Instructional Leadership in Action

Celebrate the power of coaching

by UWCEL Jun 28, 2016

Improving teaching and learning is a complex task. Shifts in instructional models, new standards and a lack of time drive educators and school districts to find new ways to help teachers grow their practice.

Rebekah Kim, principal of Midway Elementary School in the Highline Public Schools district in Burien, Wash., faced a similar challenge: How to maintain the sacredness of her time with teachers, while providing meaningful, personalized feedback to grow teaching practice.

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5 tips for setting up and sustaining coaching in your district

by Joanna Michelson Apr 28, 2016

I recently visited two elementary school instructional coaches in a district where we are providing support to all K-12 coaches. Rebecca used to be a teacher at the school and is now in her first year as a full-time coach. Cheryl is in her second year as a district-based coach and spends a week a month at the school.

"I work here all the time and I know these teachers so well, I think I am overly casual sometimes," Rebecca described her main challenge. "I don’t want to be too pushy but I do want to do more coaching. How do I strike that balance?"

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Keeping One Foot in the Classroom: Developing Teacher Leaders in Pittsburgh

by Joanna Michelson Sep 16, 2015

As a teacher leader in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Monica Wehrheim wanted the teachers she worked with to be inspired by her feedback, to mature as instructors and to improve their practice. But initially, some teachers didn’t understand Wehrheim’s newly created role and weren’t as receptive to her suggestions as she’d anticipated.

So at the start of this past school year, Wehrheim turned to her coach from the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) for advice on introducing herself to the handful of teachers she would mentor that year.

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What is Targeted Feedback and When Do I Use It?

by Sheeba Jacob Jun 18, 2015

Over the past decade, there has been a significant transformation in the way principals interact with teachers. Principals are no longer just managers, they are also instructional leaders. More and more, they visit classrooms throughout the school year to gather data about teacher practice and student learning in order to improve student outcomes.

Principals are also learning how to support teachers in their practice and professional growth instead of just evaluating them. This kind of support can take many different forms:

  • Enlisting the help of an instructional coach
  • Structuring reflective conversations
  • Offering time for professional learning communities (PLCs)
  • Planning and providing professional development opportunities
  • Giving targeted feedback
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How to Help Teachers Find an Area of Focus

by Joanna Michelson Apr 30, 2015

Teachers have always set goals for their students and for their teaching. But what used to be a fairly open-ended conversation in the principal's office or staff room has now become a critical component of a teacher's professional development. Driven by student and teacher growth-oriented evaluation systems, many districts have formalized the process and now require goal setting at least once a year.

But how can teachers authentically set these goals and find the right area of focus for the goals? And how can school and district leaders support teachers in creating goals that positively influence student learning and their own practices?

Before outlining a process that helps identify an area of focus aligned to student and teacher growth and promotes meaningful goal setting, let's first understand what "area of focus" means. An area of focus is what teachers choose to work on in their instructional practice based on the learning strengths and challenges of students in relationship to their teaching.

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Side by Side: Smart Strategies, Strong Support from Classroom Coaches

by Jennifer McDermott Mar 9, 2012

Learning curves have been steep in Carrie Howell’s classroom – for the students, for the teacher, and for the peers who have come to watch over the years as she worked side-by-side with Center for Educational Leadership coaches, tackling learning problems and trying on new instructional strategies.

“The coaches asked smart questions that pushed my thinking and really helped me to take risks,” says the language arts specialist at The Academy of Citizenship and Empowerment in SeaTac, Washington. “I had always been afraid to try on new things until I had mastered them as a teacher. But here, I had the support of the coaches and of my colleagues in the room and it felt safe to take risks as a teacher.”

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CEL is Partner and 'Critical Friend' to Transforming District

by Stephen Fink Mar 9, 2012

System-wide change in an education system is not easy, and it is not fast. Ginger Shattuck, who worked with the Center for Educational Leadership in a long-term comprehensive partnership aimed at boosting literacy in her underperforming district, describes the transformation as “evolutionary, not revolutionary.”

“We understood from the beginning that there would be no quick fixes, no magic bullets,” says Shattuck, who was superintendent of the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District when it signed a multi-year contract with CEL in 2004 aimed at building a new vision, language, and mission for powerful, equitable classroom instruction.

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Establishing a Context for Coaching

by UWCEL Nov 17, 2011

Districts across the nation have invested heavily in coaching as a way to grow a high-quality teaching staff—a key goal of state and federal reforms. However, many districts discover the complexities of coaching only after their coaching initiative has begun. It might seem as if the idea of coaching is embraced but the actual coaching is not.

Read the full article at ASCD Express

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CEL’s Work in Jackson Hole, WY Featured

by UWCEL Feb 28, 2011

 
Read the  February 2, 2011 article  in the Jackson Hole News & Guide. The article focuses on the literacy coaching provided by Mr. Brandon Mitchell (CEL Consultant). CEL also provides mathematics and leadership coaching along with Central Office Transformation support.
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New Study Published that Examines CEL's Instructional Coaching Approach

by UWCEL Dec 5, 2010

The American Research Educational Journal has just published the article by UW faculty, "Instructional Coaching: Building Theory About the Role and Organizational Support for Professional Learning." The study examines, "How (and what) do instructional coaches learn in the context of district instructional reform? And what organizational structures and policies support them in that process?"

Read the article
Download the article

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