Texas School Ready is a comprehensive, research-based professional development program for early education teachers that ensures at-risk children receive targeted instruction in critical school readiness skills. Thousands of early childhood programs in Texas have implemented the program since 2003. As TSR has grown, researchers at the Children’s Learning Institute at UTHealth Houston have been collecting incredible amounts of data to track changes in teachers’ instructional practices and advancements in their students’ school readiness skills. The results of this research speak to the innovation and effectiveness of TSR.
Teacher training alone does not result in significant benefits to student learning. TSR combines research-based curriculum, technology-driven child progress monitoring, facilitated teacher professional development, ongoing teacher coaching, and sustainable programming to build effective preschool classrooms. In other words, TSR has all facets of effective early education covered.
CLI has conducted extensive research that definitively demonstrates the need for each component of TSR, including high-quality curriculum, the optimal levels of professional development, and the efficacy of child progress monitoring. This research is continually applied to strengthen on-the-ground components of the TSR program.
Research on TSR is performed by a large team of experts within the Children’s Learning Institute. Their work uses randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and is published in peer-reviewed academic journals after undergoing rigorous evaluation by independent experts in the field.
TSR strikes a balance between implementing teaching strategies based on research about cognitive readiness (the “what”) and what developmental research indicates about how young children learn most effectively (the “how”).
In addition to academic gains, 85% of teachers report increases in a variety of their students’ social-emotional domains, such as the development of behavioral control and caring for the feelings of others.
TSR’s CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System is a user-friendly, technology-driven tool that allows the teacher to assess a child’s progress in a particular skill area almost instantly. This reliable yet simplistic data collection prompts teachers to focus on lessons that target their students’ least developed skill areas.
Simply providing teachers with informal feedback of their performance won’t change their behavior. TSR coaches use the Classroom Observational Tool (COT) to track the use of 231 specific teacher behaviors that are known to advance children’s school readiness. Coaches then set highly targeted goals for improvement with the teacher and use techniques such as modeling to align instruction with evidence-based practice. It works—COT scores have been shown to be predictive of students’ skill development.
Each year, TSR coaches participate in ongoing collaborate professional learning communities (PLC) to support a continuous quality improvement cycle focused on reflection and goal-setting. These PLCs support coaches in building their high-quality coaching skills through a demonstration-based micro-credentialing program.
In addition to its proven track record in advancing child learning outcomes, TSR is a smart public investment. A study performed by Texas A&M University found that for every $1.00 invested in early education, Texas saves $3.50 in reduced public costs, such as those that arise from unemployment or incarceration. Furthermore, analysis has shown that the rates of return on investments for public interventions dramatically decrease as individuals age—making early childhood education one of the most cost efficient public programs.