of the skills and tools you need to effectively evaluate and support teachers. This is especially true if you have been a classroom teacher yourself. You already know how to assess and support children. The process will be similar when assessing and supporting the adults you serve. WHO THIS BOOK IS FOR Throughout the book, I use the term education leader to refer to any individual who has a role in evaluating and supporting teachers. Education leaders include child care center directors, program managers, and school principals, who serve as both supervisors and leaders. These leaders have the responsibility of hiring and firing teachers and, therefore, of evaluating and supporting them too. Edu­ cation leaders also include peer teachers with leadership, but no supervisory, COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 4   INTRODUCTION   responsibilities, such as team leaders, education coordinators, consultants, men- tors, coaches, lead teachers, and educators with other related job titles. Even though evaluation is usually reserved for the leaders who are the supervisors, support is considered part of every leader’s job. Both functions are essential. For the purpose of this book, I am going to point to the overlap and the importance of each function. All education leaders will benefit from the ideas and strategies in this book, but you will need to decide your own parameters for implementing the strategies, based on your role within your organization and your organiza- tion’s human resources system. HOW THE BOOK IS ORGANIZED I have organized the book so that later chapters build upon information in earlier chapters, but you can read the information in any order that makes sense to you: Chapter 1 addresses your role and responsibilities as an education leader who evaluates and supports teachers in your program. Chapter 2 provides suggestions for creating a caring community of workers, setting the groundwork for a positive workplace environment in which evaluation and support practices can thrive. Chapter 3 strives to define teaching quality, pointing to authoritative resources on the topic and revealing how these resources can help you prepare to evaluate teachers. Chapter 4 digs deeper into the topic of evaluation, providing specific tools and techniques for implementing evaluations—​from planning the evaluations to communicating results to teachers. Chapter 5 presents strategies, tools, and techniques for supporting teachers—​including coaching, counseling, and mentoring—​using the data gathered from evaluations. Chapter 6 addresses differentiating and scaffolding support based on the unique needs of your group and individual teachers. Chapter 7 helps you create an evaluation and support plan for your center, school, or team. Throughout the chapters, I invite you to follow education leaders Sara, Monique, and Jon on their journeys in evaluating and supporting teachers. Their actions and reactions to scenarios in their settings are based on my own COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET   INTRODUCTION   5 observations of education leaders in the field and on best practices in human resource development. You’ll learn from their challenges and successes. Sara, Center Director Sara is the director of a child care center. She has been a director for ten years and feels that she is good at her job. Her center has a high staff-​turnover rate, especially in the assistant teacher group. Sara’s center has six lead teachers for two infant classrooms, two toddler classrooms, and two preschool rooms. Four of the lead teachers have bachelor’s degrees and two have Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials. Her center is seeking NAEYC accreditation. It is also part of the state’s quality initiative. The center has a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) rating of three stars, and Sara has a goal of obtaining four stars within the next year. She feels confident in her ability to lead her staff, but she is challenged by teachers who are resistant to suggestions and by the frequent changes in staffing.  ■ Monique, Education Coordinator and Coach Monique is an education coordinator and coach in a Head Start program. She does not have super­visory responsibilities, but she is in a leadership position. She oversees five classrooms in three buildings. Her job is to ensure the curriculum is implemented, the children are learning, and the teaching staff (lead teachers and assistants) does all there is to do. When her director ap- proached her with the idea of becoming an education coach, she was excited. She always wanted to boost the quality of instruction in her program. She also felt worried, because she had attended coaching workshops before, and while she had learned a lot, the whole approach seemed over- whelming. She has a solid knowledge of early childhood education and good interpersonal skills, but she does not yet have the vocabulary nor the structure to organize a coaching plan for the classroom staff.  ■ Jon, Principal Jon is the principal of a public elementary school. His district began a pre-​K to third grade initiative last year, and, as a result, he has two pre-​K classrooms in his building. He has no experience with pre-​K. As an elementary principal, he had not even considered K–3 as part of early childhood education until recently. He likes the idea of serving younger children and is looking forward to this new “pre-​K–3 alignment” as a benefit to children. He still finds the arrangement to be somewhat stressful. He now has a leadership role in an area where he has no expertise. He worries that the newly hired pre-​K teachers will do their own thing and not listen to him.  ■ COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 6   INTRODUCTION   Also included throughout the book are checklists, self-​assessments, and re- producible forms designed to aid your planning. As you experiment with these tools, feel free to modify them for your own use; you know your situation best. Reproducible versions of these forms can be found in the appendix. At the end of each chapter, you will find reflection questions to help you think critically about evaluating and supporting teachers. Reflect on your own or discuss these questions with your staff or professional learning community. This book focuses on the pressing issue of evaluation and support of teachers, and it provides solutions. Evaluation means nothing if a system of support is not in place to promote growth and improvement. Evaluation without support is like testing children without making plans to teach them the skills they need to be successful. I know together we can improve teacher evaluation and sup- port. Use principles and strategies I describe in this book to get started on this important work. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 1 THE ROLE of the EDUCATION LEADER You have the job of evaluating and supporting teachers. Either you have will- ingly applied for the job or you have been selected by your organization because someone thought you would be good at it. Are you a supervisor, principal, direc- tor, manager, coordinator, coach, mentor, or lead teacher? Regardless of your title, you are an education leader. You have the big responsibility to create and maintain a quality workforce of educators and, ultimately, to support a quality education for children. The main resources of a child care center or school are its human resources, and teachers are the most important element. The quality of teachers and their practices are directly affected by the quality of supervision and management, which in turn affects the quality of children’s education. The pyramid below illustrates how the education children receive is buttressed by the leadership and management, the teachers themselves, and the teaching (instruction and curriculum). If these three elements are good, then a high-​quality education for children will happen. Leadership and Management Quality Education for Children Teachers Teaching 7 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 8   CHAPTER ONE   The education leader’s responsibility, then, is to ensure that each section of the pyramid is: 1. functioning at a high-​quality level (which requires monitoring through evaluation) and 2. improving or maintaining its quality level (which requires a strong and intentional system of support). DEFINING EVALUATION AND SUPPORT Evaluation has two definitions with distinctive nuances. One is to “judge the worth of” and the other is “to find the value of.” I suspect the resistance to the idea of evaluating teachers comes from the first meaning. Teachers are good people who care for children. It seems harsh to pass judgment on them. So I want to focus on the second meaning. It is important for us to find the value in teachers and to reflect it back to them. It is also important for teachers to find their own value and nurture it. Support has four possible meanings: 1. to hold up from beneath, 2. to uphold, 3. to stand by, and 4. to provide for. Some synonymous verbs are bolster, •• second, shore up, •• attend to, promote, •• reinforce, and encourage, •• keep from falling. strengthen, These words give an image of what best practices for supporting teachers might be. I want you to keep the images in your head as you continue to read. Teaching young children is a difficult job. First, it is physically demanding. Teachers must lift and carry babies and toddlers; sit on the floor or on small chairs all day long, even for meals; and care for the physical and safety needs of young children. Second, it is intellectually and emotionally demanding. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET    THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATION LEADER   Teachers have to constantly put themselves in the minds of their learners. These little learners are developmentally far from adult reasoning and behaviors. The kindergarten teacher has to think like a five-​year-​old in order to find the right activities, materials, pace, and safety measures. And not just for one five-​year-​ old, but twenty of them! The teacher of fifteen-​month-​old Sofia not only has to know that climbing on the shelf is developmentally appropriate but also that the toddler still needs to be stopped. The teacher of nine-​month-​old Alex has to understand that his crying is due to separation anxiety, and her job is to comfort both the baby and his mother—​because teaching young children means working with the parents of children too. Adding parents to the mix makes the job even more challenging. Teachers who started with hope and good intentions are leaving for other jobs at a fast rate, both in the private sector and in public schools. The main reason for dissatisfaction on the job is the lack of professional and emotional support. Teachers feel alone. They feel that they are on their own against all the pressures of the job. Even if they work in teams, the majority of their time is spent interacting with little people who have limited vocabularies, are ego­ centric, and are learning self-​control. They do feel depleted at the end of the day! Instead of ignoring or adding to teachers’ challenging daily work, feelings of isolation, and exhaustion, let’s evaluate and support them. Let’s find the value in teachers and reflect it back to them. Let’s hold up and stand by teachers. Let’s encourage and strengthen them. INTRODUCING THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR EVALUATING AND SUPPORTING TEACHERS The field of early childhood education can be proud of having good research in child development and developmentally appropriate practices. We have enough information to have top-quality classrooms, but we are missing