Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What is an Instructional Coach?

Whether I am introducing myself to someone new at the ballfield or at church, I always say that I am an instructional coach at Chets Creek Elementary. Most times I am met with blank stares. The courageous ones ask, "What is that?" "Do you teach?" My response is yes...sometimes I teach the children and many times I teach the adults. But, that is only a fraction of what I do. As I walk away, I feel guilty that I've left them under a cloud, but how do you explain in just a few simple sentences this job...

(Most of these roles are defined in "Taking the Lead" by Joellen Killion and Cindy Harrison.)

Roles and Responsibilities for
School Instructional Coaches (SICs)


Classroom Supporter – Increases the quality and effectiveness of classroom instruction.
• Model lessons in classrooms on a daily/weekly basis. Components of modeling include: planning with the teacher or team prior to teaching the lesson, delivering the lesson, debriefing with the teacher or team, and coaching/mentoring the teacher teaching follow-up lessons.
• Identify instructional strengths of individual teachers and assist in identifying lead teachers and model classrooms.
• Develop coaching plans, as needed, for teachers not demonstrating student gains.

Instructional Specialist – Aligns instruction with curriculum to meet the needs of all students.
• Assist in the development of school-based assessment tasks that promote higher-order thinking skills for students.
• Facilitate the examination and assessment of whether student work meets the standards (Assessment for Learning).
• Support and assess the levels of implementation (Look-Fors) of various instructional programs.

Curriculum Specialist –
Ensures implementation of adopted curriculum.
• Provide assistance in blending content knowledge and knowledge of differentiated instruction with the workshop model for instruction.

Learning Facilitator – Designs collaborative, job embedded, standards-based professional learning.
• Plan, implement, and follow through with training including professional learning community (PLC) sessions and Early Dismissal Trainings based on results of both formal and informal teacher surveys.
• Assist teachers complete a self assessment of their instructional strengths in literacy, math, and science.
• Survey faculty for amounts and levels of professional development/in-services attended at the district level to determine whole school content area knowledge.
• Prepare and present Parent Workshops on the Standards and/or content areas.

Data Coach – Ensures that student achievement data drives instructional decisions at the classroom and school level.
• Assist the Principal and Leadership Team in the disaggregation of student performance data, by school and by teacher; and assessing instructional coaching needs of individual teachers.

School Leader –
Works collaboratively with the school’s formal leadership to design, implement, and assess school change initiatives to ensure alignment and focus on intended results.
• Collaborate with the school leadership team to establish a school culture of trust, so that coaching is viewed in a positive light by teachers and a vehicle to assist teachers in improving their practice.
• Cultivate a culture that supports innovation continues improvement of teaching

Mentor – Increases instructional skills of the novice teacher and support school wide induction activities.
• Orienting and closely mentoring and monitoring all beginning and non-college of education teachers new to the school, in coordination with assigned Cadre.


Resource Provider –
Expands teachers’ use of a variety of resources to improve instruction.


Catalyst for Change – Creates disequilibrium with the current state as an impetus to explore alternatives to current practice.


Learner – Models continuous learning, to keep current, and to be a thought leader in the school.


Accountability – Organize and document work via monthly activity report.
• Turning in monthly time logs in a timely manner, documenting a majority of time spent in classrooms.

4 comments:

jmockbaker said...

This is a good description of what I am seeing Wyoming Instructional Facilitators/Coaches do. We are looking for professional performance standards for this position. Do you have those?

Suzanne said...

The school instructional coach responsibilites align with the NSDC prof Dev standards and the Florida Department of Education professional development protocols. Florida audits our school district (Duval) every 3 years on the protocols. This guides the coaching work.

Liz said...

Thank you for your description of what you do. I included it as a resource in a description of what Instructional Coaches do in my own district http://allwhowonder.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/instructional-facilitator/

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post describing what you do. I just recently became an instructional coach in my county. It is a newly created position, so I am still learning what we will be doing!