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Associations between continuity of care in infant-toddler classrooms and child outcomes

Diane M. Horm, Nancy Fileb, Donna Bryantc, Margaret Burchinalc, Helen Raikesd, Nina Forestieric, Amy Encingerd, Alan Cobo-Lewise

A B S T R A C T Ensuring that young children, especially infants and toddlers, experience consistency in child care providers over time is a practice endorsed by multiple professional organizations. This practice, commonly referred to as continuity of care (CoC), is recommended for center-based group settings to provide infants and toddlers with the sensitive, responsive care needed to promote early development. Despite widespread endorsement, there has been limited empirical examination of CoC. This study examines the extent to which CoC experienced in infanttoddler center-based care is associated with social-emotional and language development. Associations of CoC with children’s social-emotional development during the infant-toddler period and with later social-emotional and language outcomes at age 3 were investigated in a large sample of children attending high-quality early childhood programs designed for young children growing up in poverty. During the infant-toddler years, CoC was related to higher teacher ratings of self-control, initiative, and attachment, and lower ratings of behavior concerns. In addition, a classroom quality × CoC interaction indicated that CoC differences were larger in higher, than lower, quality infant-toddler classrooms. In contrast, CoC in infant-toddler classrooms was not related to rates of change in teacher ratings of social skills during the infant-toddler years nor to children’s vocabulary development or ratings of social skills after they transitioned to preschool. Neither were there quality × CoC interactions at preschool. These findings do not provide clear support for the current widespread recommendations for CoC, but suggest a need for additional research. The need for future research to more fully understand associations with child outcomes as well as to examine potential impacts of CoC on teachers, families, and peers is highlighted.


Full article here


Diane Horm received the David. L Boren Professor Award

Diane Horm received the David. L Boren Professor Award

JRCoE-Tulsa Sessions at AERA

AERA Graphic

The Latent Power of Leadership Conversation. Fri, April 13, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Park Central Hotel New York, Ballroom Level, Forum. Curt M. Adams & Jentre J. Olsen

Trust in District Administration: A Consequential Teacher Belief. Sat, April 14, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Park Central Hotel New York, Mezzanine Level, Manhattan A Room. Curt M. Adams

Principal Support of Teacher Psychological Needs: The Conceptualization and Measurement of a New Construct. Sat, April 14, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Park Central Hotel New York, Mezzanine Level, Manhattan A Room. Jentre J. Olsen

Complexities of Managing Human Capital in School Districts. Sat, April 14, 12:25 to 1:55pm, Park Central Hotel New York, Ballroom Level, Ballroom Session Type: Roundtable Session Chair: Timothy G. Ford

Principals’ Problem-Solving and Decision-Making in Teams and Organizations. Sat, April 14, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Park Central Hotel New York, Ballroom Level, Ballroom Session Type: Roundtable Session Chair: Jentre J. Olsen

Professional Development and Evaluation of Teachers. Mon, April 16, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Park Central Hotel New York, Ballroom Level, Forum Session Type: Roundtable Session Chair: Timothy G. Ford

Measuring Data Use in Classrooms Serving Young Children. Mon, April 16, 12:25 to 1:55pm, New York Hilton Midtown, Fourth Floor, New York Suite. Timothy G. Ford & Shannon Stark Guss

What Does It Take to Be Happy? Teacher Working Conditions and Teacher Satisfaction. Tue, April 17, 10:35am to 12:05pm, New York Hilton Midtown, Third Floor, Rendezvous Trianon Session Type: Roundtable Session Chair: Timothy G. Ford Paper: Teacher Evaluation Systems and Teachers’ Job Satisfaction: A Cross-National Comparison. Timothy G. Ford, Angela Urick, & Alison Wilson.



Oklahoma Teachers Balance Budget Cuts While Drowning in Student Debt

picture of teacher talking to classroom of small children

There’s no question about it. The future of education in Oklahoma is up in the air.

There’s not a legislative session that goes by without lawmakers talking about education in our state.

Not only is Oklahoma losing teachers to surrounding states, but often the ones who decide to stick around are drowning in student debt.

First-grade teacher Stephanie Jones is one of those teachers with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

“There are going to be long term issues rising from this if we keep pushing teachers in to other states,” said Jones.