an aspect of the equation that prevents us from applying that information most effectively. We have not figured out a way to evaluate and support teachers that is calm, clear, consistent, and effective; we are not adequately measuring or nurturing teachers’ growth, which means we are limiting the quality of education for children. One of the reasons for this problem may be that many education leaders start out as teachers and move through the ranks with little or no training on how to adequately evaluate and support adult teachers. Even so, education leaders have a wealth of knowledge from their experience as (or with) teachers. What if COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 9 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 10   CHAPTER ONE   we use the principles that teachers use to support children’s learning to support teachers’ growth and development? What if we use a parallel process and treat teachers the same way we want them to treat children? I don’t mean to oversim- plify the issue. Teachers are adults, and their adult needs and characteristics have to be taken into consideration, but we can adapt what we know about teaching children to create a process for supporting teachers for maximum effectiveness. What is good for the children is good for the teachers. This concept of a parallel process for supporting teachers has always made sense to me. I have honed it through my studies in early education, adult edu­ cation, and organization development, and through my work as a teacher of children and of teachers, an administrator, a coach, and an advocate for quality. I believe that the alignment of organizational development, adult professional development, and child development is crucial to quality in education. A calm and efficient organization begets a calm and effective teacher begets calm and learning children. In this spirit, and using Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Child- hood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 (Copple and Bredekamp 2009) as our guide, I suggest five guiding principles for evaluating and support- ing teachers that parallel what teachers are expected to do with children. Five Guiding Principles for Educating Children and for Evaluating and Supporting Teachers CHILDREN GET A QUALITY EDUCATION WHEN TEACHERS . . . EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS GET QUALITY PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION AND SUPPORT WHEN LEADERS . . . 1. Create a caring community of learners 1. Create a caring community of workers 2. Enhance development and learning 3. Plan an appropriate curriculum 4. Assess development 2. Enhance professional competence 3. Provide appropriate direction and resources 4. Assess professional skills and growth 5. Facilitate involvement in the field of early childhood education 5. Develop reciprocal relationships with families Copple and Bredekamp 2009, 16–23 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET    THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATION LEADER   As you follow the ideas in the book, these five guiding principles for sup- porting and evaluating teachers will come to life. But before we jump into the important work of evaluation and support, let’s take a moment for reflection. Let’s identify what you are already doing well in your daily work of evaluating and supporting teachers, as well as what areas might need improvement. ASSESSING YOUR CURRENT PRACTICES We expect teachers to reflect on their practices in order to meet the needs of children. It is important for leaders to reflect too. Use the two tools that follow to help you examine the current situation in your center or school. The first (see page 12) is a quick observation tool to assess your teachers’ behaviors and prac- tices. The second (see page 13) is a self-​assessment to help you evaluate your own behaviors and practices. Reproducible versions of both tools can be found in the appendix. The checklist items on the tools illustrate behaviors and actions that should be evident for each guiding principle. The results will reveal how well you are currently following the guiding principles and provide some clues about how your behaviors and practices may affect your work of evaluation and support. • • • How did you do with these quick surveys? First, congratulate yourself on the items you answered with “always” and “usually” in either survey! You and your program are on the right track here. Did you reply “always” or “usually” for ev- ery statement under any of the guiding principle categories on both forms? If so, you are likely following that guiding principle consistently in your practice. Keep it up! Second, focus on the items you answered with “sometimes” and “never” on the forms. These are areas that need improvement. In these areas, evaluation and support are not consistently happening well. Take note of any patterns in your answers under particular guiding principles. Which principle appears to need the most improvement? Now compare the answers from the observation of teachers’ behaviors and your self-​assessment. Analyze their similarities. Do you see a connection be- tween what the teachers do and what you do? For example, do the teachers listen to one another? Do you listen to them? Do the teachers understand and COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 11 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 12   CHAPTER ONE   Observation: How Well Are Teachers Evaluated and Supported? Read the statements below and then for about a week observe what teachers say and do during their daily inter- actions. Checkmark the appropriate box to indicate whether the statements are true for your teachers always, usually, sometimes, or never. In my program, teachers . . . ALWAYS USUALLY SOMETIMES Create a caring community of workers Greet one another every day. Smile and make positive comments. 