Prats' Coaching Corner

It's all about the instruction!

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Week's topics

  • Get to know your coach: William Prats-Palerm
  • Instructional Coaching with Coach P
  • Coaching focus of the week: Clarifying Questions
  • Looking forward...

Get to know your coach: William Prats-Palerm

I was born in November 4, 1963, and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico all my life. I have always been an avid reader and learner, so I decided to do my bachelor’s degree in Humanities and, after that, I went to Law School. These experiences taught me that knowledge is more than obtaining information, but understanding cultures and ways of exploring the continual evolution of education. Also during these years, I taught swimming lessons, I played water-polo and swam for our National Team, became a soldier in the U.S. Army, and kept abreast of the ever-changing face of the world we live in through reading and traveling.

Due to unforeseen circumstances and the need to work to start a family, I started working in the insurance business, where I spent almost twenty years, and was blessed with the birth of my daughter, Mariela. She was born with mild cerebral palsy and through the work of miracle workers, (special education teachers), she has developed into a 16 years old teen, currently in 11th Grade, who plays the piano, cello, and trumpet, and is in the Archery Team of her school in Puerto Rico. She couldn’t have achieved all her accomplishments without the guidance of very dedicated and passionate teachers and counselors.

Economic circumstances in Puerto Rico are very difficult, and looking to provide for my daughter, give back to the community, and my strong desire to be part of sculpting children for their future careers, lead to me to find my true vocation: becoming an educator. It is my belief that as a caring teacher, I can help these young minds understand the ever-changing world where they are growing up.

In 2012, after several months of preparation, I became a Certified EC-6 Bilingual Generalist Teacher in Texas. My first experience was as a Kindergarten Bilingual Teacher in Spring Branch ISD. It was there that I started a new learning process which has proved very insightful, never-ending, and absolutely satisfying. Becoming an integral part of the lives of these young minds and being able to plant the seed for their future formation as individuals and future professionals, while empowering them and giving them the tools, skills, and motivation needed to fulfill their dreams, is a great responsibility and I live it to the fullest every single day.

I moved to Krum the next year, and as a First Grade Bilingual Teacher in Krum ISD, the devotion to my career started to grow deeper roots as I started to understand that educators are the gatekeepers of the future, shaping the path of the souls and spirits in each one of the lives in our classroom. As an open-minded person with a passion for learning and cultivating that same passion in others, while making a difference in their lives and in their world, made me realize that it was time to move to a bigger school district, where I could keep growing professionally and personally.

My three years as a Bilingual Teacher in Fort Worth ISD had proved to be more than fulfilling. They have cemented my belief that we, as educators, have the utmost responsibility towards our students and the quality of their education, and that is only achieved by constant preparation and continuous education. In the words of Rafe Esquith, “Teaching is a great gig. However, if you care about what you are doing, it’s one of the toughest job around.” And I really do care about helping my students succeed and reach their limitless potential. I care about their right to a quality and equitable education, and that they expect me to be prepared to guide them in their unknown path of knowledge. As a teacher, I’m a learner, and the more I learn, the more I can impact the life of my pupils and the families that have deposited their confidence in my skills and abilities to lead their young ones.

Two years ago, I became part of the FWISD/TCU Educational Fellowship Program, where I obtained a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. This opportunity also gave me the chance to be a full-time AP Intern at the Leadership Academy at Como Elementary last year, where I kept learning and growing as an instructional leader. This year I have the honor of being placed as a FWCP Instructional Leader at Carroll Peak.

As an educator, I realize every single day that I have the choice to be a learner and a teacher. I look forward to inspire my students and teachers that education is the vessel that will help them get anywhere they direct their lives to, notwithstanding their race, religion, size, gender, or circumstances. “People are measured from the eyebrows up”, as my mother use to say. And for me, as a very passionate teacher and life-long learner, teaching has become my lifestyle, my life’s philosophy. I look forward every single day to be the best teacher I can be and to support the efforts of my students and teachers, and instill in them the notion that learning is a journey that will accompany us for the rest of our lives.

Finally, seeing myself as a leader in the education community helps me reach into more lives by shaping a vision of academic success for all students, while creating an environment conducive to a holistic education. School leaders are not only managers, but the ones who are in charge of providing the necessary leadership tools in the hands of the faculty for the benefit of the students’ academic success. Building quality instruction by being a passionate educator and learner, cultivating the right educational atmosphere, and amassing the best educational team possible is an integral part of teaching and educational leadership, and being able to transform a whole community is a path that I’m looking forward to follow with the right education and preparation.

John F. Kennedy once said that “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”, and I believe that they co-exist in a holistic and synergetic relationship within an educational environment. It is up to us as educational leaders to tap into that potential, and to be prepared and never stop our learning process; becoming a beacon of instructional excellence to the community we strive to serve. This is my North, and these are the reasons that move me as an educator to become a leader in my school, my district, and today’s society.
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Instructional coaching with Prats

Just a short note to remember our focus for this year: TOTAL student engagement through better formative questioning.

How do we achieve it?

  • Ask the question using a Total Response Technique
  • Ask the question again & cold call
  • Follow-up using a Stretch-It Technique

Among those techniques, we discussed the following during our training at Region XI:

  • Explain why or how?
  • Answer with a better word
  • Integrate a related skill
  • Answer in a different way
  • Provide evidence
  • Apply the new skill in a new setting

Moreover, during the short PD's we did at school, I handed out different questions by rigor and strategies that you can start using in your classrooms.

I can't wait to go to your classrooms and see how it is being implemented! Let's do it!

Clarifying questions

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Adapted from Arthur Costa and Robert Garmston, (1999), Cognitive Coaching, and the New Teacher Center, Santa Cruz, CA
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Looking forward...

I look forward to:

  • Meet all of you and learn your strengths as a teacher and a learner, and start building on those to make sure our students meet and surpass our expectations.
  • Support the implementation of effective instructional strategies in your classrooms.
  • Facilitate conversations using data to drive instructional decisions .
  • Engage with you in reflective thinking while looking at your own instructional practices critically and analytically .
  • Identify a variety of resources to enhance classroom instruction and student achievement.
  • Engage in professional collaborative relationships.
  • Reflect, refine and implement effective instructional practices to increase student achievement.

Let us make this a great year of teaching and learning!!!

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I will be including shout-outs, instructional research-based information, and any other ideas you may have. I plan to send this newsletter every other week, so feel free to contact me and let me know what would you love to see or learn.

My email is:

My personal phone number is: 832-544-1983

I am here to help in any capacity I can, as I want our students to reach and surpass our expectations and be successful.

Thanks for all you do!!!

"Learning is one of the few things no one can take from us. Every time we learn, we grow. We become stronger." —Carol Ann Tomlinson