Successfully rolling out a coaching program doesn't happen overnight—it requires considerable planning and collaboration among school and district leaders. Read on for tips and advice on crafting and implementing an enduring coaching program in this month's topic roundup. Enjoy!
From Implementation to Advancement
Steven Montemarano reflects on what it took to build a coaching program from the ground up.
"We knew that any instructional program is doomed to fail without routine communication to all relevant stakeholders—including our teachers' union, administration, and Board of Education. . . . This was a big move for us, and we knew that moving too fast would cause anxiety with teachers and possibly send the wrong message about coaching. We wanted to 'go slow to go fast' and make coaching a way to move all teachers from 'good to great.'"
Designing and Implementing Instructional Coaching
The team at ESC Region 4 shines a light on why a district must have a vision, model, and goals set for coaching before starting the program out.
"Prior to the implementation of a coaching model, the culture of a campus should be conducive for adult learning. For example, teachers and coaches will benefit from job-embedded learning, collaborative planning, action research, using protocols for professional learning communities, and protocols for examining student work relative to predetermined rubrics. Creating a culture of learning begins with a mindset that available time is centered on improving instruction that will lead to student achievement."
Setting Up and Sustaining Coaching
Joanna Michelson shares five tips for district and school leaders looking to launch a coaching program.
"For maximum success, everyone in leadership roles in a district should learn to describe the roles of coaches, how they support district work and what this means to the teachers. Principals can share this at staff meetings and one-on-one with teachers. District leaders may communicate this through printed or electronic messages or with principals and principal supervisors in their meetings."
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What Coaches Need to Know and Do
Jim Knight highlights what he believes to be the five paramount domains necessary for a thriving coaching program.
"Coaches can know a lot about teaching, but if they don't know how to work with adults, they may struggle to succeed. Our research suggests coaches need to understand how complex it is for one adult to help another, and we have studied and validated a partnership approach coaches can take with adults which positions teachers as equal partners in all coaching conversations."
Tips for Launching a Coaching Program
Howard Pitler passes along six pieces of advice on how to execute a district-wide coaching program.
"Too often, a district will rightly decide their teachers would benefit from coaching, but provide no structure or training for coaches. . . . For a coaching program to be successful it is important to have a culture in the school oriented toward growth and focused on the idea that everyone can and should improve. A coach has to earn the trust of the coachee. If you are going to be my coach I have to have confidence that if I try new teaching strategies you won’t immediately report my struggles with the new learning to my principal."
Constructing a Coaching Culture
Elena Aguilar provides ten steps you can follow to build an enduring coaching program.
"How a definition of coaching is articulated, and by whom, is key to building a culture of coaching. Without a process that's anchored in students' needs, and without recognizing organizational conditions, a definition's impact can be weak at best, problematic at worst. And the definition of coaching needs to be clearly communicated to teachers, site administrators, and (of course) coaches. A definition buried in a Google Doc does more damage than good."
Bonus Article 🎉
TeachBoost interviewed four educators from around the country to learn about their coaching programs, how they manage them, and some advice for districts looking to roll out their own. Check out the article here!
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