Can you believe the 2021-2022 school year is coming to an end? Durham PreK teachers, teacher assistants, and directors have been working hard all year to increase classroom quality for children in Durham County!
Durham PreK is a local investment by Durham County Government in high-quality early childhood experiences for all children in Durham. Classroom quality is dependent on a number of factors, and two of the ways Durham PreK prioritizes is are having a highly-qualified workforce and strengthening teacher-child interactions.
Durham PreK lead teachers are required to have or be working toward an NC Birth-through-Kindergarten (B-K) License, and Durham PreK directors are required to become certified Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS©) Observers to support their teachers. This year, many lead teachers worked toward their B-K Licenses and many directors achieved their CLASS© certification. You can find the full list of celebrations below!
In addition to all of these accomplishments, many assistant teachers also worked with their Technical Assistance Specialists to begin higher degree programs, too! We are so proud of their hard work in and outside of the classroom.
We want to extend a special "thank you" to the Technical Assistance Team for supporting Durham PreK teachers, teacher assistants, and directors every day! They work year round to make sure Durham PreK staff have the resources and support they need to succeed.
They shared the following accomplishments your children's teachers have achieved this school year. We hope you'll join us in celebrating them!
One of Durham PreK's priorities is to have highly-qualified staff who are best prepared to teach your children during their pre-K year. To reach that goal, Technical Assistance Specialists support the higher learning plans of each teacher in need of an additional degree or certification, or those who want to further their education at a higher level. Many teachers and teacher assistants started their degree or certification programs this year.
Durham PreK Directors must attend a CLASS© Observer training and pass their certification assessment as one of the program requirements. CLASS© is an "observational instrument developed [...] to assess classroom quality in PK-12 classrooms." It assesses teacher-child interactions through classroom organization, social-emotional learning, and instructional support. Durham PreK uses CLASS© observations to help determine classroom quality during the RFA process, so when directors are certified observers, they are able to utilize their training to support their teachers.
Durham PreK teachers participate in a Community of Practice where they share experiences, learn from each other, and collaborate on new ideas. Each month, one of the teachers presents on an topic in early childhood education they're passionate about or on a lesson they did with their students.
In January, Ms. Morgan from Creative Schools at Davis Park was the "Featured Teacher," and the theme was Vocabulary, Literacy, and Play. She shared the ways in which she incorporates these in her classroom's center time with her colleagues.
Ms. Gina Allen from White Rock Child Development Center was the "Featured Teacher" for the March Community or Practice! The theme of that month's meeting was "creativity," so Ms. Gina shared the different strategies she used to promote creativity, curiosity, and imaginative play in her classroom!
This presentation inspired Ms. Sharelle and Ms. Beverly at Triangle Day Care Center to incorporate some of Ms. Gina's ideas into their classroom! They used cardboard boxes, stickers, cupcake liners, paper plates, crayons, and markers to express their creativity and make their own cars. Then the whole class used their cars to drive around the classroom!
In April, Ms. Kimberly Toth from Primary Colors Early Learning Center was the "Featured Teacher." The theme in April was Physical Development, so Ms. Kimberly presented her strategies on promoting fine and gross motor skills in her classroom!
While teachers in Durham PreK classrooms teach in a variety of different settings (in Head Start classrooms, at community-based programs, or in DPS elementary schools), the Community of Practice meetings give them an opportunity to work together, and as the name suggests, build a community.
One special aspect of technical assistance is the relationships that are built between teachers, teacher assistants, and directors and their Technical Assistance Specialist. This relationship is the foundation for a supportive learning environment, and it includes sharing personal wins with each other! Below are some of the many personal highlight that your teachers have celebrated this year.