Revitalizing Oakland Education for Students
This is the last installment of Educate78’s series highlighting the work of SEEDS of Learning.
SEEDS of Learning is a proven professional development program that provides teachers with strategies to building social emotional, language and literacy skills in young children.
Gloria Lee spent an evening learning about their work and speaking with teachers. Stay tuned to Educate78 to meet these Oakland HEROES.
The training demonstrated the power of assessments to inform planning in real time. The data presented was very specific, enabling the teachers to focus on what to do with students in the coming weeks and months given the data picture of their progress.
Dr. Marc Hernandez, an expert on literacy assessments from the University of Chicago, also attended the meeting and commented on the efficacy of assessment data informed instruction. “Once teachers start using data, they don’t want to go back,” Hernandez said. Not having student data “is like trying to save money without knowing what’s in your bank account.”
This work also builds a common understanding among teachers about how to improve student literacy, and it can be integrated into any existing program. What is crucial is that this work begin early, the way it’s happening in Oakland PreK and TK programs. “There is a real gap that has to be addressed,” explained Hernandez. “It’s never too late to accelerate older children’s learning, but it is much harder to catch up when students enter kindergarten behind. And it is very easy to integrate this literacy work into play, social-emotional development, relationships, creative expression, and other preschool activities. It’s not an either-or proposition. This is really something we need to invest in.”
Horst couldn’t agree more. “This group of teachers is a model for the nation. They have demonstrated the ability to look at child-specific data and then make individual plans on how to improve instruction while being sensitive to each child’s development,” said Horst. “This is a high level of using data to inform instruction. They are stellar at providing children with high quality learning as well as warm and positive relationships.”
Excerpt with permission from: Oakland Preschool Teachers – Boosting Literacy Skills
The educators at the Y are particularly inspiring. They know every child will succeed if given the opportunity and they are willing to try new strategies, support each other and hold each other accountable to giving kids daily evidenced based experiences to help children become joyful, respected and capable learners. They believe in and love their young students and their students have shown big gains!Susan True