A Newsletter from the ICCSD Teacher Leadership Program

We Seek To

  • Partner with teachers, administrators and district teams to transform teaching and learning through reflective practices in order to create the best possible student experience for all children.
  • Embody the belief that all teachers and students can become the best version of themselves.

The Impact of Coaching on Teachers and Students

PreK teachers and paraprofessionals in our district have been working with IDS Sharon Helt and Terri Novak-Cicha on exploring aspects of their practice. Together they used the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool to identify key look-fors in preK classrooms and ways to measure those practices. Through practice-based coaching, a shared goal, action planning, observations, and reflection, the group has accomplished amazing growth in their practice. The chart below shows the growth in each of the key indicators of teacher practice from the 2017-18 (blue) to 2018-19 (red) school years. Teachers showed gains in each area, with an overall growth of 13%.
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More exciting is what these changes have meant for how students are doing in our preK classrooms. The chart below shows student gains in Social Emotional Learning indicators using the Teaching Strategies Gold Assessment from the 2017-18 (blue) to 2018-19 (red) school year.
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It is fantastic to see the efforts of these teams pay off when we look at how our students are doing. It shows what is possible when coaches and teachers partner for teacher and student growth.

Teams Partner for Growth

-- Anah Austin

What do teachers in our buildings need? What roles do each of us play in growing teachers? What building systems can we leverage to extend learning throughout the year?

These are questions IDS and administrators have been collaborating to answer at Northwest and Liberty as they explore:

  • The impact conversations like these have on student outcomes;

  • How leaders can share the work of growing teachers without duplicating it.

  • How their shared efforts can best support the unified vision being communicated across their buildings.

Over the past few months I have worked alongside IDS and administrators as they meet to build strong partnerships around the work of growing teachers. Their work has led to action plans with clearly defined steps and roles for the administrators and instructional coaches. This work has the potential to help teachers reach more students more effectively though a clear vision, specific action and working together around common goals.

As I travel between buildings to work with and support the instructional coaches in our district’s junior highs and high schools, I am struck again and again by the wealth of knowledge, passion and expertise among staff in the Iowa City Schools. I see the power of what happens when those knowledgeable, passionate experts work together in support of a common goal. There are lessons here about the collective potential we possess in our district and what happens when we tirelessly partner around teacher growth.

The Impact of Coaching

In the video below, Hoover Elementary 1st grade teacher Sue Peters talks with Leadership Support and Development Strategist Carolyn Ceynar about the impact of their work together on Sue's classroom and students.

Former Instructional Coaches Keep Making a Difference

--Ben Mosher

What impact does being an Instructional Coach have on someone once they leave the role?

Last year our program had 8 people leave their Instructional Coach role for a reason other than retirement; 3 became administrators, 5 moved forward to the classroom. Each of them talked to me about what they took from their Instructional Coach role into their current position.

Those who became administrators spoke about how much they use their coaching skills and the power of close listening. They approach evaluations, walk throughs, and conversations with the intent and skills to empower teachers to continually grow. They described feeling confident as an Instructional Leader as a result of their many conversations about quality instruction with PLCs, ILTs, and individual teachers. They said they feel networked, understand how systems work in our district, and are knowledgeable about how to access and use resources.

"They feel connected to who they are and what they want for students."

Those who chose to move forward into the classroom described this year as one of their favorite yet. They feel connected to who they are and what they want for students. They use their coaching skills with students, and mentioned listening and questioning so that students are empowered to find their own solutions. They are better able to see others’ perspectives. They describe being more adept at using data to adjust instruction to student needs, and the experience of working with many different teachers in different settings makes them more flexible and with a much wider range of moves they could make in a classroom. They feel they have better relationships with peers and a broader perspective of our district. They seek out peers to continually reflect on and refine their work.

The #1 reason given for returning to the classroom was excitement to bring their skills and mindset to a specific community of students.

As we move forward as a program, people with Instructional Coach training and experience should positively influence our district in many ways for years to come no matter what role they take on. I see that happening now, and I believe all of us are better for it.

If you have a story about working with teacher leaders that you would like to share, please contact us at Mosher.ben@iowacityschools.org.