Texas School Ready

Thursday 7th April 2016

I met with Jennifer Lindley, at the Children’s Learning Institute  (CLI)  to hear first hand about the Texas School Ready program and CLI-Engage platform for schools.

The Texas School Ready project is the result of more than ten years of research and implementation by the State Centre for Early Childhood Development, the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Sciences (IES), National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States Department of Education (USDOE), The Texas Education Agency (TEA), and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to prioritise school readiness for disadvantaged children in Texas. TSR serves a population of at-risk children through public prekindergarten and Head Start programs, as well as a mixed population in private child care centres and home-based providers (similar to Family Day Care in Australia).

Less than half of students in Head Start and Public School programs are meeting related benchmarks for vocabulary and letter naming at the beginning of their pre-k programs.

TSR is a comprehensive preschool teacher training program that combines a research based, state-adopted curriculum with ongoing professional development and progress monitoring tools.  During the 2013-2014 school year approximately 25,000 students completed assessment in English and 4,200 students in Spanish. Many of the staff in Pre-K settings are not trained teachers and therefore this professional learning program gives them the skills and the recognition as trained educators.

350 of the 1200 Public Schools in Texas are currently using the program.  Once teachers have had 3 years professional development  (both in-person and web-based) training they have long term access  to all the online curriculum and materials and child progress monitoring tools. There are also classroom observation tools (COT).  The COT captures snapshots of a teacher’s behaviour and instruction during classroom observation visits that can be used to develop improvement plans and track a teacher’s progress over time. I like the (CEC) – Classroom Environment Checklist, which looks at the instructional planning tools, meaningful literacy centres and materials, and the overall design of the classroom.

More info can be found at http://www.texasschoolready.org/

Jennifer and I discussed similarities and differences between the CLI-Engage tools and NSW’s Best Start and PLAN platforms. The major difference was our Professional Development and Coaching are not built into online tools alongside PLAN.  Our assessments cover similar domains.

The CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System provides teachers immediate feedback that shows children’s progress in: • Rapid Letter Naming • Rapid Vocabulary Naming • Letter-Sound Correspondence • Phonological Awareness • Book and Print Knowledge • Story Retell & Comprehension • Speech Production & Sentence Skills • Motivation to Read • Early Writing • Mathematics • Science and Social Studies • Social and Emotional Development • Approaches to Learning • Physical Health and Development

Teachers use information from the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System to inform instructional decision-making for group and individual lesson planning. – similar to how we use PLAN.

The monitoring student progress platform also produces reports for teachers and parents, links to teacher activities and video examples to help build skills in these domains. – Similar to PLAN.

Jennifer then took me to the Rhodes School in East Houston to meet a TSR Coordinator (facilitator) Ladacia Austin and see first hand a school where staff are implementing TSR and Developing Talkers kit for oral language development.

In the classrooms I liked their centre organisation where the children put their names on the choice of centre they wished to work on.  The number of velcro dots were limited to the centre capacity.  The children then removed their names when they moved centres.  When a new centre was introduced this can be popular- a clipboard with paper can create a ‘waiting list’ for those who wish to go there.  However teachers found they also got busy else where and forgot the urgency and eventually found time later to do this station.


Thank you to Jennifer and Ladacia for their time to show me TSR and CLI-Engage.


on the way home i went to Lakeshore Learning (teacher supplies)- had to be done!!!!



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