Chalkboard and Apple

Early Childhood Teachers Can Be a Part of Early SUCCESS

By participating in Early SUCCESS (Strategies for Urban Child Care, Education, Support and Services), a new federally funded grant based at UTC, early childhood educators can receive training and receive $1,000 worth of books and other literacy and language development resources for the classroom. This money will be given during the course of the training so teachers can begin to purchase materials they are learning to use.

Chattanooga is one of nine sites in the country to receive this U.S. Department of Education Grant, according to Project Manager Kerry Guess. Grant guidelines require 100 participants for this, the first year of the grant, 100 participants are needed for next year and 100 teachers are needed for a control group. Although the last group will not receive direct training, the teachers are still eligible to receive the $1,000 to be used in the classroom.

"The training sessions will be held each Monday night for two hours from
March 1 to July, and they will not be held during Hamilton County’s spring break or Memorial Day. These sessions will be interactive, the teachers will not just be sitting and listening," Guess said.

Applicants must come from early childhood centers where at least half of the children are living in low-income homes. Teachers of children age 30 months to five years are best served. The teachers who apply must commit to 80 hours of professional development training at no cost to the program. This includes: 32 hours of direct instruction in fostering language, communication, literacy and social skills; 48 hours within the classroom environment implementing and refining the new strategies learned. Directors of participating programs must also attend all training sessions. Students’ progress will be assessed to determine the quality of the training prior to and post teacher training.

"The assessment is not a test of the children’s intelligence; rather an evaluation of the teaching skills administered through the grant," Guess said. Graduate assistants will administer the test for students before training begins and post training.

For more information or to become a part of this program, please call Kerry Guess at 423/425-5375 or email