Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coaching Teachers: What You Need to Know - From Education Week

by Elena Aguilar 

Last spring, a major study suggested that putting literacy coaches in schools can help boost students’ reading skills by as much as 32 percent over three years. This four-year, nationwide research project affirmed what many of us who have been coached—or who are coaches—know: Instructional coaching works.

Or rather, it can work if the conditions are right.

Six years ago, I began coaching at the school where I was then teaching. I coached and taught for three years, and then became a full-time instructional coach at another middle school. I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned about instructional coaching, with the hope that these insights might be helpful to those who have recently become coaches or who are considering doing so.

An alternate title for this piece could be, "If Only I Had Known."

Basically the author, an instructional coach states:

Coaching is really, really hard. Most coaches receive no preparation: It’s still rare to find classes to take or credentials to pursue, and not much is written about the practice. I’ve seen many strong teachers plucked out of classrooms and catapulted into coaching; but an effective teacher of children isn’t automatically effective at leading adults through learning.

Coaches need training and on-going professional development. There is so much a coach needs to know: how to observe instruction, give feedback to teachers, model and debrief lessons, facilitate meetings, and present information. Coaches also need to know a lot about how adults learn and they need to be exceptional communicators.

The "why" for coaching must be made very clear by the principal. Coaching should be presented by the principal as an "effectiveness builder," not a deficit-filler. A coach’s work should be aligned with the school’s goals, and also needs to be shaped by the teacher—from what he/she wants support around. But it’s critical that the principal articulates why a coach was hired, what the coach is supposed to do, and how teachers are expected to work with the coach. When the "why" for coaching is vague, the coach’s impact will be limited.

The "what" of coaching also needs articulation. A coach’s roles and responsibilities need to be created (or co-created with the administration) and then shared with teachers and staff members. If not, coaches are likely to be asked, "What exactly do you do?" and then asked to make photocopies, sub for absent teachers, put up bulletin boards, and so on.
The reality in under-resourced schools is that coaches are often used in many ways. We may pull students for intervention or diagnostic testing, gather and analyze data, compile resources for parents, or even put up bulletin boards. But it is imperative that when a coach is working individually with a teacher that there be a clear definition of what that work is and that everyone understands when "coaching" is taking place.

So what is coaching? Essentially, coaching is a process that can move a person from where he is to where he wants to be. A coach needs to "enroll" a teacher—get him brought into the process. A teacher has to want it. This must be said because coaching cannot be mandated (principals may need to be reminded of this at times).

Coaching is about listening.

Effective coaches aren’t over-directive.

"Without trust there can be no coaching," write Rafael Echeverría and Julio Olalla in The Art of Ontological Coaching. While this is undeniable, it also presents a tricky conundrum that must be addressed. A principal may see the coach as part of and accountable to the administration. Yet in order for coaching to be effective, teachers need to be able to completely trust a coach and know that what is said and observed will not be repeated to the principal.

Coaching can be transformative. I coach because I want to see massive improvements in the outcomes and experiences for children in our schools. As a classroom teacher, I could influence 50 kids a year. As a coach, working with teachers, my work has impacted hundreds of students. Now, I also coach principals. I like thinking about the numbers, knowing that I can possibly change the lives of thousands of students for the better.

I’m starting to see the impact of my coaching, and I would dare to say that in some instances it has been transformative. Our education system is deeply flawed and seriously broken in places, but it is fixable. In order to repair it, we need to pay attention to every part and every person. Coaching is a way to heal and transform our public schools.

Elena Aguilar has taught elementary, middle, and high school, and is currently a School Improvement Coach in the Oakland Unified School District. Her recent articles for Education Week Teacher include, "How Teachers Can Build Emotional Resilience" and "Teaching Secrets: First Days in the Elementary Classroom."

