Anne-Michelle Engelstad—Kennedy Krieger Institute
“She transformed as a practitioner."
"As a special educator myself who had the opportunity to learn the Early Achievements model from experts at Kennedy Krieger, I knew there was something special in the way the model combines existing best practices in intervention with innovative strategies for eliciting pivotal developmental behaviors. What was perhaps most exciting to me as a special educator was the accessibility of the model and the way it supplements a teacher's established routine. I also appreciate that EA allows teachers to continue working on existing IEP goals, but embed those goals within a framework targeting skills that are most central to children's social, communicative, and cognitive growth. I could not wait to share these strategies with other special educators as a coach."
"There are no words to describe the feeling you get as a coach when a teachers sees her students changing right before her eyes. Just weeks after implementing the intervention, one of the teachers I was working with exclaimed, "It's working!" I assured her it was only working because she was making it work. Through thoughtful self-reflection, mindful planning, and an eagerness to learn and grow as an Early Achievements interventionist, this teacher had transformed not just her students but herself as a practitioner. Watching the confidence and skillset of a teacher grown would give a great sense of purpose to anyone wanting to advance the field of special education."
"Building relationships with these dedicated teachers is one of the most worthwhile aspects of being a coach. A teacher might e-mail pictures of a creative lesson or send a text message alert that a student just had a breakthrough moment. I tis so much fun to share in these successes, and to remind a teacher that her or his creativity, design, and execution opened the door for that student."
Michael Molinaro—Kennedy Krieger Institute
"Coaches are there with teachers in the trenches to help them create the most meaningful experience for their students."
"They [teachers] are using evidence-based practices of the EA instructional approach, and they learn how to tweak their instruction day by day as they see new skills emerging in their students."
EA uses a collaborative coaching approach
“First and foremost, the coaching approach in the EA model is providing affirmative feedback to teachers. Coaches emphasize what teachers are doing really well, strengthening their self-confidence. After that, we provide a few points of refinement. We use a collaborative approach to create the action plan for the upcoming week, which identifies what EA instructional strategies that the teacher is going to work on for the week.”
Shift in teachers' perspectives about being coached
“When teachers first enter into their experience with being coached, they are often kind of nervous about it because they’ve never experienced professional development that’s this consistent and provides this type of support. Coaches are there with teachers in the trenches to help them create the most meaningful experience for their students. Instead of thinking “Oh my gosh, you’re here again?,” or “You’re coming into my classroom or you’re recording me,” teachers begin to say “Can you come again? Can I call you if I need you before your next visit? Can I email you?” So really what we see happen is, teachers turn into professionals who are continually reflecting on their practice. They’re using evidence-based practices of the EA instructional approach, and they learn how to tweak their instruction day by day as they see new skills emerging in their students.”
“When teachers learn to use the EA instructional components, it’s a game changer. They become more robust communicators about how they conduct their instruction.”
EA enriches child development
“When teachers learn to use the EA instructional components, children start to learn how to make sense of the world around them and become much more aware of their peers. Not only do the children become more aware of peers, they join in with what their peers are doing and align their actions with those of their peers. It’s really neat to see that EA not only enriches teacher-student engagement, but it’s an intervention that’s for group-based instruction, and groups are a potent context for creating a dynamic learning process for children.”
Kerry Hogan—Christiana School District, Delaware
“I would absolutely recommend the EA program to other instructional coaches.”
It gave me a different way of looking at students more globally. Really the EA model enables us to take all kinds of good intervention, and put them together in a practice that is efficient and effective for creating student growth. I do think that anyone who picks up this model and applies it with their students will feel that same reward that I have felt in sharing this program with our teachers.
EA helps teachers recognize students' developmental levels
Kathryn Greenslade—Kennedy Krieger Institute
“Nonverbal children are beginning to make comments – to communicate socially.”
“They [teachers] really grasp the EA model."
"Through my coaching, teachers have become increasingly aware of how their instruction ties directly to child responses."