Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

Realizing the promise of coaching - South Central Calhoun sees impact

Coaches at South Central Calhoun are developing precision with two high leverage practices: planning lessons and analyzing student learning. The district is in the second year of leveraging teacher leadership to enhance teaching and learning. Instructional coaches and principals work together to ensure coaching is designed to provide ongoing, job-embedded professional learning that teachers want and need.

Coaches have had an average of 18 interactions with each of the teachers engaged in the coaching cycle during the months of September and October. When teachers complete a coaching cycle they write a reflection  about their experience connecting standards with student learning and teacher practice.

One teacher shared, “I pulled myself out of the center of the learning process and placed the students in the center.  Students worked with one another on researching topics and holding a debate.  Students constructed arguments and counter argued with one another.  I found that students enjoyed getting out and being responsible for their understanding of the material.”

"Students can create a constructive argument on political topics, rather than arguing/having a debate using their emotions."

Six pillars to create coaching for impact provide a strong foundation for realizing the promise of coaching for students and teachers. Pillar 4, Development and Support, is the focus of today’s article.

According to the article, Coaching for Impact, coaches need regular feedback as part of their growth and development. Just as teachers engage in coaching cycles so must coaches if they are expected to acquire precise skills that impact teaching and learning. Coaches not only need to hone their coaching language and moves they also need to be very skilled in coaching teachers with planning rigorous, standards-based lessons that provide equal access for every student to grade-level content and include the shifts in practice being called for in the literacy, math, science, and social studies standards.

The article recommends palatable ideas for coach development.

  • Design opportunities for coaches to improve their practice including coaching coaches.
  • Evaluate coaches using multiple measures and in a manner that identifies effectiveness and area for growth.
  • Establish mechanisms to analyze and share data on coaching to capture the results of coaching to help school board members and other stakeholders understand when effective coaching is in place and what it will take to extend coaching to all teachers in the system.

PLAEA consultants partner with many instructional coaches and principals in support of coach development. For a conversation about the 6 Pillars and coach development, please contact Jaymie Randel.

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