Q - So what does an instructional Coach do in Albemarle County Public Schools?
A - As Instructional
Coaches, our role is to support teachers in actualizing their
professional goals. It is a co-constructive partnership where we
may plan, collaborate, explore, problem- solve, reflect and experiment in
areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment. photo by Ryan Catlett
The mission/vision of the coaching model is to promote a culture of collaborative, public, and reflective practice, and to support the continuous improvement of curriculum, assessment, and instruction by working together with teachers to actualize professional goals. Overall, the job of the instructional coach is to work within a team of instructional coaches to build the capacity of school staffs to meet the needs of all students through implementation of the Albemarle County's three levers: (1.) Framework for Quality Learning; (2.) Professional Learning Community; and (3.) Teacher Performance Appraisal.
Our coaching work centers around teacher or team requests and interests. This collaborative work has student needs at the heart of all work and is typically focused on curriculum, quality instruction and meaningful assessments. Coaches support teachers' interests as well as any professional goals, SMART goals or Student Academic Progress Goals that a teacher would like a reflective partner. We also have a novice teacher network structure within our coaching model, where we mentor all first and second year teachers. Coaches, like teachers, attend PLCS. We have our own Instructional Coaching Professional Learning Community which includes all Lead Coaches, the Elementary and Secondary Instructional Coaches, as well as other ACPS instructional leaders. We spend time working on skills and coaching PD to improve our coaching and teaching practice. We also spend time on action research projects, planning for school-based PD, special projects and work requests. We gather and analyze data, collaborate and problem-solve with each other to meet teachers' requests. Coaching is job-embedded professional development and we will have this professional role for a maximum of 5 years before returning to schools as teachers, specialists, or administrators.
Some more details...
Instructional Coaches have been on cluster teams since the model began in 2009. A cluster is usually 4 coaches with a cluster of 4 schools that they share with cross-collaboration happening! Each instructional coach has 3 designated schools...occasionally 4 and rarely, just 2. Each coach will have teammates at each school. The 2012-2013 school year, I am coaching at Greer, Woodbrook and Hollymead with Trisha Moya and Christine Peterson as my school teammates. Nancy McCullen is part of my cluster, too!
In the past three years, I have had the opportunity to be assigned to the following schools as an Instructional Coach; Brownsville, Meriwether-Lewis, Hollymead, Stony Point, and Baker-Butler.
Keep in mind that we are teachers with varying strengths and backgrounds and we work very closely together. Our schedules and collaborative work is teacher-driven based on professional interests. We are to be thought of as generalists and not experts, even though we bring different experiences to the coaching role. We want to be side by side with teachers and learning together! Building and maintaining strong and trusting relationships is the foundation for all of our work.
Schedules vary each week and is based on teacher requests and work. Each school has a space designated for their coaches, so we have a desk to check email, meet, collaborate and plan. If at any time we are not involved in specific work at a school, we plan time to be in each school every week, to seek out new work or professional experimentations with teachers. We often attend PLCs, staff meetings, or meet with teachers individually. We spend time locating resources, researching, and planning lessons. We visit classrooms and spend time with students and teachers participating in whatever is going on!
Need to contact me?
Places you can find me or connect with me, when I'm not in your school...
ACPS Outlook email, k12 Google apps, personal gmail and Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Blogger, Schoolnet, Diigo, and Delicious.