Since 2007, San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) has focused on providing high quality professional development. A multi-state study found that there was no teacher-child interaction for 73% of the school day (Winton & Buysse, 2005). SLPs needed to educate teachers about the power of rich language models and the ultimate impact on children’s academic performance (Hart & Risley, 1995). So far, five staff development modules have been created for SLPs to educate teachers and families at their respective sites. These include modules on procedures, facilitative language strategies, sound acquisition, supporting English learners and shared reading. According to a staff survey in June 2009, 70% of SLPs have shared these modules through small group trainings and/or through modeling and coaching with teachers and families (Kenney, Mosburg-Michael & Taps, 2009). Furthermore, following these trainings, SLPs have empowered teachers to take responsibility for supporting at-risk preschoolers. For 8-10 weeks, teachers were responsible for applying these strategies with students and collecting data on student performance. For example, one teacher used language strategies with a three-year-old boy who primarily used 1-2 words at a time. After 10 weeks of intervention, he used 5-6 words at a time. The teacher recorded the number of words he used at a given time for the first ten utterances of each day. Over time, there was a clear pattern of growth and change. Consequently, this child (and many others like him) benefitted from this short-term intervention and he did not proceed to assessment. Time was spent on his language development, not assessment (which would have been unwarranted).
Research has shown that training Head Start teachers to facilitate language results in children using more complex sentences and increased adult-child interactions (Huttenlocher, Vasilyeva, Cymerman & Levine, 2002; Weitzman & Greenberg, 2002). SDUSD focused on two evidence-based language strategies to maximize impact: language expansions and open-ended questions (Sickman & Creaghead, 2007). SLPs shared these strategies through staff development and modeling/coaching. Dinnebeil, Pretti-Frontczak & McInerney (2009) described the importance of strong interpersonal skills and consultation with preschool educators of varying backgrounds. Consequently, SDUSD SLPs continue to collaborate and consult throughout the school year in an effort to strengthen core curriculum and to support at-risk students.
This module reviews the procedures established in 2007 for preschool students in San Diego Unified School District. It includes an overview of the procedure flow maps, teacher checklist and rationale for the changes in support.
This module highlights two powerful language strategies, open-ended questions and language expansions (Sickman & Creaghead, 2007). It includes opportunities for group and partner practice to facilitate implementation of these evidence-based supports. Additionally, teachers and the site speech-language pathologist collaborated at one Head Start in San Diego to identify open-ended questions to post in each classroom area as a reminder to ask these higher-level questions (e.g., "What do you think will happen?" in the science area).
This module was created to educate teachers and families about sound acquisition, facilitative strategies and speech differences vs. disorders. It includes opportunities for group and partner practice for conversational recasts, a powerful and natural strategy for supporting sound acquisition. As part of this module, SLPs may also utilize the Conversational Recasts Practice Handout. This exercise gives attendees a chance to practice providing recasts during a short role-play activity.
Tim Tipton, Senior Speech-Language Pathologist and English Learner Transdisciplinary Team SLP in San Diego Unified, created this module to educate teachers about identifying and supporting English learners. The data focuses on the Head Start population, but is also applicable to other preschool facilities.