A strong foundation is vital for strength, stamina, stability, and success. Research supports the fact that accountability as well as the road to college, career, and military readiness, does not begin in grade three or beyond; it actually begins in early childhood. Early childhood development and instructional best practices will ensure that our youngest students are kindergarten-ready and well-equipped for future learning. The foundation built in Early Childhood supports all the learning yet to come!
- House Bill 3
- Early Childhood Family Engagement Plan
- Early Childhood Program Self-Assessment for Prekindergarten Results
House Bill (HB) 3, 86th Legislative Session, amended Texas Education Code, §§29.164-172, to make high-quality prekindergarten components mandatory. All districts, open-enrollment charter schools, and districts of innovation must implement the following high-quality prekindergarten components in classrooms serving eligible four-year-old students:
- Student Progress Monitoring
- Prekindergarten Teacher Qualifications
- Teacher-to-Student Ratio
- Family Engagement
- Program Evaluation
- Data Reporting
Effective September 1, 2019, House Bill 3 also requires Full Day Pre-K for all eligible four-year-olds. In order to allow time to prepare for full day Pre-K, an exemption/waiver opportunity is being offered if construction of classroom facilities is required or if the move to full day would result in fewer students being served.
Crandall ISD provides a high-quality prekindergarten program to its youngest learners. Our goal is to bring families, schools, and the community together for the success of our students. In June 2017, The Texas Legislature passed The General Appropriations Act, Article III, Rider 78. Part of this legislation requires districts to create a specific family engagement plan for prekindergarten programs. Family engagement as defined in Rider 78 says, “The mutual responsibility of families, schools, and communities is to build relationships that support student learning and achievement, family well-being, and the continuous learning and development of children, families, and educators. Family engagement is fully integrated into the child’s educational experience, supports the whole child, and is both culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate.”
The following goals and strategies explain how Crandall ISD is engaging families:
Family Engagement Goal
Strategies in Action
1. Facilitate family-to-family support Create a safe and respectful environment where families can learn from each other as individuals and in groups Invite former program participants, including families and community volunteers, to share their education and career experiences with current families Ensure opportunities for continuous participation in events designed for families by families such as training on family leadership.
Pre-kindergarten teachers and teacher assistants will provide parents with opportunities to participate in district and campus initiatives such as:
● Offer day and evening activities for family engagement and interaction
2. Establish a network of community resources Build strategic partnerships Leverage community resources Monitor and evaluating policies and practices to stimulate innovation and create learning pathways Identify support from various agencies, including mental and physical health providers Partner with local community-based organizations to create a family-friendly transition plan for students arriving from early childhood settings Providing and facilitating referrals to family support or educational groups based on family interests and needs Communicate short- and long-terms program goals to all stakeholders Identify partners to provide translators and culturally relevant resources reflective of home language
● District Family Support Services
3. Increase family participation in decision-making Develop and support a family advisory council Develop, adopt, and implement identified goals within the annual campus/school improvement plan targeting family engagement Collaborate with families to develop strategies to solve problems and serve as problem solvers Engage families in shaping program activities and cultivating the expectation that information must flow in both directions to reflect two-way communication Develop, in collaboration with families, clearly defined goals, outcomes, timelines, and strategies for assessing progress Provide each family with an opportunity to review and provide input on program practices, policies, communications, and events in order to ensure the program is responsive to the needs of families Use appropriate tools such as surveys or focus groups to gather family feedback on the family engagement plan
● Conduct parent survey of instructional and engagement practices in PK
4. Equip families with tools to enhance and extend learning Design or implement existing home educational resources to support learning at home while strengthening the family/school partnership Providing families with information and/or training on creating a home learning environment connected to formal learning opportunities Equip families with resources and skills to support their children through the transition to school and offering opportunities for families and children to visit the school in advance of the prekindergarten school year Providing complementary home learning activities for families to engage in at home with parent/family-teacher conferences, or other school- or center-related events Providing families with information, best practices, and training related to age-appropriate developmental expectations Emphasize benefits of positive family practices such as attachment and nurturing that complement the stages of children’s development Collaborating with families to appropriately respond to children’s behavior in a non-punitive positive, and supportive way
● Provide parents with digital and print access to CLI Engage progress monitoring and assessments
5. Develop staff skills in evidence-based practices that support families in meeting their children’s learning benchmarks Provide essential professional development for educators in understanding communication and engagement with families, including training on communicating with families in crisis Promote and develop family engagement as a core strategy to improve teaching and learning among all educators and staff Develop staff skills to support and use culturally diverse, culturally relevant, and culturally responsive family engagement strategies
● Train teachers on CLI Engage assessment and progress monitoring tools
6. Evaluate family engagement efforts and use evaluations for continuous improvement Conducting goal-oriented home visits to identify strengths, interests, and needs Developing data collection systems to monitor family engagement and focusing on engagement of families from specific populations to narrow the achievement gap Use data to ensure alignment between family engagement activities and district/school teaching and learning goals and to promote continuous family engagement Use a cyclical process to ensure evaluation results are used for continuous improvement and adjustment Ensure teachers play a role in the family engagement evaluation process
Review parent surveys of instructional and engagement practices in PK
Early Childhood Program Self-Assessment for Prekindergarten Results
Crandall ISD conducted a program self-assessment of its Pre-Kindergarten program to determine the quality of the program using a voluntary tool provided by the Texas Education Agency. We are using the results of the program self-assessment as part of our continuous improvement efforts in order to better serve our students and families. If you have any questions about the results of the program selfassessment, please contact Kristi Matlock at 972-427-6000.
1. Instruction- CISD teachers consistently plan, implement, and evaluate activities that introduce, reinforce, and practice new concepts and skills. The daily schedule contains a balance between small group, large group, individual choice, and teacher led activities.
2. Teacher Qualifications- All teaching staff (teachers and teacher assistants) in the high-quality prekindergarten program meet the minimum certification and qualifications as set in the Commissioners Rules. Some teaching staff exceed the minimum qualifications.
3. Student Progress Monitoring- CISD administers PK Circle to students three times a year to assess students’ progress.
Opportunities to Grow Identified:
1. Enrollment- CISD has identified outreach strategies in our prekindergarten enrollment process as an area of weakness.
2. Curriculum- There is inconsistent vertical alignment between the high-quality prekindergarten program and K-3rd curriculum.
3. Program Evaluation- The data collection, analysis and reporting of the high-quality prekindergarten program is a targeted area of improvement.
Next Steps for Continuous Improvement:
1. Enrollment- CISD will improve outreach strategies by working closely with the district media specialist to publicize prekindergarten enrollment on our various social media channels. There will be an increase in signage in district public places. All signage will be in English and Spanish. CISD will offer multiple days of prekindergarten enrollment including day and evening hours to better serve family needs.
2. Curriculum- CISD will implement the newly adopted textbook, Frog Street Press, and create a scope and sequence for the prekindergarten program. Teachers will be trained on how to use the TEKS vertical alignment documents to ensure alignment between prekindergarten and kindergarten. Professional Development for prekindergarten teachers will be offered at the campus and district level.
3. Program Evaluation- CISD will make continuous improvements in progress monitoring by analyzing reports with teachers and planning instructional improvements based on data. CISD will provide family engagement opportunities to better serve parents understanding of their students’ needs.