Thursday, October 15, 2015
Lancaster ISD Early Childhood Educators Receive Texas School Ready Grant
LANCASTER, TX /LANCASTER ISD - Lancaster ISD Early Childhood educators received an instructional upgrade at the announcement of the district’s selection to receive the Texas School Ready – Project Texas TSR Online+ grant award.
The grant will provide access to online advanced training in the Pre-Kindergarten Response to Intervention (P-RTI) instructional framework and supplemental curriculum as well as face-to-face learning on the foundational, research-based concepts of Texas School Ready and the CIRCLE line of professional development tools for Pre-Kindergarten educators.
Lancaster ISD Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education and a strong proponent of early learning, Dr. Helena Mosely, was honored to receive the news.
“Knowing that the process was competitive, I was excited that our district was selected above others. My team placed a great amount of detail into writing the grant so that our journey was captured accurately and the progress and challenges were reflected as well.”
Texas School Ready is a program of the Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) of The University of Texas-Health Science Center in partnership with the Texas Education Agency. Its platform provides child progress monitoring assessments and related supplementary lessons that target the improvement of a child’s least developed skilled areas, provides validated, research-based resources developed to improve preschool instruction and also houses professional development courses aimed at enhancing the learning environment.
The educators will have the opportunity to collaborate with EC educators outside of Lancaster ISD and to have sessions of individualized, data-driven coaching tightly aligned with professional development content. This additional layer of coaching support is to help teachers improve their practice using targeted tools and methods to meet each teacher’s specific needs in the classroom.
While, the more immediate focus of the grant is on the improvement of early childhood instruction, Dr. Mosely already sees the big picture.
“I believe the greatest benefit is ultimately to our children,” she said. “Research supports that the most important element in a classroom is the highly competent classroom teacher. The quality of a teacher significantly impacts the achievement of our students. This grant will allow us to increase the capacity of the classroom teacher and impact the pool of teachers collectively rather than just having ‘pockets’ of success.”
Lancaster ISD is the first district in the state to offer a Pre-K to 12th grade STEM for All educational model and is currently heralded as a leader in Early Childhood Education programming in the Best Southwest. The district offers Pre- K3 classes and full day Pre-K4 in a STEM-integrated learning environment.
As a district with the mission to help all of its students graduate with more than a diploma, create self-sustaining success and leave a lasting legacy, the grant makes this more possible for its smallest learners.
Mosely explained, “This grant connects with our S3/L3 vision in that the grant supports the capacity-building of teachers. When teachers have the skills and tools necessary to close the achievement gap in the EC grades, we interrupt the likelihood that students will struggle later in the school careers.”
She continued that this award provides opportunity to acquire “best practices” in early childhood which will increase effectiveness. This blended model platform will also allow our teachers to be an active part of creating the “next practices” as well.
“I believe the award will support the continuing efforts of the EC Department to access practices of quality on a global scale. The platform will allow Lancaster the opportunity to collaborate with EC educators outside of the walls of Lancaster ISD and also share effectiveness with individuals that we might not otherwise have an opportunity to collaborate with.”