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Action Step and Orientation

R3. Examine and communicate site/campus-based prekindergarten assessment performance data and progress toward goals in the data-informed plan for improving language and pre-literacy instruction.

This Action Step focuses on the role of leadership in ensuring quality of care and instruction at your school. This lesson will guide you in establishing or strengthening your system for communicating the goals of the TSLP to staff and providing systematic feedback to staff on their implementation of language and pre-literacy initiatives.

Part 1 describes the purpose and process of using data to examine your progress toward site-wide goals.

Part 2 describes ways to communicate your progress to key stakeholders such as staff, families, and community partners.

To get started, download the Implementation Guide for this component and refer to the Action Step for this lesson. Review the Implementation Indicators for each level of implementation and note the Sample Evidence listed at the bottom of the chart.

Part 1—Using Data to Examine Progress Toward Site Goals in Language and Pre-Literacy

One of the most important activities you and your leadership team engage in is goal setting. As leaders, you want your staff to understand your vision for learning and development at your site and to work together to meet the goals you set. The success of this process depends on both leaders and staff communicating their progress toward goals and defining action items together to provide the best care and instruction possible to the children at your site.

The Assessment module of the TSLP provides in-depth guidance on how to measure children’s learning and development and how to establish a successful assessment plan at your site. Action Step R3 is about building on the components of your assessment plan to ensure you are examining progress toward site-wide goals in language and pre-literacy. In other words, it is about taking a step back to look at your program(s) as a whole and determine how well you are achieving the level of care for infants, toddlers, and/or preschool children that you set in your data-informed plan. (You can find more information about creating this plan in Lesson L3—Data informed plan in the Leadership module.)

You will be looking at several sources of information that can tell you how you are progressing toward site-wide goals. By implementing an assessment plan at your school, you are collecting information on each child on an ongoing basis. You do this through regular and systematic observation of children in the classroom setting and documentation of learning and development. You may also use formal measures such as developmental checklists and pre-literacy screeners to understand where children are in their learning and development. (You can refer to Lesson 1—A1 and A2: Observation and assessment and Lesson 2—A1 and A2: Appropriate assessment tools in the Assessment module for more in-depth guidance on types of assessments.) Finally, as instructional leaders, you conduct regular classroom visits to measure the quality of care and instruction at your site. You can use the information from your visits to identify strengths and needs and to support staff in their own professional growth. (You can refer back to Lesson R2—Observation and support for more guidance on classroom visits.)

As you plan to analyze your progress, you may consider the following discussion questions and identify sources of information that you need to answer them:

  • For infants and toddlers, how well is staff implementing care that is aligned with the Texas Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines and your school goals? How are the classroom environment and activities set up to support progress in each developmental domain?
  • For preschool children, how well is staff implementing instruction that aligns with the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines (Updated 2015) and your school’s language and pre-literacy goals?
  • How are children progressing in language and pre-literacy development? What do our assessments of learning (such as screeners and checklists) tell us about our instructional efforts?
  • For children of all ages, how well is staff identifying and responding to children’s diverse needs?

As always, when examining questions about the progress of infants, toddlers, and preschool children, it is critical to remember that there can be variation in learning and development, and children can progress at different rates. For infants and toddlers, you may not have fixed measures of progress toward certain skills. The most important indicators of your school’s success might be how well your staff understand state guidelines, keep track of progress toward developmental milestones, and deliver lessons that support development in each domain. The same applies to teachers of preschool children; however, you may also have more formal measures of language and pre-literacy development for children age 3–5 that you can examine to determine if you are on track for your goals.

Looking at site-wide data from different sources is key in understanding how your school is progressing toward desired outcomes. The next critical step is communicating your progress to key stakeholders and collaborating with them to continually build on your site’s efforts to provide the best care and instruction possible.

Part 2—Communicating Progress Toward Goals to Support Staff and Improve Site-Wide Efforts

As you examine data and the impact of the work you have been doing at your site, you and your team will be looking at progress toward desired outcomes. You and your team have determined these desired outcomes based on the areas of your data-informed plan for improving language and pre-literacy instruction you have chosen to focus on and the specific goals you have set as a team. For many sites, these desired outcomes may be determined at the district or state level, depending on your type of program (for example, Head Start, Texas School Ready!, or Texas Rising Star). For sites with district or state requirements, you want to make sure that you follow the required reporting procedures.

As important as it is to report your progress to district and state agencies if you are required to do so, it is equally important to communicate your progress to the different stakeholders who play key roles in the success of children at your site. These stakeholders include all teachers, specialized staff, community partners, and families of the children in your care.

