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Porter-Leath’s Teacher Excellence Program Receives CEEL Training from Harvard

This academic year, the Memphis Education Fund, invested in Porter-Leath’s Teacher Excellence Program as part of their strategy to “place exceptional teachers in every classroom.” This investment helps our Instructional Coaches, who provide thousands of hours of professional development to early childhood educators each year, to continue sharpening their skills and help embed world-class best practices in our
performance based coaching model in Memphis.

Each of the 13 Porter-Leath staff members will advance through three training series to obtain a Certificate of Early Education Leadership (CEEL) through the Zaentz Professional Learning Academy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. CEEL provides leaders with the core knowledge, management skills, and tools necessary to build and advance high quality early education across learning environments.

With cohort members from all over the world, participants learned cutting-edge practices, as well as perspective on how early childhood educators have changed their delivery methods during COVID-19 to continue serving their communities. After each of the course’s series, participants create an implementation plan on how they will take what they learned and apply it to their early childhood environments.

Porter-Leath staff successfully completed their first 16-week training series in the fall, which provided a framework for understanding the science behind and relationships within early learning environments.

“For students to become powerful learners, educators must engage in powerful learning themselves. TaWanda Payton, Instructional Coach for Early Head Start reflected, “This session zoned in on the importance of students’ social, emotional, and academic development, which guides the focus of professional learning and is the ultimate measure of its effectiveness.”

One unexpected outcome of learning in the midst of a global pandemic is that participants have been able to share what is happening in Memphis’ early childhood education environment. They received positive feedback that they are embracing opportunities for continued growth and further testifies that Memphis is a location primed for innovations in education at all levels.

As members of the Teacher Excellence Program team continue their certification process, Porter-Leath is continually grateful for the Memphis Education Fund’s investment in local early childhood educators. The sentiment may be best expressed with the end of Ms. Payton’s reflection which said: “The support system [of] leaders who embrace professional learning ensures that each student engages in rich and meaningful learning experiences and that educators can reach their fullest potential.”

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