March 7, 2014
According to a triennial monitoring review, the Big Sandy Area Community Action Program (BSACAP) Head Start program ranks among the top 10 percent in the country in instructional support. The review, which was conducted by the Administration for Children and Families in December 2013, also found no area of noncompliance in the program.
In addition, the Head Start program ranked above average in the areas of emotional support and classroom organization.
Head Start Director Tracy Jenkins said the review featured two kinds of monitoring.
“One part of the review included interviews, on-site observations, and an examination of documents to ensure we meet all rules and regulations set forth by the Office of Head Start,” Jenkins explained. “The other part of the review – the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) – looked at interactions between teachers and students and interaction among the students.”
Jenkins attributed the results of the review to preparation and planning.
“About four years ago, we took the initiative to have seven staff members from both the grantee and delegate programs become certified CLASS reviewers,” Jenkins said. “It wasn’t mandated, but this action helped the teaching staff better understand what’s expected during a review. It expanded their knowledge and strengthened their grasp on what true student-teacher interaction should be.”
Jenkins said the program’s certified-CLASS reviewers observe classrooms in the fall and spring and generate scores for classrooms that need improvement. Although he described this federal review as the best in his 14 years with BSACAP, Jenkins said there’s no room for complacency.
“The review said there’s no area of concern and we don’t see any place where you can make improvements. However, we have to hold ourselves accountable to an even higher standard,” he said.
To that end, Jenkins said the Head Start program plans to record subsequent CLASS observations and exchange discs with a program in northern Kentucky.
“We want to make sure we’re scoring correctly,” he said.
According to Jenkins, the positive review couldn’t have happened without a team effort.
“If we didn’t have good people on all levels, we would not have received such a favorable review. Our managers have a very good understanding of their components, the parents were also able to share their knowledge and the teaching staff did an exceptional job. During the review, 77 visits were made to our 64 classrooms,” he said.
BSACAP Executive Director James Michael Howell also praised the program.
“The Head Start program earned this good review through hard work,” BSACAP Howell noted. “They are to be commended for the results.”
BSACAP operates, through contractual delegations to local school boards of education, Head Start programs in Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, and Martin counties with services also provided through the Paintsville Independent School. In addition, BSACAP also directly operates four classrooms housed in Model City Head Start.