Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Keep Calm & Call Your Instructional Coach

What a beautiful gift we have at Bismarck Public Schools.  Instructional Coaching.  I am not celebrating me or my job here, I’m celebrating the coaching model.   I’m celebrating coaching cycles and the most valuable resource each teacher has—each other!
Every child deserves a high-quality education and every teacher deserves resources to accomplish that goal.  The challenge is providing continuous opportunities to increase student success and build teacher capacity.  One way teachers receive ongoing support is through instructional coaching.  Instructional coaching increases the achievement and engagement of every student by bringing out the best performances of every teacher.  Coaching supports teachers as they take risks and try new models and instructional strategies. 

As a coach I get the opportunity to learn new strategies that I can bring back to my building.  Coaches use both student-centered and teacher-centered methods to help teachers improve the decisions they make about their instruction.  Many coaches use a coaching cycle with their staff.  Cycles can be designed by the teacher and coach for the specific learning. Since coaching is ongoing and different for every teacher and every building, it is useful to set up a model to keep the communication and cycle going. 

Most coaching cycles are in the following form:
·         Pre-conference
·         Model/Observe/Feedback
·         Debrief/Plan
·         Collaborative teaching/Debrief
·         Observe/Feedback

Many times the gradual release model is used within a coaching cycle.  The excitement is that the cycle is ongoing and is happening with many individual teachers and/or groups of teachers at any given time.  

I am blessed in my position as a coach to celebrate growth on a daily basis.  I am lucky enough to be in a kindergarten room one minute of the day, and a fifth grade room the next.  I get the opportunity to think and reflect with all of the Solheim staff which allows me to learn from so many teachers.  What we are working on is the collective potential within our building.  Every teacher is a coach, with, or without the title of instructional coach.  Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.   Again, what a gift we have here at BPS.  Each other. 

Keep calm and Coach on!

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