As we reflect on the first six weeks of school, all the instructional coaches are asking, “Where did those first six weeks go?” We have been busy meeting teachers, working with classrooms, and attending workshops that will help us be effective in our new roles at Dike-New Hartford. We decided last year that instead of calling our program TLC (Teacher Leadership and Compensation), we would name it Growing Learners and Leaders. Our mission is to empower teachers with resources and strategies that will help them meet their goals of improving student achievement. Our students are the reason for our school district and therefore at the center of Growing Learners and Leaders.
Our Growing Learners and Leaders program includes involving our teachers in coaching cycles. This sounds a bit intimidating at first, but at the core it is sitting down with individual or groups of teachers and having discussions about the core standards and learning targets they are desiring their students to achieve. Once a teacher defines a clear goal for learning, we look at student data and work together to design instruction that will best meet the needs of all students. Teachers may ask a coach to observe and give feedback. They may also ask a coach or another teacher to model a strategy with the class. After visiting several times and evaluating assessments, we decide our next steps. That may lead right into another coaching cycle, or the teacher may decide to put the resources and strategies into practice to continue monitoring learning.
We were uncertain if our teachers were ready for coaching cycles so early in the school year. When we asked who might be interested in starting, we had over a dozen who wanted to get going immediately. We’ve worked with teachers at every level and building. This is a testament to our district. Our teachers work really hard to help our children become the best learners and leaders they can be. Coaching cycles will help them focus that energy effectively. As we move forward, we look forward to working with all teachers. As we have discovered, everyone can benefit from coaching cycles because all of our students have the need to learn.