Weekly Coaching Roundup: Preparing for a New and Different School Year

2020-08 Roundup Header - New School Year

Welcome back to TeachBoost's Coaching Roundup. With most schools facing change and uncertainty as the new year starts, August is a good opportunity to think through and prepare for some of the new challenges. Read on to learn from your peers on some time-tested preparation tips.

A Coach's Guide for School Year Preparations

Robyn Hartzell shares some of her techniques that not only help organize a coach's work but promote effective communication throughout the coaching process as well.

"Since it's almost impossible to conquer everything at once, we have to target our coaching for the best results. I've found that narrowing my attention to three basic areas and creating some standard questions to guide my observations and conversations helps tremendously. The areas I focus my attention on are curriculum and planning, instructional practices and routines, and professional development and resources."

How to Leverage Relationships in the New School Year

Fred Ende and Meghan Everette with ESC Region 13 offer some great advice on starting this new school year amidst so much uncertainty, and how a deep focus on relationships can help everything else.

Regardless of what our opening plans might look like, the foundation of each and every one will be people. Whether teaching or leading in person or remotely, our communities will be looking to reconnect as well as reopen, and we have a responsibility to make sure that the relationships we’ve needed throughout the pandemic grow stronger, and the relationships we will now need can be built fresh.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Ms. Houser asked her coaching peers to share their top tip for a productive year as an instructional coach.

"Prioritizing your work for the start of the year is essential. Although this can change as the year unfolds, having a plan of attack and a general timeline will give structure to your role. Being aware of your building and district goals is crucial and will help focus your work. Some teachers will be excited to work with you, so make them a priority by tapping into their excitement."

Ringing In the New School Year

Steph Sukow offers a few ways she uses the summer to prepare for another year of coaching.

"Reflection is a constant and continual process. There's always an idea to revisit or reevaluate. . . . After creating a thorough picture of where I stand professionally and personally through the reflection process, my time has been allocated toward tapping into my PLN and seeking new strategies to incorporate into next year's playlist."

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A Colorful Start

Sadie Lewis overviews five design concept activities she encourages educators to use—through her PD sessions—to get students collaborating.

"I always tried to start the year with some fun activities to get the kids talking to one another and sharing things about themselves – while also sneaking in some content along the way. I taught middle school business classes, so basic graphic design was something I focused on a lot. I used design concepts in my beginning of the year activities to start introducing those things to students in fun ways. . . . Now that I've left the classroom, I still use these activities in PD sessions with teachers and in classrooms when I’m co-teaching."

Preparing for the New School Year

Matthew Kelly provides a few tips for new ICs beginning their journey.

"If you were formerly a teacher, you may miss the teacher-student relationships you have been used to, but with many opportunities to work with students in your coaching role and new ways to make an impact on their learning, the feeling will pass . . . . Coaches all have different feelings and experiences first going into the job, and it can be especially beneficial to ask other coaches about their own early days."

Things to Keep in Mind

Elena Aguilar shines light on 5 pitfalls ICs should be aware of and avoid.

"At first, don't focus on content, instructional strategies, or curriculum. Focus on people and building relationships with people. . . . You need to be very clear with the people you're coaching about what your role entails, what they can expect of you, and what the purpose of the coaching is. Transparency builds trust."

Bonus Roundups on School Year Prep! 🎉

  • Preparing for the New School Year: Learn six guiding reminders for beginning your coaching interactions, the importance of empathy for building relationships, and why one coach thinks like a teacher to prepare for a year of coaching.
  • Starting the School Year Strong: Explore a few strategies for ICs on how to get teachers involved in coaching, some positive messaging techniques teachers can use to reach their students, and how one coach plans to successfully transition back into the classroom.

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Topics: Coaching Roundup, First Year Coaching Tips, New School Year Preparation, Crisis Skills, Remote Coaching

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