I recently worked in three Oregon School Districts as they invested in professional development to maximize the value of coaching programs.
The following piece from Joellen Killion in the Winter 2007 (Vol 28,No 1) illustrates the importance of training coaches.
In the Lebanon, OR district, building administrators and coaches completed two days of training last January where they practiced the conferencing skills of coaching. This August, coaches and administrators returned to a full day of professional development and brought teacher leaders along. These teams practiced coaching conferencing skills with each other and planned for spreading the coaching culture in their buildings. They committed to coaching each other, then sharing their coaching experiences with other staff and inviting them to join.
In Corvallis, Oregon, school administrators and literacy coaches collaborated during two professional development days on coaching. The district is implementing a new teacher evaluation system based on Charlotte Danielson’s Framework and expanding literacy coaching. Substantial conversations examined the roles of administrators as evaluators, supervisors, mentors, and coaches as well as what the communication flow between coach and administrator should be. “How do we combine confidentiality, awareness, and support for maximum teacher growth?”Facilitating the Lebanon and Corvallis sessions, I was reminded of the value of teachers and administrators learning together. Critical conversations emerged that are often missed when receiving the same training separately.
Salem Keizer School District extended its commitment to instructional coaching adding new coaches at additional schools. New coaches completed the first two of eight days of coaching conferencing training that will be provided by Performance Learning Systems. In addition coaches are scheduled for ½ day of training weekly throughout the year. The principals at the schools that are adding coaches attended a session where we focused on “how to introduce coaches and coaching to their faculties.” Several of these administrators agreed that they would be the first to model vulnerability by asking the coach to publicly coach them either teaching in a classroom or conducting a faculty activity.
To build in system capacity, five experienced coaches, who assisted in the training I conducted, are preparing to be the trainers for future new coaching cadres. The experienced coaches provided great encouragement and insights to the new coaches as well as to the principals who are new to working with a building level coach. Salem Keizer coaches have a website and list serve to support each other- http://www.coachtogether.net/. As an added component to creating the coaching culture, Salem Keizer offers a three day coaching course for teachers. Participants learn skills for peer coaching and are prepared to capitalize on the availability of an instructional coach in their building.