Jones has been teaching for four years. It’s a career move she didn’t take lightly. A few years ago, the single mother decided to go back to school to set an example for her son.

“I remember very distinctly sitting down and thinking, I really want to teach, I feel like I’m going to be good at it,” said Jones. “But I could go be a nurse and make 20 grand more.”

Jones followed her gut and chose education. She wound up owing about $26,000 in student debt.

“I live paycheck to paycheck,” said Jones. “I supplement my monthly income, I have a friend whose mother’s house I clean.”

On average, teachers who graduated from the state’s biggest university, the University of Oklahoma, racked up around $23,000 in student loans. It’s a debt that’s taking decades to pay off.

“Sometimes you just have to ask why?” said Vickie Lake, with OU-Tulsa.

Lake says there are ways for teachers to get their tuition reimbursed or covered. They have some great debt-forgiveness programs at her school. However, the dark budget clouds hanging over Oklahoma offer few silver linings for newly-minted teachers.

“I see fewer teachers, fewer students applying for teacher education programs, even with loan forgiveness,” said Lake.

There are several programs and scholarships that help teachers with loan forgiveness.

·         Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

·         Teacher Loan Forgiveness

·         TEACH Grants

·         Debt-Free Teachers

Experts worry these could go away and fewer people will want to go into education. Already, that trend is happening nationally. Since 2010, the number of people studying to be a teacher has dropped 20 percent.

Twenty percent of Jones’ monthly income goes toward paying her loans. When she chose education, Jones knew she wouldn’t get rich, but she assumed teachers would have gotten a raise by now.

“I don’t regret it, but don’t count your chickens before the eggs hatch,” said Jones.

In spite of the hardships, Jones still believes teaching is a privilege.

“That’s why I have to believe it’s coming, change is coming,” said Jones.

She chooses hope, because what other choice does she have?

Story featured KTUL.

Next Generation Accountability: A Vision for School Improvement Under ESSA

Female student holding solor system in class

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states gain considerably more authority and autonomy over the design of school accountability systems. This shift in responsibility creates the opportunity for states to reimagine new accountability models that align to goals of college and career readiness for all students and to move from a culture of compliance to one of continuous improvement.

This report provides a resource to inform design and implementation decisions as state policymakers embark on the task of creating their next generation accountability systems. The authors discuss the limitations of using a single composite accountability index, advance principles and a conceptual framework to drive next generation accountability, describe potential indicators of what they call an “Educational Quality and Improvement Profile,” and offer recommendations to guide the design and implementation of these new accountability systems.

Part One: The Significance of a Single Composite Index

Many states have relied on an accountability index for so long that policymakers may be unaware that reducing school performance to a single indicator hides more than it reveals about teaching and learning. Without a thorough understanding of measurement limitations, the response to ESSA may be to focus on the creation of a “better” indicator, by merely adjusting the formula used to rank or sort schools. Such a response ignores problems inherent in these systems and would not provide decision makers with the information they need to assess educational quality and improvement.

Four problems stand out as jeopardizing the accuracy and legitimacy of decisions made about schools based on composite indicators: poor conceptual alignment, hidden variance in student performance, misleading accounts of student growth, and the absence of explanatory evidence for making sense of school outcomes.

Part Two: Principles and Framework for Next Generation Accountability

First-generation accountability, in compliance with the prescriptions of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, exposed vast, inequitable differences in student test scores across and within schools. Accountability systems, however, were not effective at informing capacity building within schools aimed at raising and equalizing achievement.

Next generation accountability is governed by three principles:

1.     Shared Accountability. In a complex enterprise such as public education, performance responsibility is distributed across the system’s components and not left to any one group of actors or stakeholders.

2.     Adaptive Improvement. Next generation accountability acknowledges that school capacities differ greatly and that systems must be flexible and responsive to particular school conditions.

3.     Informational Significance. The information system designed to support next generation accountability needs to both comply with federal mandates and inform and enable school improvement. It should also reflect the different information needs of state and district policymakers, school site leadership, teachers, and parents.

In keeping with these principles, next generation accountability systems must both provide schools with useful information for their own improvement decisions and address the need for states to identify and support schools in need of improvement.

