20 Early Educators to Help Increase High-Quality Teacher/Child Interactions

Summit Education Initiative distributed the following press release on May 31, 2017.

Elevate, celebrate and support are three items on the agenda of a new, exclusive group of early educators.

CLASS Act Scholars of Summit County is a new program that combines the Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS®) with free coaching, mentoring and professional development for a group of 20 educators working in Summit County preschools and child care centers. Generous funding from GAR Foundation, GPD Group Employees’ Foundation and PNC Foundation will support CLASS Act Scholars’ pilot year and beyond.

teacher reading to students in Akron classroom“This program will provide high-quality training designed to support outstanding early childhood education outcomes,” said PNC Regional President Kevin Thompson. “PNC recognizes the critical role that access to high-quality early childhood education plays in the lives of area children, their families and ultimately, our economy.”

CLASS is a research-based approach that focuses on the features of quality that are most important to children’s learning and development. The purpose of CLASS training is to strengthen, support and empower teachers in ways that drive high-quality teacher/child interactions. Research shows that even small differences in interactions can increase a child’s learning and social emotional outcomes.

“We are excited to select and welcome the first cohort of CLASS Act Scholars as they dive into the program,” said Laura DiCola, Early Childhood Strategy Leader for Summit Education Initiative (SEI). “All participants will have many opportunities to not only celebrate accomplishments and successes, but also connect to a valued and recognized community of early educators. They will build relationships with other educators in the profession, while learning practical strategies they can use to boost quality interactions.”

Starting in September 2017, scholars will participate in a free 10-session, interactive course called, “Making the Most of Classroom Interactions” (MMCI). The course gives teachers a deeper understanding of CLASS-based principles and practical strategies to interact more intentionally and effectively in ways that are proven to increase children’s learning.

“One of the goals of this program is to increase public perception and awareness of early childhood teachers and caregivers as doing the critical work of early brain development, which sets the foundation for success in school and life,” DiCola said. “We aim to lift the perception of early childhood professionals as a whole.”

In addition to free coaching and professional development, participants will earn $1,250 upon graduating from the program in May 2018, $250 for their preschool to use for classrooms, CEUs and credits and access to high-quality print and video resources.teacher working with child in Akron classroom

For more information about CLASS Act Scholars of Summit County, or to apply to participate in the program, visit www.seisummit.org/CLASS. The application deadline is Friday, June 30, 2017. The CLASS Act Scholars selection committee will notify all applicants by Aug. 1 to share whether applications were accepted.

For those who are interested in the program but unsure about the commitment, SEI will host two information sessions next week. The first session is from 9 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6, and the second is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7. Both sessions will take place in SEI’s conference room, located in Suite 330 at Quaker Square, 120 East Mill Street, Akron. Individuals may RSVP to either session here.

Please direct CLASS Act Scholars questions to Laura DiCola at ldicola@seisummit.org or 330-535-8833.

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About Summit Education Initiative

Summit Education Initiative (SEI) is a nonprofit organization working to enhance the educational experiences of individuals and their families living in Summit County. SEI believes this helps ensure every student graduates prepared, passionate and persistent. The mission of SEI is to improve personal and regional prosperity through increased educational attainment.

About PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit http://www.pncgrowupgreat.com and follow PNC Grow Up Great on YouTube here.