Ring, Ring, Ring, CLASS® is in Session at CCSA!

What CLASS are we referring to?

CLASS® stands for Classroom Assessment Scoring System created by Teachstone® out of Virginia where they provide research-based, reliable professional development programs, certifications and trainings. CLASS® helps teachers create a secure, respectful, supportive classrooms for learning and exploration for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary, middle and highschoolers.

The technical assistance department at Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is an authorized Teachstone® affiliate agency and uses many of the tools offered by Teachstone® such as infant/toddler/preschoolers measures, Coaching with myTeachstone® and  CLASS® Group Coaching (MMCI: Making the Most of Classroom Interactions) as resources in our delivery of technical assistance (TA) services. Our TA specialists are certified trainers and CLASS® observers.

What is CLASS® Group Coaching (MMCI)?

It’s often referred to as Making the Most of Classroom Interactions until the recent name change to CLASS® Group Coaching. It is designed to support teachers’ understanding of what effective interactions are and why they matter. Teachers attend a 12 session course to learn strategies that will enhance their teaching practices. The domains and dimensions covered in the course depend on the age of the children they are teaching. TA specialists lead these sessions and then spend time observing and coaching the teachers as they implement the strategies covered in the course. This combination of professional development, observation and coaching provide teachers with the resources needed to learn, reflect and implement best practices in their teaching.

We are currently hosting four MMCI group sessions with amazing teachers who are learning alongside their peers in small group-coaching environments. When the TAs are coaching the teachers, they use a parallel process. The parallel process shows teachers that the TA/coach is:

  • building a warm, supportive relationship,
  • demonstrating respect for their perspectives by being flexible and having a genuine interest in their processing of learning, while
  • encouraging them to problem solve and try new suggested strategies and give feedback that encourages teachers’ efforts and expands their skills just as the teacher does with children.

Let’s hear from technical assistance specialists from CCSA who are linking MMCI and coaching to our four cohorts of teachers.

Photo of Kamika Henderson
Kamika Henderson

MMCI Coach Kamika Henderson stated, “I have noticed that MMCI has had a great impact on how I set up my coaching for TA visits. For teachers who are currently attending MMCI training, whichever dimension we are focusing on will be part of our focus for our TA coaching session. After teachers have identified one or two strengths to build on, I follow-up with them and we discuss those challenges or barriers they have experienced and identify ways to overcome them.

“In results, teachers are becoming more aware of their social interactions with their students, intentional with their practices and open to building on their strengths. In addition, I am able to share with the directors what we are focusing on for TA coaching. Most of the directors I work with have a CLASS® Pre-K Observer certification, so they are aware of that shared language I am using with teachers as it relates to CLASS®, which has been very helpful. I have noticed that some directors are becoming more interested in what I am working on with teachers and wanting to know how teachers’ social interactions are improving.”

MMCI Coach Yakima Scott shared, “My experiences with teaching and coaching MMCI have impacted the teachers and directors in profound ways. As a TA/Coach who teaches IT MMCI sessions and offers coaching between the sessions to the same teachers, it feels awesome. It’s great to circle back around and follow up with the teachers on exemplar videos or key concepts/dimensions we discussed in the MMCI sessions. Having separate coaching sessions with those teachers who may not be as vocal in the MMCI sessions often feel safer to ask questions privately in our coaching sessions just like with shy children.

“I would like to share the impact of MMCI/CLASS® on one of my child care directors. This particular director incorporated gaining more knowledge about the CLASS® into her Quality Improvement Plan (QUIP). She wanted to get a better sense of the Dimensions her teachers were learning in-depth in the MMCI course. As a part of her QUIP, one of her action steps is to amend her performance appraisal to formally observe for some of the CLASS® Dimensions. In doing so, she can show her staff she believes in the enriched outcome that MMCI/CLASS® provides for children.

“One of the biggest pleasures I get from teaching MMCI and coaching is knowing that I am sharing tools for their ‘teacher toolkit.’ This past year has proven to so many that early childhood education teachers are in fact ‘essential’ and they should be treated and compensated as such. With these additional and intentional practices, they are learning and feeling empowered to know they can be the catalyst for change to improve outcomes for children in North Carolina!”

Photo of Krista Potter
Krista Potter

MMCI Coach Krista Potter said, “I feel that the MMCI course/sessions offer a deeper understanding to each dimension that provides the teachers with opportunities to enhance their knowledge of the behavior markers that support CLASS® indicators for each age of development. The teachers have an opportunity to view and discuss video footage to see practices in action. These activities/scenarios offer a real experience to have deeper conversations about what they are doing and how they incorporate these teaching practices into their own classroom interactions. The MMCI course offers ideas and an opportunity for sharing/networking with other teachers about the same things they are experiencing.

“During my coaching sessions with the teachers, they always mention how they better understand each dimension after attending a MMCI session. As a coach, I work with the teachers to identify strategies to create positive interactions and opportunities for expanded learning in their classrooms. We discuss how the Dimension can support the goal they chose to incorporate into their daily routines and activities.

“I feel that MMCI plays a vital role in helping teachers have a better understanding of the CLASS® Dimensions while TA coaching supports the teacher in implementing the strategies into their classrooms to promote effective communications and interactions with the children.”

In these uncertain times, interactions between teachers and children are critical in helping children learn and feel comfortable and confident in the classroom.