Two young preschool-aged boys working with a teacher on a puzzle.

Fund for Excellence Awarded for Teacher Effectiveness Study

We’re excited to share that HDI is offering a Fund for Excellence grant this year entitled “Teacher Effectiveness Pilot,” led by Dr. Caroline Gooden, Growing Together Preschool’s (GTP) Director Cerise Bouchard, and Education Coordinator Denise Menshouse.

The Teacher Effectiveness Pilot (TEP) will be conducted at Growing Together Preschool (GTP) in Lexington, with the full support of Director Cerise Bouchard and her staff. Four of GTPs classroom teachers will be the focus of the pilot, as classrooms where the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta et al., 2008) is administered three times a year. Teachers will be rated on their classroom climate, teacher sensitivity, and productivity. Teacher goals relative to CLASS scores will be updated quarterly and will inform progress with the TEP.

Based on CLASS scores, personal improvement goals will be established and discussed during monthly observations and meetings with each teacher and Project Director Gooden, in collaboration with GTP Curriculum Director Denise Menshouse. Each teacher will set goals for growth in increased efficiency and mentorship/leadership at GTP. Progress toward goals will be measured by changes in CLASS scores and by supervisory and employee reflection on teacher improvement plans. Teacher progress in self-efficacy will be measured by administration of the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES; Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) at the beginning, middle, and end of the pilot.

Tools to be taught during TEP coaching sessions include improved awareness of teaching strengths and needs; improved communication skills with children, staff, and families; and mentoring skills with other staff at GTP. Techniques for tool use include videotaping of sessions, focused discussion, observations of other teachers, and reflection based on instructional videos. Emphasis will be placed on teacher-driven goals, activities, and reflection. Teachers will keep weekly journals of reflections, and will video-tape selected activities for discussion during coaching sessions. Other tools to be used include the Strong Interest Inventory and CliftonStrengths 34.

This Fund for Excellence project is a mixed method, qualitative/quantitative study of individual teacher factors that improve teaching effectiveness, in an integrated local early care center in Lexington. Personal improvement goals for preschool teachers will be established and discussed during monthly observations and meetings, in collaboration with center administrative staff. Progress toward goals will be measured by changes in classroom rating scale scores, teacher self-efficacy scores, and by supervisory and employee reflections on teacher improvements. —Caroline Gooden