Instructional Coaching: Maximizing Results

The literature on professional development is absolutely clear. Workshops alone yield 5-10% rate of implementation. However, training reinforced by instructional coaches yields about 85% rate of implementation. How do we get the greatest impact from coaching, especially if teachers in the greatest need avoid working with the coach?

To address this schools are following the lead of the Boston Collaborative Coaching Model. The Boston Model is developed around the need for all teachers to work with the instructional coach, not just volunteers. All teachers are required to work with the coach. Small co-hort groups are formed every six weeks and the coach works intensely with the small group.

Boyertown School District borrowed the basic structure from Boston, but focused their coaching staff even more strategically on specific grade-levels for 10 week sessions. Boyertown has two elementary literacy coaches to serve seven elementary schools.

Their three-plan addresses their efforts to make the most of their resources:

Year 1 - Coach works with teachers in grades 2 and 4

Year 2 - Coach works with teachers in grades 3 and 5

Year 3 - Coach works with teachers in grades 1 and 6 (possibly K)

* Work with all new teachers

Sue and her staff are very optimistic about their new approach. Their goal is to maximize the instructional coaching staff, create a positive culture of continuous learning, and increase results.


dmatz said…
Certainly an approach like the Boston model makes sense. Often what prevents the coach from "digging in" to the instructional environment is apprehension about their coaching role. The literature on coaching describes a coach as someone who plans with individuals, visits classrooms during instruction, and accesses and uses research-based practices. Jim Knight's definition of an instructional coach is an on-site professional developer who partners with educators to identify and assist with implementation of proven teaching methods. When a coach is "stabilized" in her role from the school's leadership team (i.e. principal, etc.) and coaches coach on techniques learned from prof. development, then the % of teachers transferring practice to the classroom rises to 95% (Joyce & Showers). Then we can really start to look at how coaching can improve student achievement.

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