Durham PreK Teacher Spotlight – April 2021

April 21, 2021

Durham PreK is committed to high-quality early education, and one way we support that is through weekly technical assistance and coaching with Durham PreK teachers and directors. Each month, we highlight some of the incredible work our teachers and students are doing. Check out the highlights from March and April below!

Classroom Highlights

Another Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center

In December of 2020 Durham PreK completed CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System®) in all of our Durham PreK classrooms. Rosalind scored well in the Emotional Support domain, which looks at children’s social and emotional functioning in the classroom, and Classroom Organization, which includes a broad array of classroom processes related to the organization and management of students’ behavior, time, and attention in the classroom.

"TA support is such a positive tool allowing the teachers to access weekly support as they work on strengthening their instruction and interactions with children."

Rosalind and Nita, her Technical Assistant, identified the Instructional Support domain as an area of growth. They created a professional development plan with goals centered on ways to shift her focus on the content of learning activities to the implementation of those activities and how to measure their effectiveness for supporting cognitive and language development. Since working together, Rosalind has successfully incorporated what she's learned from Nita!

Nita said, "I witnessed the following: Rosalind using strategies and questions to help children obtain a deeper understanding of concepts through the use of problem solving, exploration, and applying knowledge to their real life experiences."

Nita says they will continue to work on this domain for the remainder of the year.

Childcare Network, Inc. #166

Lead Teacher Tiandra Johnson is currently participating in our Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI) cohort. MMCI is a 12-session comprehensive training using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®). In their weekly TA meetings, Nita and Tiandra discuss the prior session’s dimensions and brainstorm ways to make to incorporate what she learned into her classroom.

Connecting TA to the 12-week program allows the opportunity to reinforce what is learned and to support implementation in the classroom.

Tiandra has grown exponentially in the area of classroom interactions. Tiandra has submitted videos for Nita's feedback, and has taken the strategies and suggestions Nita has offered to heart and included them in her lessons.

Great improvement has occurred for the following dimensions:

  • Regard for Student Perspectives - which looks at how the teacher intentionally and consistently places emphasis on children’s interest motivations, and points of view.
  • Instructional Learning Formats - which looks at how the teacher makes the most of children’s interest, engagement and ability to learn from lessons and activities.

Triangle Day Care Center

Ms. Abigail and Ms. Britteny have been working towards promoting students' higher-order thinking skills and cognition. They have implemented several activities that align with the CLASS dimension Concept Development - indicator Analysis and Reasoning!

One activity was a sound experiment that used different size glasses and explored with their students what sound empty glasses made versus glasses with water added. The students were also able to make predictions on what would happen when colors are mixed together.

As a STEM project, while talking about buildings, their class read The Three Little Pigs, and each student was able to use marshmallows and toothpicks to build a house. When they were done building, the wolf (a hairdryer) tried to blow each house down. If the "wolf" blew it down, students used their creative thinking skills and came up with a way to make their house sturdier.

Ms. Sharelle and Ms. Beverly have provided opportunities for students to take on different responsibilities in their classroom. Each student can pick a different classroom job, such as line leader, calendar helper, light helper and a new job called "mask manager". These opportunities align with CLASS dimension: Regard for Student Perspectives - indicator Support for Autonomy and Leadership.

During the month of March Ms. Shamika and Ms. D'Asia's class focused on the use of advanced language while introducing the topic natural disasters to students. During group time discussions, new vocabulary introduced to students were earthquakes, volcanoes, tornado, damage and danger. Visuals and videos were used to clarify the new vocabulary terms. These examples of new vocabulary being introduced to students is aligned with CLASS dimension Language Modeling - indicator Advance Language.

What a wonderful glimpse into the classrooms at Triangle Day Care!

Teacher Testimonials

"I’m so grateful.  Everything is really great and is very helpful to me.  Any feedback I can get, I learn a lot from it to make me a better teacher.” - Kimberly Toth, teacher at Primary Colors Early Learning Center

“I like CLASS as an assessment better than ECERS. It focuses on teachers, their interactions, and what they are doing with children. It gets the children talking [and] having conversations, and expressing themselves will go a lot further when they go off to kindergarten. ECERS component looks at the way you talk to the children and the interactions. CLASS takes it to another level and broadens that.  PAS is a useful tool that can help directors with leadership skills and other areas like effective staff evaluations, staff observation and policies in place." - Karyn Wilkerson

Happy Birthday!

Kiana McMillan - March 17th

Cassandra Wise - March 19th

Brenda Jones - March 23rd


Congratulations to Brenda Stephenson from White Rock CDC! Brenda S. was the $50 Kaplan raffle winner at the 2021 ASK Conference. Brenda shared that she is planning purchase an item for her classroom.

Cassandra Wise received a certificate from Durham Tech for completing the Teaching Adult Learners 6-week course.

Ms. Murphy at Randy's Five Star Academy, Inc. has implemented a new system for recognizing staff for their years of service. She treated all staff to dinner and each staff that was recognized had the opportunity to spin the wheel for a chance to win a prize. Some prizes were free pedicure, manicure, or lunch provided by the director.

Thank you to all of our wonderful Durham PreK Directors, Teachers and Teacher Assistants, and to the Durham PreK Technical Assistants for sharing these highlights with us.

Do you want to add a shoutout for a teacher? Comment below and let us know!