Learning Leader

CLI Solutions Group: Moving More Research to Practice

The Children's Learning Institute (CLI) is a national leader in developing parent and teacher interventions that are proven to advance children's learning and development. In response to growing demand for our products and services from districts, schools, and community organizations, the CLI Solutions Group was launched in September 2016. The Solutions Group represents an exciting opportunity to serve an unprecedented number of children and communities across Texas, the United States, and internationally. 

Research grants and large state projects have always been at the heart of CLI’s work. Keith Millner, Director of the Solutions Group, discussed how the Solutions Group evolved from CLI’s core activity. “Historically, CLI has served mainly those who participate in our research grants and state projects. One sign of CLI’s success in giving schools and teachers what they want and need is that we get frequent requests from professionals in the field who want to use CLI developed products, access CLI resources, or receive CLI training services. However, the guidelines, funding, and scope of our grants and projects typically constrain our ability to accept these requests.” Often, and perhaps surprisingly, the challenge of providing additional services isn’t really a financial one. “Even when schools and districts are able and willing themselves to cover the cost for CLI,” Millner explained, “it has always been difficult for CLI to provide support and tools for additional customers because this activity could detract from CLI’s existing projects and responsibilities.”

The CLI Solutions Group is now available to fill this gap between those who seek CLI’s help and CLI’s ability to provide it. The Solutions Group is a non-profit, fee-for-service entity operating within and for CLI. The creation of the Solutions Group allows for the consolidation of the limited fee-for-service offerings that CLI already provides. It also increases CLI’s capacity to respond to requests for assistance without taxing existing staff and resources. The Solutions Group will not duplicate all CLI’s current offerings, but rather will focus upon a select group of services and products that are currently available and are most in demand. As the Solutions Group begins a new way for CLI of working with schools and organizations, it occupies a particular niche in the education services market. “There are few individuals or groups with the ability to offer CLI’s range and quality of research-based materials and services,” Millner commented. “CLI is nationally recognized for its research ranging from infancy through young adulthood, and CLI’s research and reputation serve as the foundation for the various products that we’ll be offering through the Solutions Group.”

With the goal of improving instruction and enhancing programs, the CLI Solutions Group works to fill educational organizations’ specific needs by providing customized solutions. It provides consulting, coaching, in-person training, online courses, and products on a range of topics, for educators who work with children from birth to grade 12. The Solutions Group’s highly targeted support improves the quality of educational experiences across a wide variety of public schools, private programs, and early child care settings.

A key part of the CLI Solution’s Group suite of products and services is CLI Engage, an integrated online platform, originally developed for use with preschool teachers participating in the Texas School Ready project. Through partnerships with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Workforce Commission, CLI Engage provides a host of online tools and resources for free to all Texas school districts, public charter schools, Head Start programs, and Texas Rising Star certified providers. The Solutions Group serves as a resource to support effective implementation of the free tools on CLI Engage. Access to tools housed on the platform is also available through a licensing program to organizations who do not qualify for free access, allowing CLI’s research-proven tools and services to serve communities without geographic limits.

A selection of available tools and current offerings from the Solutions Group are described below:

CLI Engage Licenses allow access to the preK resources available on the Engage online platform. An affordable licensing agreement is available for programs that do not qualify for state-funded free access. One tool available through Engage is the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System that enables teachers to quickly assess a child’s progress in a particular skill area. This easy to use and reliable data collection prompts teachers to focus on lessons that target their students’ least developed skills. Another Engage resource is the CIRCLE Activity Collection, which offers a variety of hands-on activities for infant, toddler, and preschool children to build their skills in key school readiness areas. Additional resources include Classroom Observation Tools and numerous eCIRCLE Online Professional Development courses.

CIRCLE Preschool Foundations Training is an excellent introduction for programs using the CIRCLE tools through the Texas School Ready (TSR) Online model. This training offers a face-to-face introduction to the foundational, research-based concepts underpinning the CIRCLE line of professional development tools. The goal of the training is to provide a strong knowledge base of early childhood development and quality instructional strategies, so that teachers feel comfortable exploring on their own the professional development courses, child progress monitoring system, activity collection, and classroom observation tools.

Developing Talkers is a curriculum supplement to develop and strengthen children’s oral language skills. Listening comprehension and vocabulary skills are targeted in the context of a read-aloud book. The program follows a pre-kindergarten response to intervention (P-RTI) instructional framework designed to meet the needs of many aspects of Tier 1 and Tier 2 preK oral language instruction. Developing Talkers curriculum and training, included in TSR Comprehensive participation, are now also offered through the Solutions Group.

Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) is a preventive intervention program to strengthen the bond between parent and child and to stimulate early language, cognitive, and social development. The PALS program certifies coaches to provide multiple sessions of home-based individual instruction in key parenting skills in both infant (PALS I) and toddler/preschooler (PALS II) curriculums. Training and certification are available in a five day session that includes both PALS I and II, or a two-and-a-half day session for either PALS I or PALS II.

TPRI Early Reading Assessment is a highly reliable early reading assessment designed to identify the reading development of students in kindergarten through third grade. This diagnostic instrument is an easy to use one-on-one assessment, which helps teachers provide targeted instruction so that students improve as readers. TPRI training provides educators with professional development, knowledge, and support they need to make best use of the tool.

Unlocking Understanding is a practical comprehension instruction training series that helps teachers learn to support students to comprehend text effectively. This series focuses on building a strong foundation of the cognitive strategies used by proficient readers. Training sessions are designed to guide teachers through a set of instructional approaches shown by research to be effective in classrooms across grade levels. Training sessions are designed for specific grade level audiences K-2, 3-5, and 6-12.

Thousands of teachers, classrooms, and programs have been positively impacted by CLI through the use of many highly successful and proven tools. With the advent of CLI Solutions Group, educators and organizations across the country will benefit too. Contact the CLI Solutions Group today to learn more about spring trainings or to discuss the unique needs of your program. 

P: (713) 500-3800
E: clisolutionsgroup@uth.tmc.edu
W: clisolutionsgroup.org


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