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Ready Start Tangipahoa Blueprint

January 20, 2021

Introduction

The Ready Start Tangipahoa Early Childhood Network serves 28 child care centers, 15 school sites, and 8 Head Start centers.  Currently, 1,295 at-risk students are enrolled in these programs. This is a decrease in 286 children.  Parent input indicates the decline is COVID-19 related.  Public school serves 638 at-risk children, child care serves 363, and Head Start serves 294 children.  Until the 2020-2021 school session, the number of children served has slightly increased each year.

Ready Start Tangipahoa’s overall CLASS score falls in the proficient range (5.17).  In the past four years, the Performance Profile Score has fluctuated, both increasing and decreasing by .08 or less.  The current score reflects the same score as the previous school year due to COVID-19.  Two public school sites’ Performance Profile scores are in the excellent range, 6.0 or higher.  Ten public school sites’ scores fall in the high proficient range of 5.25 or higher, one is in the proficient range, and two have no scores due to not participating in the CLASS accountability system for 2019-2020. There are two high-proficient (5.25 or higher) Head Start centers, 5 proficient centers (4.5 or higher), and one with no score due to being closed for renovations. Child care performance includes 11 high-proficient sites (5.25 or higher), 14 proficient sites (4.5 or higher), 1 approaching proficient site (3.75-4.49), and 2 sites with no score because they are new to the Ready Start Network.

Although the Network’s Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Emotional and Behavioral Support scores are in the high-proficient range for all site types, the Instructional Support and Engaged Support for Learning scores fall in the Approaching Proficient range for each site type.  This indicates a need for additional professional development in these particular areas.

The strengths of the Network include an increased awareness for the need of professional development.  Planning for intentional, explicit professional development regarding the implementation of high quality, Tier I curriculum as well as professional development regarding the CLASS tool was a focus last year and continues to be a primary goal.  However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, trainings have been conducted virtually which presents challenges to the teachers attending.  They lose the hands-on participation with experienced trainers, peer collaboration, and the ability to interact effectively.  

Monthly network meetings are a strength by serving as technical support for directors.  These meetings provide sessions such as “Directors’ Tips” for CLASS, “Directors as Instructional Leaders,” “Resources to Utilize in the Classroom,” and “Coaches’ Corner” where strategies are shared regarding the use of the CLASS tool to increase achievement.  Although this is a strength in our network, COVID-19 has presented challenges as many meetings were forced to be conducted virtually.

The Network’s support from the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, Volunteers of America (VOA), is another strength.  They offer weekend trainings, coaching for centers, and PPE supplies, but additional coaches are needed to provide modeling activities, Tier I implementation guidance, and support for teachers.  COVID-19 has also provided coaching obstacles for this organization as well.  

The Network’s weaknesses fall in Instructional Support and Engaged Support for Learning as indicated by the CLASS assessment tool, scoring “Approaching Proficient” in both domains.  

There are also a limited number of coaches to effectively support all classes in need.  The Network, through braided funds, employs three full time coaches.  These coaches divide their time between public school and child care classes, supporting 130 teachers, more than 40 classrooms each.  This forces them to tier the teachers based on CLASS performance and dedicate coaching sessions to those in most need.  

Another weakness is full participation in the network.  Many sites consistently have representation in meetings, but several rarely participate.  This prevents centers from receiving the professional development strategies and requires additional work for the coaches and or coordinator to disseminate information to individuals not participating. 

Finally, not all sites have curriculum.  Several sites are utilizing the state’s curriculum initiative, along with SRCL funds, in order to purchase curriculum for each class.  However, some centers are challenged by not being able to pay the initial costs then be reimbursed.  Therefore, Ready Start funds have been dedicated to curriculum purchases.  The projection is for each class to be equipped with its own set of curriculum by the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

Guiding Statements

Vision:   Paving the way for early learners-cradle to Kindergarten

Mission: Teaching children to learn in quality, birth-5 classrooms, preparing them for independent, productive lives.

Strategic Plan

Goal 1:

Every Ready Start Tangipahoa classroom will implement quality curriculum by 2023.

