1) Review: Introduction, Description, Objectives, and Key Concepts of lesson
2) Complete: Activity 1: Reflection on LINC Survey Results
3) Read: Material in Your Essential Library
5) Complete: Activity 2: Survey Collaboration in Your Community
In this lesson, participants will examine the important role of staff collaboration within and across school- and community-based settings, with particular emphasis on bridging Early Childhood and Elementary systems. The lesson also presents material on the importance of school leadership in fostering collaboration and the effect of collaboration on curricular alignment and student achievement. This lesson build on the material presented in the previous two lessons in Strand Four that explore the importance of relationship building to the education continuum.
After completing this lesson, participants should be able to:
In a birth to grade 12 system, communication and relationships matter.
During each stage of a child’s education (birth to age three, preschool, early elementary school, middle school, high school), educators gain a lot of insights about the child and his/her family. These insights are often lost when a child moves from one setting to another. We can achieve much more if we take away the “silo” approach and build relationships that foster communication among levels.
Communication and building trust is the first step in establishing a true continuum.
Early childhood educators rarely have meaningful relationships with elementary school teachers. They do not often work together collaboratively to make sure that children experience continuity throughout transition periods. School principals and ECE program directors can change this cultural practice to one of collaboration by promoting communication and shared professional development.
Supporting alignment and collaboration between PreKindergarten and Kindergarten teachers is key to establishing articulation throughout the continuum.
Regular communication between teachers at the PreK and K levels, including the exchange of student data, supports ongoing alignment and coordination of instruction. As schools adjust to the realities of a modern “data rich” school environment, it is all the more imperative that partners have the capacity to use and share the data they are collecting on their students’ progress across classrooms and schools.
Collaboration means identifying a shared set of differentiated roles.
A “shared set of differentiated roles” refers to the idea that actors in a particular set of organizations see themselves as part of the same ecosystem, and understand the necessity of developing an efficient division of labor that includes all of them. This requires developing differentiated roles and allocating these roles in a way that can align their work. With differentiated and aligned roles, the roles can easily articulate with one another, and the larger responsibilities of each organization can articulate with one another as well.
School leaders play an integral role in fostering collaboration.
To facilitate the types of alignment and collaboration necessary to establish a continuous education system, school leaders must actively cultivate an ethos of collaboration through communication and information sharing-not just teacher-to-teacher within the same school building, but also spanning the classrooms, school buildings, and community sites. Research clearly points to the important role school leaders play, and data also shows if done well, such collaboration significantly promotes student achievement across the learning continuum.
LINC has identified the following resources as the most essential current resources to help you inform yourself on this topic. You should peruse each of these resources prior to teaching this lesson. If you would like to complete additional research in this topic, there are optional resources in the Additional Resources for Further Study section.
To synthesize the material completed thus far in this lesson, consider the following through either small group discussion or individual writing response:
Activity 1: Reflection on LINC Survey Results
The pre-lesson activity should be completed prior to reading the material in Your Essential Library or participating in the discussion/writing response. It is designed to provide students with an introduction to the degree of collaboration between and among education levels.
Activity 2: Survey Collaboration in Your Community
The post-lesson activity is designed to help students grow their knowledge of collaboration by collecting their own data. It should be completed after the rest of the lesson has finished.
The resources that are annotated below are recommended for those who want additional information on the topics in this strand.
Para nuestros niños: National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics.
This site contains links to a variety of briefs, reports, articles, and data related to increasing school readiness and school achievement for Hispanic children. It includes articles related to building relationships with Hispanic families.
This joint project of the PTA and the Harvard Family Research Project contains practical suggestions for improving practice at the district level.
Parents as teacher. At this site the article Raising Young Children To the Top of the Policy Agenda: Lessons from Illinois gives a great overview of how Illinois got started and has made the commitment to early childhood education. It doesn’t fit in our section but it is an easy short read to add for beginning knowledge section about pre-k education here in Illinois.
Principals developing partnerships with communities to focus on the whole child (this article is about partnering with community members)