3. Assist one another with personal and professional issues. 1. 2. 4. Listen to one another. Enhance professional competence Integrate previous experience with new knowledge received in professional development. 6. Know how to assess and analyze children’s learning. 5. Know the impact of their teaching. 8. Are organized and intentional in their planning. 7. Receive appropriate direction Know what quality is in our organization. 10. Understand and articulate the expectations and objectives of our organization. 11. Make educational choices based on program objectives. 9. Assess skills and growth 12. Assess their own teaching. Take risks, try new ideas, and evaluate them. 14. Cooperate with and encourage one another, sharing spaces, materials, and ideas. 13. Facilitate involvement in the field of early childhood education Mentor one another. 16. Are connected to the early childhood education professional community. 17. Share their professional interests and enthusiasm with colleagues. 15. From Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Teachers by Angèle Sancho Passe, © 2015. Published by Redleaf Press, This page may be reproduced for classroom use only. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL NEVER DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET    THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATION LEADER   Self-Assessment: How Well Are You Evaluating and Supporting Teachers? Read the statements below and then reflect on your own daily interactions. Checkmark the appropriate box to indicate whether the statements are true for you always, usually, sometimes, or never. In my program, I . . . ALWAYS USUALLY SOMETIMES Create a caring community of workers 1. Greet teachers every day with a positive comment. Smile, laugh, and am enthusiastic about our work with children, families, and colleagues. 3. Provide comfort and assistance for personal and professional issues. 2. Help resolve problems. 5. Listen. 4. Enhance professional competence Give specific affirmations on performance. 7. Give feedback when teaching is going well. 6. 8. 9. Give feedback when teaching is not going well. Provide professional development to the group and to individuals. Provide appropriate direction and resources 10. Communicate clear direction and objectives in multiple ways. Am consistent with consequences. 12. Use effective questions to encourage reflective practice. 13. Provide information and resources. 11. Assess skills and growth 14. Assess classroom quality. 15. 16. Assess teacher skills. Scaffold teacher skills. 17. Encourage teachers to persist even when the work is challenging. Facilitate involvement in the field of early childhood education Help teachers feel connected to the early childhood education professional community. 19. Engage teachers actively in making decisions for our center. 18. 20. Share the teachers’ interests and enthusiasm. From Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Teachers by Angèle Sancho Passe, © 2015. Published by Redleaf Press, This page may be reproduced for classroom use only. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL NEVER 13 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 14   CHAPTER ONE   articulate the expectations and objectives of your organization? Do you provide clear direction? Do the teachers assess their own skills? Do you assess their skills and provide scaffolding? Patterns in behaviors and practices are likely because leaders set the tone in their organizations. Think again about the parallel process. Children cannot learn what we don’t teach them. Teachers cannot perform at their peak if we don’t give clear guidance and support. It is not just about being a role model; it is about being intentional in demonstrating what to do and how to do it. If you greet teachers every day, they are more likely to greet one another. If you give them specific affirmations on performance and assess their skills, they are more likely to know the impact of their teaching. If the answers between the two surveys do not match up nicely, there may be a disconnect between your expectations for teachers and your actions, or a disconnect between your good intentions and the systems in place to support those intentions. For example, years ago I was called in to help a center with many “behavior issues.” In this preschool setting of four-​and five-​year-​olds, the children were not attentive and were bickering constantly. They would run out of the room despite special doorknobs to prevent them from opening the door. The center director had provided several workshops on behavior management for the teachers, but the children’s behavior was not improving. She was getting very frustrated with the teachers, and she let them know how disappointed she was in the continued behavior problems. The teachers were angry with both the director and with the “terrible” children. They started ignoring the director’s suggestions for fixing behavior because the strategies never seemed to work. They blamed families for poor parenting. They called in sick frequently and ac- cused one another of not pulling their weight. When I arrived on the scene, I was asked to fix the people—​the children, the teachers, the director, and the parents. After observing the center in action, however, I noticed that the curricu- lum was designed for toddlers, not for children bound for kindergarten. The center had grown from an infant-​toddler program to a center that included pre-​​kindergarten rooms without carefully considering a developmentally ap- propriate curriculum for older children. The activities were not engaging or stimulating for the children, and so the children acted out. The problems were ultimately caused by problems in the systems of evaluation and support: a lack of clear direction in explaining the change to pre-​K; no assessment of pre-​K teaching skills (the director did not know her staff wasn’t teaching to the chil- dren’s level); and no professional development geared toward a developmentally appropriate curriculum for preschoolers. The problems were not in the people. