Shelby Early Childhood Center receives grant.

May 10, 2022

Shelby Early Childhood Center receives grant.

By Kim Beardslee, Correspondent. 

West Shore School News is a presentation of West Shore Educational Service District in partnership with Mason County Press and Oceana County Press. 

SHELBY — Shelby Early Childhood Center (ECC), under the direction of Teresa Mead and in partnership with West Shore Educational Service District (WSESD), was one of the four sites in Michigan to be awarded a recent grant from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

MDE, collaborating with the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation (NCPMI), developed a two-year pilot to further develop building-wide strategies to assist, support, and improve the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children. The goal of the grant is to create a nurturing and high quality, responsive school environment.

Shelby ECC already has a good foundation with the Connect 4 Learning curriculum and Conscious Discipline approach. In addition, a consultation process is in place to support children who have severe and challenging behaviors and data is used to guide supports. Some examples of skills that are focused on in Shelby ECC include handling strong emotions, empathy, and dealing with conflict.

As part of the grant, training for all Shelby ECC staff was conducted prior to the 2021-2022 school year.  The training focused on practice-based coaching, data collection, and intervention supports. The staff also were trained in using an early childhood observation tool to teach and model classroom expectations and to develop strategies to enhance parent collaboration.

At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, data was collected from student screening assessments of social-emotional skills and from a parent home visit survey conducted during the district’s first home visit/open house. The compiled information was then shared during a virtual parent meeting.  Staff reported that parents were relieved to learn that many parents struggled with similar social-emotional issues at home and school.  Based on the compiled data,  a “Pyramid Corner” was created in teacher’s newsletters and individual Facebook pages with the different skill areas.  One skill that came to light from parent input was “sharing”.

Additional school supports were developed to further students’ social-emotional skill building. These supports are private classroom Facebook pages to enhance parent/school communication, family photo boards in each classroom, the provision of family resources and stories for home, school newsletters, and intentional, specific skill instruction for students utilizing visuals, positive social interactions, safe spot(s), calming techniques, and identification of “Super Friends” including a cape, story, and certificate for students.

Leadership Team members, Kayla Young, Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) lead teacher at Shelby ECC, Teresa Mead, Shelby ECC coordinator, Brenda Vronko, West Shore Educational Service District (WSESD), early childhood supervisor, Jennifer Rollenhagen, WSESD MTSS coordinator/data coordinator and Pam Kelly, WSESD early childhood special education teacher/behavior support, presented to MDE and other agencies in January. The team shared Shelby ECC’s  progress with the grant by highlighting students’ use of strategies within the classroom. Lisa Kimes, WSESD teacher consultant and Rylee Beauvais, Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) early childhood behavior consultant/supervisor have recently been added to the Leadership Team.

As selected grant recipients, the Leadership Team and its vision for the promotion of positive day to day social interactions is underway. The team’s endeavors will lead to a child’s healthy development of self, attitude, values, and behavior patterns to be recognized and celebrated. Shelby’s ECC staff plan to benefit from the continued partnerships with MDE and the other three selected pilot sites, which will inform the MDE of potential policy and/or program changes for future ECCs in the State of Michigan.

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