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Cape Cod, MA: Development Head Start Program struggling with kids attacking staff

Dec 10, 2018, Cape Cod (MA) Today: "Screaming and Crying Occurred in that Classroom Daily" "The reviewer heard loud screaming and crying at different times during the interview. The reviewer asked the Center Manager if she wanted to check on the classroom, but the Center Manager said that screaming and crying occurred in that classroom daily." This is a quote from the report on a July 2018 unannounced monitoring review of the Cape Cod Child Development Head Start Program. The Q&A happened in the interview of the Acting Center Manager at Cape Cod Child Development's Head Start program's Hyannis Preschool. More from observations at the Hyannis 1 classroom at the Hyannis Pre-School: Observations of teacher-child interactions at the Hyannis I classroom at the Hyannis Preschool confirmed that teaching practices were not nurturing and responsive and interactions did not foster trust and emotional security, provide supportive feedback for learning, and support a all children's engagement in learning experiences and activities. … Lest one believe this type of behavior is limited to the Hyannis Pre-School, the Head Start investigators remarked: Teachers and Center Managers at six of seven sites visited stated, children and staff were bitten and hit weekly by children whose behaviors were "out of control.'' Five Center Managers stated that some classrooms at their centers were unmanageable because children' s externalizing behavioral issues put the safety of the child. his or her peers, and the teacher at risk. Four teachers stated they were unable to adequately implement the curriculum because their attention was focused on, as stated by one teacher, "managing the chaos." One teacher stated. "l feel bad that l cannot give attention to the children who are ready to read and write. One child is very bright but I just cannot give her what she needs." Data from Behavior Incident Reports compiled by the grantee's Behavior Specialist included the following information: ln March 2018, 4 centers had a total of 14 incidents of children hurting children; 3 incidents of children hurting staff, and 4 incidents of children biting. In April 2018, 3 centers reported a total of 13 incidents of children hurting children and 5 incidents of biting; however, not all centers submitted incident reports. For example, one teacher stated she did not consistently submit incident reports regarding children hitting staff because she would "be filling paperwork out all day.'' The substitute lead teacher in the Hyannis 3 classroom at the Hyannis Preschool, employed 23 years, described how the lead teacher was on medical leave due to a child--with challenging behaviors who had an Individualized Education Program ( IEP)--injuring the teacher's foot. The teacher described the fall 2017 incident as the child either pushed the lead teacher or the lead teacher tripped as she was trying to de-escalate the child's challenging behavior. … The report also criticizes Cape Cod Child Development's Head Start program for hiring unqualified staff: The majority of Center Managers stated that many of the teacher aides, substitutes. and staff hired to provide one-to-one support for children with challenging behaviors did not have the required skills and were not provided adequate professional development to respond to the social and emotional needs of some of the children. Two teachers at the Centerville site stated long-term vacant teacher aide positions were most often filled by unskilled substitutes. The reviewer observed this during an observation of a one-to-one teacher aide assigned to a specific child in the Hyannis I classroom at the Hyannis Preschool. The teacher aide did not utilize any strategies to guide the child when be bit another child or when be would not cooperate with the lead teacher…. Head Start gave Cape Cod Child Development 120 days to correct this situation with staff credentials…. Elsewhere in the report the credentialing issue is visited again: . More to Come There's plenty more to come as future articles in this series examine some of the other findings in the ACF report. Head Start is an absolutely essential service for many Cape Cod families. Some 377 local children attend Head Start programs provided by Cape Cod Child Development. While many of the items cited in the federal Head Start report appear as intricate finance or policy items, they are moving parts in a machine to deliver services to the agency's Head Start clients. When the machine malfunctions, we end up with cases like the classroom scenarios cited at the top of this story.


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