Click here to Read More From Education Week (You may need to register to view)


Anonymous said...

coaching teachers is the new approach to improving k-12 education and has the endorsement of many large research studies. As a result there are many mandated coaching positions in DeKalb funded primarily by Title funds. For those of you who complain about the bloat in the staff that do not teach this is one area of the payroll that increases that number. In the past we have also had graduation coaches. Each coach may vary their practice. Some team teach to demonstrate good practice and thus translate to the classroom. If they were all laid off today the money wouldn't be saved or even put to antoher use because of the use of the funds is prescribed to that one purpose. Likewise many of the "pass through grants" from the Georgia Department of Education can only be spent for specified purposes. Get a new technology grant? GADOE will buy the equipment and pay someone to train you. You do not actually get to touch the money. Audit Title I? The fed does so atringently that Title I in DeKalb has its own auditors to make sure that all the spending regulations are met. And finally any big decision on Title I like America's Choice has to be approved by the board after a 30 day consideration.

Getting back to coaching teachers-does it work? The answer is the same as it is for America's Choice-yes if you do it right. Does everybody do it right? You can check AYP for DeKllab Title I schools and see that some do. Perhaps we should look at the more successful Title I schools in DeKlab and see what it is they are doing?

Cerebration said...

I agree and that's why I posted this article from Ed Week. I hear stories from teachers who think their coach is very helpful and others who feel that their coach just fusses over the bulletin board. We should poke around and see who is making improvements and how. Then replicate their methods. This really can work if done properly according to the author.

Anonymous said...

The coaches that come to our school walk around from class to class, jot down notes while sitting in a class (makes you nervous if you are the one being observed!), and then refuse to share their feedback with the teacher when he/she asks for feedback. The "coach" then goes to the principal and reports all the problems he/she identified with the staff member. That is not coaching! That is being a tattletale and such behavior continues to flame the fires of distrust. It's the Dekalb way. Do you think a basketball coach only gives feedback to the owner or general manager of a team? Heck no! The player is given the feedback.

However, I have talked to some great instructional coaches in Georgia - they view their job as a support to the staff to help staff improve their skills and improve student achievement - they teach a class to role model for a teacher who may be struggling with class management, learning to engage a class, etc; they refuse "administrative", "disciplinary" tasks that would jeopardize the trust relationship that they create with their teachers and the teachers experience them as their partner, working with them. Now isn't that a novel idea! DeKalb, wake up and look at how other successful counties develop and use their "coaches"!

Anonymous said...

Coaching is fabulous and can be fabulous if done right. I was a literacy coach in another district in another state. To be effective, coaches cannot be perceived as administrators. They are there to help the teachers and the children. They are the "experts."

For a coach to be effective teachers must trust the coach. Coaches should be paid on the same pay scale as the teachers, to show that they are equal(I do not know of any other place where coaches make more money than the teachers). Coaches earn the respect and trust of the teachers.

As a coach, I was in charge of giving professional development. I worked with the teachers to develop strategies on how to help the children improve their skills. I worked with teachers to develop lessons. I modeled lessons and also worked with children one on one. I did not give evaluations, talk to teachers about their rooms -unless room arrangement was appropriate- or deal with issues that should be the principal's responsibility. My job was strictly to improve the quality of instruction and therefore the quality of education that the children were receiving.

I loved being a coach, because my day was always different. I saw teachers improve as well as the children. I saw teachers who hated my presence and found me threatening, sad to see me go when I left for a different position. I also know that the teachers reverted back to their old ways shortly after I had left, as it was easier to do what they had been doing than to continue to do what was right.

I do believe that coaching could work, as I believe that peer coaching can work (teachers pair up and observe each other teach and discuss the lessons, etc,.). Both coaching models need to be done in a way that the coaches or one's peers do not have authority over you and should be paid on the same teacher scale, so that there is that equality as well.

DCSS isn't known for doing things the right way. I don't see the coaching improving in the future or these over paid people going away any time soon.

DCSS is all about reinventing the wheel and not looking at what is working and trying to emulate it. I don't see this changing with the current administration, but maybe with new blood it will-that is if we get new blood.

Anonymous said...

Good post by Anonymous 10:25! I especially agree with your comment that for coaches to be effective, teachers must trust the coaches.

