Growing Roots & Confidence in PreK
Interview with Sue
Master Coach – PreK Reading Corps
I have had the pleasure of being a Master Coach with the Michigan Education Corps PreK Reading Corps over 5 years. My career with the young child has spanned 5 decades. I began with the Head Start program the first year it was in operation 56 years ago when I was in college and at that point committed to work with the young child. I could see that the early learning programs make a difference for a child’s learning and future success. I taught second grade, then taught and directed a preschool for six years, then for 17 years taught and directed a child development program and operated the lab school at the Ottawa Area Vocational School; also the last few years we expanded and created an Infant Toddler as well as the preschool program and added CDA certification through a Community College. In the next chapter I was an elementary principal for 13 years. I then went to Muskegon Intermediate School District as a Head Start Curriculum Consultant and Early Childhood Specialist where I have been for 10 years. The opportunity to have the PreK Reading Corps program in Muskegon County was presented as the first PreK Reading program in Michigan. I was privileged to be chosen for the Master Coach of that program 6 years ago, and also became a trainer for three of those years.
What is your position and responsibilities with the Michigan Education Corps? My position is to support the young learners, the Internal Coach, the interventionists, and teachers. I actively go through the training with the Coach and interventionists (previously I was one of the trainers) . We practice all the interventions and assessments together and 100% reliability must be reached with the interventionist before the Math and Literacy assessments can be given to the children. After assessments are given we meet to determine where each child currently is on the learning curve and determine the support the interventionist will provide. With the teachers we collaborate to make the literacy and math rich schedule and determine where and when the interventionists will do their work with small groups, individually and with the total class. The assessment data determines which children will receive the extra support. The schedule also determines where the interventionist will be for the Tier 1 instruction (journals, math & literacy support, transitions) as well as the Tier 2 and 3 scripted and tiered interventions.
How does PreK Reading Corps work? What are the benefits of the PreK Reading Corps program? The PreK Reading and Math Corps interventionist interacts with all the children in a PreK class supporting their learning. They provide guidance with the entire classroom and for a portion of each day work individually or in small groups with children that they have identified through the literacy and math assessment they have given to be in need of extra support with their learning. To be able to identify and work individually with a child at their current learning level and give the support needed for their learning starts the child’s learning with success and is a gift for their future in education.
How often do you meet with interventionists and internal coaches? What do you discuss? Why is this important? I meet and communicate after we go through our training together and we meet approximately 4 times a month. We discuss individual needs and learning, have data meetings on student data, observe in the classroom together coaching together after observations, do authentic assessments for the testing materials with each interventionist, and provide resources and feedback. To have a team approach for students and interventionists performance and learning is extremely valuable. We also communicate many times a month virtually on any concerns or celebrations.
What kind of impact does MEC’s coaching model have on interventionists and students? To be able to do team coaching, sharing, learning, and supporting together has an amazing impact on student learning as well as extending learning and positive results for each child in the classroom. It is a model that has proven through data and research that it makes a difference!
What is one thing that you want people to know about the impact of PreK Reading Corps? The gift to the young learner and their knowledge base as they enter kindergarten is absolutely wonderful. When students begin their years in the K-12 system they have the base and the confidence to be successful because an interventionist has taken them where they are and brought them to where they should be to begin Kindergarten. In their future learning journey they will have the base to build success, and in the large classroom with one teacher in the future the individual need is so difficult to attain so to come in with the roots to learning it makes a difference for their future.
Is there anything else you want to share about your experience working with MEC and/or PreK Reading Corps? Coming from many years in the K-12 public school system I am a strong believer in the Reading and Math Corps and the gift it gives to children for their future. The program is amazing and many of the Reading Corps learnings have been adopted for our PreK programs throughout our county.