EASTCONN’s Technology Solutions group has developed a new web-based tool extension that enables parents to share their child’s progress with early-care teachers when classrooms are closed.
The new tool add-on is part of EASTCONN’s CT DOTS Online platform, which provides early childhood professionals with a paper-free method of observing children, collecting evidence and evaluating their skills against a standard set of indicators.
In 2018, when EASTCONN first launched CT DOTS Online, most Connecticut early childhood schools and programs tracked and reported their students’ developmental benchmarks, aligned with state standards, on paper forms.
But EASTCONN’s Technology Solutions group envisioned an easier way. In consultation with early childhood professionals, EASTCONN designed CT DOTS Online, simplifying the process of collecting, assessing and reporting student data. EASTCONN’s software designers also ensured that the format aligned with the Connecticut Documentation and Observation for Teaching System (CT DOTS) framework and Office of Early Childhood standards.
But then COVID-19 arrived, eliminating teachers’ ability to make in-classroom observations, which they would normally supplement with parents’ verbal accounts. Teachers and parents needed a new way to collect child-progress data.
EASTCONN software designers quickly created the CT DOTS Online Family Input Form. Now teachers could send individual Input Forms to parents, who’d upload at-home child observations. Teachers could attach them to a child’s profile for assessment.
“CT DOTS Online is the first piece of software for this child observation system that can go directly to families,” said Andy DePalma, Director of Technology Solutions. “The advantages are clear. Plus, it allows teachers to track an entire class’s progress.”
EASTCONN’s eObserve online tool powers the CT DOTS Online platform, which complies with student data-privacy laws.
EASTCONN Web and Media Services Specialist Kerin Griffin provides in-person and virtual CT DOTS Online trainings.
To date, 30 programs statewide are using the software. “Our early childhood customers know best,” said Griffin. “They’re the experts. We’re constantly updating and adding to our software, based on their suggestions. During trainings, the lines of communication are always open, so all users know how much we value their feedback and suggestions.”
For more information about CT DOTS Online and its new Family Input Form, contact EASTCONN’s Kerin Griffin at