Part Three: An Educational Quality and Improvement Profile

The authors propose use of an Educational Quality and Improvement Profile (EQuIP), which reports data on school resources, processes, and outcomes in order to both assess school quality and focus school improvement efforts. They offer six guidelines for how data should be reported:

1.     Outcome indicators should report achievement differences by student subgroup performance and changes in individual student performance over time.

2.     Outcome indicators should be capable of identifying focus schools, priority schools, and reward schools consistent with criteria for federal waiver requirements. 

3.     Process and resource indicators should be scientifically defensible and tap conditions, attitudes, structures, and behaviors that can advance the goals of deeper learning and college and career readiness. 

4.     Indicators should be collected with appropriate frequency and minimal disruption to the learning process. 

5.     Indicators and measurement methods should have substantial evidence to support their validity and reliability, with the understanding that no single measure is perfect.

6.     Indicators and measurement methods should change over time in response to the continuous evaluation and improvement of a state’s school accountability framework.

Part Four: Designing and Implementing Next Generation Accountability

The authors offer the following recommendations for state and local policymakers interested in pursuing this path to educational quality and improvement.

Accountability Policy:

1.     Do not use a single summative index to report accountability information. 

2.     Report outcome evidence in ways that clearly identify student performance toward deeper learning and college- and career-readiness standards, changes in student performance over time, and achievement gaps. 

3.     Include multiple indicators of capacity for quality improvement as part of a school profile. 

4.     Adhere to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing and write the policy in the least restrictive and prescriptive terms possible to allow for corrective action and improvement. 

Alignment of Standards, Assessments, and Accountability: An essential first step in the development of a next generation accountability system is to make sure that curricular, assessment, and evaluation systems all align with and/or serve larger operational definitions of what it means to be a healthy, productive citizen.

School, District, and State Capacity Building: The authors identify the essential elements of the support infrastructure needed to build systemwide capacity: (a) state, district, and school leaders must create a systemwide culture grounded in “learning to improve”;
 (b) learning to improve using EQuIP necessitates the development of strong pedagogical data-literacy skills; (c) resources in addition to funding—including time, access to expertise, and collaborative opportunities—should be prioritized for sustaining these ongoing improvement efforts; (d) there must be a coherent structure of state-level support for learning to improve, including the development of a strong Longitudinal Data System (LDS) infrastructure; and (e) educator labor market policy in some states may need adjustment to support the above elements.



May 9, 2017

Valeria Benabdallah, EC Doctoral Student, Writes About Utilizing Hip Hop as an Intervention to Achieve Psychosocial Justice

Valeria Milstead-Benabdellah

Valeria Benabdallah has been invited to write a chapter in the book Hip Hop and Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline, edited by Dr. Anthony J. Nocella II, Dr. Daniel White Hodge, and Dr. Don C. Sawyer III. This book is currently in press and hopefully available soon. Valeria describes her chapter titled, "Hip Hop in the Time of Trauma".

This chapter gives an anecdotal narrative of how a traumatized and stigmatized African American teen living in a low resource and violence-saturated environment utilized hip hop as an effective coping skill, defense mechanism, and intervention guided by a licensed clinical social worker to achieve psychosocial justice. School partnering, family involvement and community engagement were key elements in helping this youth over an eight-year period overcome his own issues with anger and violence by finding his voice and changing the way the school system responded to him. The clinician utilized a two-pronged approach, clinical and community-based, to address a multidimensional problem that produced some positive outcomes. The Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Culturally-Informed clinical framework and Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theoretical model helped the clinician collaborate with the school with help from school counselors, principal, and teachers in addition to closely working with the family and community organizations on the grounds of mutual respect and mindfulness. The chapter highlights implications for meaningful healing and emerging themes for innovatively working with special populations from a psychosocial justice framework and bioecological cooperation to deter the school-to-prison pipeline. 


The school-to-prison pipeline describes students' increasing contact with the criminal justice system as a result of changing school discipline practices and zero tolerance policies. This topic is of growing concern for civil rights advocates and many associated with the education field. 

Valeria is a Doctoral Student at OU-Tulsa studying Early Childhood Education. In addition to the school-to-prison pipeline, her current research interests include intersectionality of mental health, early childhood education, marginalized people, social justice in education, inclusion, and implicit biases's influence on achievement. She has presented on these topics in a variety of settings, including the recent OU-Tulsa Research Forum.  



April 25, 2017

OU-Tulsa Student Receives Alida W. Parker Scholarship

Kimberly Phillips, OU-Tulsa student, has been awarded the Alida W. Parker Scholarship

Release Courtesy of Kimberly Phillips

Kimberly Phillips has received The Alida W. Parker Scholarship from The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. The honor Society for women educators promotes excellence in education and personal and professional growth of women educators, leading in the field of graduate scholarships given to members and emphasizing leadership development for its more than 70,000 members in 17 countries. A member of the Society’s Epsilon Chapter in Oklahoma, Phillips is attending the University of Oklahoma, where she is majoring in Instructional Leadership/Academic Curriculum.

Riitta-Liisa Arpiainen of Finland, International Scholarship Committee Chairman, announced the recipients following the committee’s recent meeting at Society Headquarters in Austin, Texas. “We granted 9 Scholarships of $10,000 each for the 2017-2018 academic year,” Arpiainen said.

Recipients must have earned a Bachelor’s Degree, be enrolled in a recognized graduate program and have been a Society member for at least three years to qualify for scholarship consideration. Since its scholarship program began in 1940, The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International has given 1109 women educators $4 million in scholarships.

In addition to the international scholarships, many state organizations and local chapters have scholarship funds to assist members pursuing graduate study. In 2016 all three levels of the Society provided approximately $454,544.02 in scholarships for members.

The honor organization of key women educators was formed in Austin, Texas, on May 11, 1929, by Dr. Annie Webb Blanton from a nucleus of 12 founders representing all levels of education, kindergarten through university, from various parts of Texas. Professor of rural education at the University of Texas, Dr. Blanton was elected president of the Texas State Teachers' Association in 1916, the first woman to hold the office.  Blanton was also the first woman to serve Texas as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, having been elected to that post in 1918.  



OU-Tulsa Student Receives Federal Grant


Release courtesy of OU-Tulsa

Emisha Pickens-Young, an OU-Tulsa Ph.D. student, has been selected as one of only six doctoral students in the entire country — and the first ever in Oklahoma — to receive a prestigious and highly-competitive federal Head Start Graduate Student Research Grant.  

Pickens-Young is earning a doctorate in Instructional Leadership & Academic Curriculum in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at OU-Tulsa and works as a project director for the Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI), also at OU-Tulsa.   

“We knew Emisha’s unique experience of attending Head Start as a child and having worked as a Head Start teacher for more than six years made her an extremely strong candidate,” said Professor Diane Horm, Director of the ECEI.  “She is a Head Start success story, and living Head Start’s mission of delivering high-quality early childhood education to children growing up in poverty gave her a unique vantage point.”

Pickens-Young was a lead preschool teacher, master teacher and coach for new teachers at CAP-Tulsa’s Head Start for over six years.    

Pickens-Young’s dissertation research will study teaching teams at local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, specifically how the teams impact classroom quality and child outcomes.  Her research will not only be important for Head Start programs across the country, but her results will also impact the larger field of early childhood education and fill a current void in the research literature.    

The “Early Care and Education Research Scholars” grant application is an extensive process.  Pickens-Young’s application was approximately 100 pages and all applicants were critiqued on the significance of the research questions, design and methodology, dissemination and management plans, collaborate partner relationships, budget, and qualifications of doctoral student and mentor.This federal grant is funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation within the Department of Health & Human Services.

OU-Tulsa’s Instructional Leadership & Academic Curriculum Ph.D. program prepares researchers and leaders serving young children (ages 0-8).  The program focuses on research, leadership, advocacy, and infant/toddler studies.   

The ECEI, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, has a national reputation for being on the forefront of early childhood education research, supporting Tulsa as a leader in the field.

OU-Tulsa is a nationally-recognized center for higher education offering a wide range of 30+ undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate level degrees, as well as graduate certificates.  Programs include architecture, engineering, education, nursing, public health, occupational and physical therapy, human relations, library and information studies, organizational dynamics, public administration, social work, as well as medicine through the OU-TU School of Community Medicine.  Since 1957, OU-Tulsa has provided higher education to NE Oklahoma and moved to the 60-acre Schusterman Campus in 1999.  For more information, visit