  • Use SRCL and Ready Start funds to purchase Tier I curriculum.
  • Utilize the state’s curriculum initiative purchase program.
  • Elicit curriculum sponsors.

Resources:

Existing: 

  • SRCL funds
  • Ready Start funds
  • VOA/state curriculum initiative

Needed: 

  • Curriculum sponsors
  • Additional grant funding to complete each class with curriculum

Performance Metrics:

The outcomes would be measured by the total number of curriculum reported at each site through either the Performance Profile or Teaching Strategies GOLD. 

Goal 2:

Increase quality instruction by increasing overall CLASS scores in each classroom by .5 for veteran teachers and .2 for novice teachers by 2023.

  • Provide professional development geared to Instructional Support and Engaged Support for Learning
  • Provide coaching at each site.  Sites will be tiered to indicate level of support needed. 
  • Yearly financial compensation for teachers whose yearly average from fall and Spring, according to the performance profile CLASS scores, fall within the following proficiency ranges and  Negative Climate scores within the range of 6.5-7.0 (depending on funding availability).
    • Pre-K-bonus
      • $100 At or over 5.25
      • $200 At or over 5.75
      • $300 At or over 6.00
    • Toddler bonus
      • $100 At or over 5.5
      • $200 At or over 5.8
      • $300 At or over 6.1
    • Infant bonus
      • $100 At or over 5.75
      • $200 At or over 6.00
      • $300 At or over 6.25
  • Provide director training for instructional leadership and mentoring
  • Mentors and lead teachers will complete CLASS observer training
  • Provide an incentive for sites participating in the Community Network and training (supplies, additional mentoring/training, and funds when available).

Resources:

Existing: 

  • Head Start mentors, Education Specialists
  • Network coaches
  • Lead Agency, Ready Start, and SRLC funds for professional development
  • VOA (Volunteers of America) coaches and professional development opportunities
  • Title I funds for professional development

Needed:

  • Funds to support guest trainers
  • Funds for teacher stipends to attend professional development
  • Funds for CLASS observation trainings
  • Funds to offer incentives for participation in the Community Network
  • Funds for CLASS bonuses

Performance Metrics:

The outcomes would be measured by CLASS scores, sign-in sheets from professional development activities, and teacher retention data.

Goal 3:

By the end of 2023, expand access and enrollment to early learning for children aged birth-three in quality centers by 20%.

  • Apply for the Preschool Development Grant 
  • Increase Coordinated Enrollment Activities
  • Explore Early Head Start Funding 
  • Survey sites to determine number of open seats
  • Analyze data to determine area in need to meet the demand for seats.

Resources:

Existing: 

  • Coordinated enrollment activities and flyers
  • Head Start is currently a community partner
  • Some centers have expressed interest in adding three year old seats and have open space to accommodate the increase 
  • Ready Start Funds
  • School Mint online application system
  • Website highlighting Coordinated Enrollment campaign and early learning options.
  • Social media accounts advertising the enrollment campaign and resources

Needed: 

  • Preschool Development Grant

Performance Metrics: 

Increasing access and enrollment would be measured using Child Count and the online application program, School Mint. 

Goal 4: 

Increase parent accessibility, involvement, and awareness of resources in Ready Start Tangipahoa by May, 2023.

  • Maintain the Ready Start website, highlighting Early Childhood resources
  • Increase advertisement strategies to include disseminating flyers in libraries, doctor’s offices, hospitals, rural health clinics, Early Steps, etc.
  • Host parent orientations/workshops that include resources for parents as well as opportunities for becoming involved at their children’s sites
  • Use social media as an information outlet for Coordinated Enrollment activities 

Resources:

Existing: 

  • Ready Start Funds
  • Parent advocates and care-givers
  • Tangipahoa Parish School System Family Resource Center
  • Southeastern Louisiana University partnership
  • Social media outlets

Needed: 

  • Community partner participation (libraries, doctor’s offices, etc)
  • Increased number of coalition members to assist in increasing knowledge of Early Childhood resources

Performance Metrics: 

Parent involvement would be measured by the number of visits to the Ready Start Tangipahoa website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages, as well as sign-in sheets from parent involvement activities and workshops.

Ready Start Tangipahoa Blueprint
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