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET    THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATION LEADER   They all wanted to do the right thing, but they did not have a system to help them do that. The leader had good intentions, but she was not effective in her efforts. If the responses on your observation and self-​assessment forms differ greatly, consider whether the systems and actions you employ are consistent with your hopes and intentions. As you work to implement a system of evaluation and support in your set- ting, continue to reflect on your practices, behaviors, intentions, actions, and systems, as well as the behaviors and practices of your teachers. Think about the strengths and weaknesses and inconsistencies revealed by the two assessments in this section. By the end of the book, you will have a plan for improvement! You might even retake the two assessments again in several months after you apply the ideas in the chapters that follow to see how far you’ve come and to refocus your efforts on the guiding principles. VISUALIZING YOUR WELL-​SUPPORTED AND WELL-​E VALUATED EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKPLACE You know supporting and evaluating teachers is your responsibility, and you have five guiding principles to provide direction for your efforts. Now I want to give you a glimpse of what you’re working toward, what a workplace feels like for teachers when their leaders follow each of the guiding principles. This will help you think further about your own job and responsibilities. I hope it will motivate you to get started on the challenging but important work of evaluation and support. Create a Caring Community of Workers Teachers who are supported get to know one another’s personalities, interests, and abilities. They have opportunities to problem solve, resolve conflicts, and communicate often. The atmosphere is respectful of their differences. Commu- nication happens in many ways: in writing, in person, by e-​mail, in large groups, in small groups, and individually. The leaders pay attention to what’s being said through the grapevine, the informal communication that happens in the parking lot or staff room. Teachers feel free to check their assumptions directly. They do not engage in gossip. They help one another and collaborate to achieve joint goals for children’s learning. The educators in a caring community feel free to be creative, be curious, and develop their competence. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 15 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 16   CHAPTER ONE   Enhance Professional Competence Teachers who are supported feel their performance is evaluated fairly. Their struggles and efforts are acknowledged. Teachers get feedback and scaffolding to continue to improve. They see demonstrations of good practices in person or in videos. They receive information in formal settings, such as in trainings, and in informal ways, such as through handouts in their inboxes about an issue that they have been wondering about. Training is not one-​size-​fits-​all. Experi- enced teachers, who may be restless in their position, get new challenges, such as having time in their schedules to research new curriculum materials for the center or to mentor new teachers. Novice teachers get explicit direction so they can practice new skills without the burden of too many decisions. They all feel encouraged to keep trying and to keep improving. Provide Appropriate Direction and Resources Teachers who are supported work in an organization that has a plan and explains this plan. They know what the goals are for children, for families, and for the program. They can see their own role in this plan. There are no surprises. Teach- ers hear about new initiatives in the early stages. They are not able to cancel an initiative, but they have a voice in how to implement it, and their leaders listen. Discussions are held to modify the timeline or get more training. Periodic reviews and updates keep everyone in the loop. Clear direction helps everyone understand what to do. Assess Professional Skills and Growth Teachers who are supported are aware of the tools used to observe and assess their classrooms. These tools might include informal checklists or formal vali­ dated tools to assess the dynamics in the classroom and the teaching skills of the teachers. In either case, the teachers know what the assessments contain and use them to do self-​assessments so they can compare their perceptions with those of the observers. They have confidence in the evaluation system. They ac- cept observations or videotaping as tools for reviewing and growing their skills. They understand the cause and effect relationship between their actions and the learning and behaviors of children. They engage in deep discussions about how to make changes to their teaching so children learn more. They know that the purpose of assessment is to make a plan for children’s learning and to make a plan for their own professional growth. