A Spotlight on Professional Development in Head Start: FACES Spring 2017

Research Brief
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica
Jun 30, 2019
Authors
Jessica F. Harding, Emily Moiduddin, Lizabeth Malone, Judy Cannon, Louisa Tarullo, and Nikki Aikens

Key Findings:

  • Head Start directors and their staff have access to and use a range of professional development activities and Office of Head Start training and technical assistance system resources. For example, more than half of program directors report they or other staff often use Office of Head Start trainng and technical assistance system resources, particularly the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center website.
  • Program directors, more than center directors, commonly report participating in training or conferences related to their role as manager or leader; Few differences exist in specific professional development activities available to staff relative to agency type and size.
  • In line with the emphasis of the Head Start Program Performance Standards on coaching, most teachers have a coach and receive in-person training on child assessments and curriculum implementation.
  • Most programs use classroom observations and classroom-level assessment data to determine who receives coaching.
  • Teachers experience similar amounts of coaching and training regardless of their experience or education.

This research brief describes the professional development experiences of Head Start staff (program directors, center directors, teachers, and other staff), using nationally representative data from the spring 2017 round of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2014-2018 (FACES 2014). First we describe the landscape of professional development for a variety of staff in Head Start. Next, we describe two specific types of professional development that support classroom quality improvements: (1) coaching and (2) assessment and curriculum support. We also examine whether selected professional development supports vary by program agency type, program size, teacher experience, and teacher education.

Appendix Tables