Richardson, Joan. (2008). "'Hope is not a strategy': Coaching is effective at closing the gap in Georgia school. The Learning Principal. 4(1). 1, 6-7.
Author: Joan Richardson
Dot Schoeller's initial action as principal of Simonton Elementary in suburban Atlanta was to move 11 literacy specialists working primarily with pull-out students into the role of literacy coaches working with teachers to improve instructional practices. Two years later she added more literacy coaches and a few math coaches. Now, ELL teachers and special education teachers are paired with classroom teachers and coach them on practices that work best with ELL and special education students. Schoeller links an increase in teacher and student attendance to an increase in engaging teaching practices that have resulted from coaching. Teachers have shifted from blaming students when learning does not happen to seeking new strategies to differentiate for all students' needs. Schoeller makes coaching a part of the culture of the school. A teacher applying for a position at the school knows ahead of time the role that coaching plays in professional development. Since the inception of the coaching model, teacher turnover drastically decreased. For the 2008-2009 school year, Schoeller only hired two new teachers. Her coaching model has increased teachers' job satisfaction. This article describes the implementation of her coaching model and the incentives for teachers to work with a coach. This article is for school or district administrators, and other literacy leaders looking for successful models for both literacy and content-specific coaching. The data on increased student achievement provides solid support for Literacy leaders who want to demonstrate its effectiveness.
Date Added: 10/20/2008
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