Sunday, November 2, 2008

What is the Role of an Instructional Coach?

In my district, Duval County Florida, each school has an instructional coach. Until this year, that instructional coach was paid for using district funds. However, with budgets tightening and funding on the downslide, cuts were made, and this year, the district supports only 1/2 day instructional coaches. Some schools, including my own, have made coaching a priority so the school funds the other 1/2 day. In a school my size with 1,250 students, even the funding of a full day instructional coach, more coaching support is necessary to make sure each job role gets fulfilled.

The district urges schools to use coaches in the role of curriculum and instruction rather than as another administrator. They have defined the role of the instructional coach as a classroom supporter, instructional specialist, curriculum specialist, data coach, learning facilitator, and learner. Although, they recognize that school support and accountability are unavoidable at times. I've listed the descriptors for each of the roles below. You may be interested in the one listed accountability because it mentions the use of an activity report. Stay tuned to my next post to learn more about this report and to get an up close and personal picture of how I spend most of my days.

CL* Classroom Supporter
Increases the quality and effectiveness of classroom instruction. Assist with planning lessons with teachers, observes in classrooms, models lessons, co-teaches, debriefs with teachers, analyzes student work, measures work against standards, gives specific feedback, develops coaching plans, and coaches follow up lessons.

IS* Instructional Specialist
Aligns instruction with curriculum to meet the needs of all students. Assists teachers to use formative assessment to guide instructional planning, recommend instructional strategies appropriate for learner needs, and differentiate instruction. Assists teachers connect the rituals and routines of instruction with the school discipline plan.

CS* Curriculum Specialist
Ensures implementation of adopted curriculum. Assists teachers implement the adopted curriculum, adhere to the learning schedule, and provide expertise in blending content knowledge with the workshop model. Uses alignment tools (District Implementation Rubric, Professional Development Implementation Rubrics, Look Fors, Focus Walks, etc.) to assess the fidelity of curriculum with instruction and the transfer of training to the classroom.

LF* Learning Facilitator
Designs collaborative, job-embedded, standards-based professional learning. Plans, delivers, follows up, and assesses professional development at the school. Develops teachers' content knowledge and expertise with the workshop model. Assesses teachers to determine instructional needs in assigned teaching areas.

DC* Data Coach
Ensures that student achievement data drive instructional decisions at the classroom and school level. Assists the principal/leadership team disaggregate student performance data (formative and summative) and assess instructional needs of individual students and school training needs. Guides data discussions with teachers and facilitates the examination of student work. Plans with teachers for focused instruction based on data.

LR Learner
Models continuous learning, to keep current, and to be a thought leader in the school. Participates in professional development including Coaching Academy, Academy of Math, book study, action research, conferences, visits to district model classrooms, certification work and other training.

AC Accountability
Completes and submits Activity Reports monthly.

SS School Support
Provides school support not directly related to the coaching role including test coordinator, test administration, bus duty, hall monitoring, substituting, lunch duty, parent conferences, office duty, etc.


Denise Evanko said...

With all these roles you do this everyday with a smile on your face and give 100%. Thank you for all your help. I know everyone is grateful for the many roles you take on in our school.

Melissa Ross said...

You do so much for us every day - thank you. We would be lost without you!

Jenny said...

Very interesting post. I have a question, forgive me if I missed the explanation, why are there asterisks on some codes and not on others? Is there significance to this? Just curious. I can't wait for your next post...I've heard about your report. Sounds mind-boggling!

I, too, completely echo Melissa and Denise's sentiments, by the way. Your role is invaluable!

Suzanne said...

You are all too kind. And, you all should know that I have the best job in the school; I watch outstanding teachers and instruction in action every single day! Can't get any better than that!

Jenny, the astericks signify power roles of the coach where they want the majority of the time spent. When you see how broad the classroom supporter is, you can see why it is not hard for me to spend most of my time in that category.

Melanie Holtsman said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't think anyone could do the job you do. You are the only person I know with knowledge from ELA AND Math (the dark side) haha. You are a masterful manager of data, coaching, visitors and well...just about everything! That's why everyone feels so comfortable coming to you with questions. You rock!

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the kudos. But, you know I could name many talented teachers in our building that could take my job, including you! (Ok, you might have to leave Ang to the Math, but still...) Maybe one of them will see this post and say, "Hey, I want her job." What do you think?

Jesse said...

Most of these roles are defined in "Taking the Lead" by Joellen Killion and Cindy Harrison. It would be nice if you gave them a shout out in the post, since they have done much research on this topic and identified these roles, in conjunction with the National Staff Development Council.