Kansas City Philanthropic Leaders Invest in CLASS
Kansas City Philanthropic Leaders Invest in CLASS

Local philanthropic organizations support preschool classroom improvement project.

Kansas City Metro — With $325,000 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, $150,000 from the Hall Family Foundation and $100,000 from The H & R Block Foundation, The Family Conservancy (TFC) will be able to reach approximately 210 child care providers with personalized professional development training to improve preschool classroom quality and child outcomes for 4,000 children.
 
The training program, known as CLASS Institute, is based on the CLASS observation tool, which identifies a teacher’s strengths and opportunities for growth.

The Kansas City Metro struggles with the lack of a standardized system to screen the readiness of students as they enter kindergarten. Neither Kansas nor Missouri have adopted a standardized school readiness measure, and instead use a patchwork of different assessment tools. A standardized measure will help our community ensure there is equity in quality of care – giving at-risk children the same chance to succeed as their peers.

Over 150 research studies prove that students in classrooms with high CLASS scores have better academic and social outcomes. CLASS Institute is an in-depth program that delivers personalized training and coaching to improve teacher-child interactions, and student learning in preschool settings.

With this information, TFC aspires to use the themes taught in the CLASS Institute to improve kindergarten readiness.

CLASS Institute participants will commit to 22 hours of training over the course of one year. For the first three months, teachers will attend group trainings to learn to identify effective interactions in classrooms and care settings, and discuss ways to interact intentionally to increase children’s learning. For the next nine months, TFC will work one-on-one with teachers and directors in their program. During this coaching phase, teachers will receive hands-on guidance in implementing the principles they learned in training. Directors will work with TFC to ensure a lasting impact.

By improving the interactions of teachers and caregivers with at-risk children from infancy to age five, CLASS Institute will improve school readiness in the Kansas City Metro and build the foundation of success for generations of children.

Ongoing commitment to Early Education
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Hall Family Foundation and The H&R Block Foundation are all members of the Early Education Funders Collaborative — a partnership of 12 Kansas City philanthropic organizations who support improvements in early education. In 2015, the collaborative commissioned TFC to conduct a landscape survey to better understand the existing early care and learning programs within Jackson County, Missouri, and Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas.