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Three Reflections on Professional Development from ParentCorps Associate Director Kai-ama Hamer

Last month, on November 15, ParentCorps Associate Director Kai-ama Hamer participated in a Campaign for Grade Level Reading webinar called “The Critical Role of Professional Development in Creating High-Quality Early Learning Environments.”

Co-sponsored by Overdeck Family Foundation, this convening brought together funders and program leaders in one conversation about the current state of early childhood education, and how high-quality, evidence-based, teacher-centered professional development is pivotal to rebuilding a system that’s been devastated by the pandemic. You can watch the full recording in the video above.

Below, we highlight three poignant takeaways from Kai-ama, who spent 10+ years as a classroom teacher and elementary school Dean before becoming a practitioner-leader at ParentCorps:

“We want teachers to consider that who they are is how they teach. We actually say that... What that means is: that you carry with you, at every moment, your values, your beliefs, and belief systems. And you gotta get in touch with what those beliefs really are! Because they show up in the quality of the interactions with your children as you teach them and with their families as you engage every single day.”

“I taught for eleven years in a public school in the Bronx. I sat in countless professional development sessions. The worst ones made me feel like I was a kid myself, where facilitators would talk at me and bombard me with information that didn’t feel relevant to what I faced each day. Teachers are professionals. They’ve worked hard to earn degrees and certifications and they show up – rain, sleet, hail, snow – to not only teach, but to love. And like any other professionals they need to feel validated, respected and recognized in order to be retained.”

“Good professional development honors teachers' expertise, and builds on skills and strengths they already have. At ParentCorps, we work hard to make sure that teachers feel supported and are armed with strategies that really work, so that hopefully they choose to stay and teach another day.”

This webinar was part of ParentCorps’ efforts to connect with new, values-aligned philanthropic partners to accelerate our reach and impact to children, families and educators nationwide. If that sounds like you, please click “Contact us” at the bottom of this page.

Shanika Gunaratna is a ParentCorps Manager of Strategic Partnerships.

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