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET    THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATION LEADER   Facilitate Involvement in the Field of Early Childhood Education Teachers who are supported do not feel isolated. They realize they are part of a professional movement. They have opportunities to participate in formal events such as conferences, where they can meet colleagues from other organizations. They also have a system in their own center or school to share ideas or expertise. This may happen in a book club, reading the same book about infant activities and sharing ideas informally. Or it may be an official study group, meeting once a month for a year to explore a topic. Teachers know their work is a part of an effort that is larger than themselves; they feel a part of the effort. • • • I hope you find these descriptions encouraging. They describe a positive en- vironment where people work hard and feel good about it. When evaluation and support go hand in hand, the teachers and the climate of your setting will benefit. Most importantly, the children will benefit. I visit and observe many centers, programs, and schools. I can tell how things are going from what I see and hear in the hallways. When teachers treat children harshly, I know that the teachers are not getting good evaluation and support. I can also tell the kind of direction and support teachers are getting when I look at the test scores. Low student achievement is always coupled with low adult direction, and low morale. The opposite is true. When children are doing well, there is a parallel sense of success for teachers. They know their value. They are confident in their abilities. Teachers cannot do their complicated work alone. They should be able to count on their leaders to support their professional growth with care, empathy, and a solid sense of direction. Jon, Principal Jon was observing Ms. Ana’s reading group. She was reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. As she began the story, four-​year-​old Mason started to whimper. Ms. Ana asked him to stop crying so the children could hear the story. Mason continued to whimper. She told him to go to the time-​out chair to calm down. On his way there, Mason kicked the puzzle table and all the pieces went flying. Irritated, Ms. Ana helped him sit in the time-​out chair, went back to the group, and closed the book saying, “I will not read today, too much disruption.” Jon was less concerned about Ms. Ana’s specific behavior with Mason than about her beliefs about reading to children. Early literacy is a major objective of the school. He had seen Ms. Ana stop her readings other times, and he was concerned that the children were missing educational cont’d COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 17 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 18   CHAPTER ONE   opportunities. They were not getting the instruction promised. Through the process of several discussions Jon clarified Ms. Ana’s beliefs about reading and about behavior during reading. They talked about the cause and effect of various actions she had taken. They looked at the children’s data and saw that their language scores were low, a sign that they needed more reading. They explored the consequences of not reading to the whole class when one child was not complying. Then they started to plan intentionally. They talked about not stopping readings and having options to help disruptive children. It was indeed a longer process than a simple directive, but it led to a long-​term solution. In the end, Ms. Ana’s skills improved. It was not magic. Jon was instrumental in helping her grow as an excellent early childhood professional.  ■ Reflection Questions 1. Review your answers from the observation and self-​assessment forms on pages 12–13. Think about your role as an education leader who wants to evaluate and support teachers. What parts will be easy for you to accom- plish? What parts will be challenging? 2. Lead a discussion with your staff on the meaning of quality support for teachers. What does it mean for your group? Make a list of behaviors and actions. Compare the list to the five guiding principles described in this chapter. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Early Childhood Education / Professional Development Use Evaluation to Empower Teachers and Improve Children’s Education E valuating and Supporting Early Childhood Teachers is designed to help you establish best practices for teacher and staff evaluation and ensure it is used as a positive, supportive tool. By adapting what you already know about teaching children, you can effectively evaluate and support teachers to improve their performance and ultimately the quality of children’s education. The straightforward and easy-to-use techniques and tools in this book will help you: Establish best practices for evaluation so it becomes a positive experience for teachers and staff Define quality teaching and professional behavior to establish expectations and set everyone up for success yy Support development of teachers and staff to nurture their growth and empower them in their profession yy Create a workplace community where everyone can thrive and collaborate This book will strengthen your skills as a leader and leave you feeling positive, inspired, empowered, and—most important—well-equipped to start evaluating and supporting the teachers and staff you supervise. “Angèle Sancho Passe provides a comprehensive roadmap for improving teacher practices across the range of early care and education programs. Her thoughtful insights and practical checklists will revolutionize the evaluation of teachers and will directly impact children’s progress.” —Sandra Simar, Education Director, Rochester, MN, Head Start A ngèle S ancho P asse , MA, is an early childhood education consultant with more than thirty years of experience. She has served as both a teacher and a school district administrator and now shares her knowledge  as a national speaker and professional development expert. Passe holds a bachelor’s degree in child psychology and family social science, a master’s degree in family education, and a professional certificate in organization development. She is also the author of Is Everybody Ready for Kindergarten? and Dual-Language Learners: Strategies for Teaching English. ISBN 978-1-60554-366-6 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL $24.95