First, you will want to have ongoing communication with staff and include them in the process of examining progress. In fact, this process is key to staff’s professional development. Working on this Action Step can also help you and your team

  • identify what teacher practices are working and how to support all teachers in implementing effective practices;
  • identify staff strengths and needs and plan support for staff (allocate resources); and
  • set new goals and revise your data-informed plan for improving language and pre-literacy instruction.

To include staff in this process, you want to ensure they understand the types of information that tell them how they are progressing toward goals. As emphasized in the Assessment module and Lessons R1 and R2, staff may need support in conducting quality observations of the children in their classrooms and using the assessments at your site to measure children’s learning. They will also need to understand how to look at data in groups (such as by class or age level) and understand trends in the data. You and your leadership team want to ensure staff members have the knowledge to participate in this process, and to accomplish that, the team will need to provide professional development as necessary.

When leaders and staff both have a strong understanding of how children are progressing, they can plan steps together to continue to improve their delivery of care. You can set new goals together and draw on different staff members’ expertise in planning to meet those goals.

Families are also key stakeholders and need to be informed of your school’s efforts and progress toward goals. When families understand your site’s goals and the specific practices you are implementing to achieve these goals, they become collaborative partners in the process.

Consider what you know about your community as you plan to communicate with families: What languages do they speak most fluently? When are parents and families available for meetings? What information do you have to share, and how will that relate to them? How much access do families have to the Internet for online communication and resources?

When communicating with families, it is important to present information in a format that is clear and comprehensible to them; that is, visuals and language that people who aren’t experts in early childhood education can understand. Some key points to include in your communication about data are

  • an explanation of the assessment items;
  • the dates of assessments or observations;
  • any additional notes regarding the assessment or observation; and
  • goals for the future.

During interactions with families, you can gather ideas and information about how you can work together to achieve learning goals for children.

Including key stakeholders in your reporting process is critical in continuing progress toward your site’s goals. Overall, this Action Step is part of a strong assessment plan for your site, as the information you gather and examine is the most important tool you have to understand the impact of your efforts. When this component of your system is in place, you build a team climate at your school and a culture of collaboration to best meet the needs of the children you serve.

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TO LEARN MORE: Use the following resources to learn more about using assessment to evaluate progress towards language and pre-literacy goals.

Preschool Assessment: A Guide to Developing a Balanced Approach” describes recommendations for using assessment information to evaluate the effectiveness of preschool programs. It is available through the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Sharing Assessment Data with Preschool Families in Preparation for Kindergarten,” available through the Harvard Family Research Project, describes an example from the field where teachers implemented a successful data-sharing process with families of preschool children.

The National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement provides this useful resource that you and your team may want to review. The second section, which starts on page 7 and is titled “Program Opportunities to Engage Families in Children’s Learning and Development,” includes a discussion of what data means in early childhood, what to consider when sharing data with families, and how to use data to work with families to improve child outcomes.

As with any Action Step that focuses on measuring care and instruction for children ages 0–SE, it can be helpful to review the various state standards and use them as guidelines for what to look for when evaluating the success of your efforts. These include the Texas Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines and the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines (Updated 2015).

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NEXT STEPS: Depending on where you are in the process of examining progress toward site-wide goals, you may want to consider the following next steps:

  • Determine staff’s knowledge of analyzing data to evaluate outcomes for children and plan professional development accordingly.
  • Meet with your leadership team to establish procedures for communicating site-wide progress to different stakeholders.
  • Determine what types of information (data) you will use to evaluate the overall progress toward language and pre-literacy goals at your site and discuss the best ways to organize that data.
  • Schedule collaborative meetings with staff to discuss the data and identify trends to determine strengths and needs at your site overall.

Assignment

R3. Examine and communicate site/campus-based prekindergarten assessment performance data and progress toward goals in the data-informed plan for improving language and pre-literacy instruction.

With your site/campus-based leadership team, review your team’s self-assessed rating for Action Step R3 in the TSLP Implementation Status Ratings document and then respond to the four questions in the assignment.

TSLP Implementation Status Ratings 0-SE

In completing your assignment with your team, the following resources and information from this lesson’s content may be useful to you:

  • Refer to Part 1 to review the purpose and process of using data to examine your progress toward site-wide goals.
  • Refer to Part 2 for information on communicating your progress to key stakeholders to build on and improve your efforts to achieve desired outcomes for children.

Next Steps also contains suggestions that your site or campus may want to consider when you focus your efforts on this Action Step.

To record your responses, go to the Assignment template for this lesson and follow the instructions.

Completion

Follow instructions provided by your school or district.