I've heard from a variety of educators that we do have many teachers that are set in their ways and are not receptive to innovations and strategies that can help them to be more successful in the classroom. That's the way I have always done it and it worked in the past seems to be the mantra for some. I can't understand how anyone can say they know all they need to know to be successful in their job without considering the changing needs of students.

I don't mean to paint a broad brush in saying this about teachers but you do have to ask the question. I also don't mean to imply that coaches are omnipotent as perhaps this should be a rotational type of position so they don't get stale with their teaching stategies also.

Instructional Coaches aren't as made an some try to make them out to be. It takes a combination of the right person in that position along with buy in from those in the schools that coaches can ultimately help more children succeed.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:42 As an instructional coach, I ran into teachers that did not want to change or think that they needed to change. This is human nature. I was the most persistent peppy person that I could be, even though I was not well received. I modeled lessons, worked with kids, hung out in the room, made suggestions, and when the teacher saw the difference in her children's progress, she came around slowly, but surely. In fact, she went from hating me to being my biggest cheerleader.

I was paid the same rate at the teachers, and they knew that I had no authority over them. Yes the principal and I talked, but he only ever heard good, positive things. I wanted him to know that people were coming around. Did I make teachers cry? Yes, but it was because they realized that they weren't helping their children the best that they could. My objective was to help the children and make the teachers better.

As a matter of fact, the school received the blue ribbon award for the time that I was at the school. I was proud of the teachers hard work and let them know it. We cheered together and cried together when we couldn't help children as much as we wanted.

I was not concerned about lesson plans, bulletin boards, posting of objectives and standards (something I find a waste of time personally), but what was actually happening with the children and the teacher. Anon. 10:25

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:25,
It's Anon 10:19 here - thank you for elaborating on what I was trying to say about the role of a coach, the relationship between coaches and teachers, etc. You described what I have heard from other coaches in Georgia!

If only we could get DeKalb to implement this as their model for instructional coaches and employ individuals in these roles that are willing to roll up their sleeves and get in there with the teachers and students with the passion you describe instead of seeing it as a "cush job" traveling around schools with a checklist and dinging teachers if they don't have their Ga Performance Standards posted clearly in the room!

Tramika from Tucker said...

Are any of the DeKalb coaches related to members of the school board or front office? Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the coming budget, the AJC indicates the following: "Tentative recommendations include canceling four furlough days for 10- and 11-month employees, and canceling 11 of 15 furlough days for 12-month employees."

Are teachers 10 month employees? If so, this seems to indicate that budget balancing continues to occur on the shoulders of students and teachers. Much higher percentage of furlough days being returned to 12 month employees than to 10 month employees. What matters more? I'm puzzled. Can anyone comment?

Anonymous said...

Teachers are 10 month employees.

Anonymous said...

It means no furlough days for teachers (they only had 7 last year and 4 of those were ccancelled). 12 month employees has 15 furlough days but only had to take 4). This year only 12 month employees will take furlough days under the proposed budget. So it isn't on the backs of the teachers.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 12:31 The answer my friend is keeping up the Palace. Remember,the principal mission of DCSS is NOT to educate children. It is to preserve and expand the pay, pension and perks of the Administration.

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned about the preparation of teachers in our schools of education that produce a product that is so high maintenance! Sorry but why to we have to create another level of administration that are teacher-teachers?

Could this role not be handled by highly skilled principals and assistant principals? Do we have the wrong people running the school house? Do we have the people running the school house focused on the wrong things?

I would agree with some degree of continuing education but not to the degree of one on one mentoring.

How many coaches are we talking about per school?

Maybe I'm missing the boat...

Would not be the first time but how about let's create a solid, functional, and effective teacher from the start instead of having to retrofit them all along the way.

Anonymous said...

Coaches shouldn't be administrators at all. Coaches should be helping to ensure that the best possible lessons are delivered in a given subject.

Coaches may be administrators in DCSS, but that is not their true role. A coach should be the best teacher that you have, not the worst, not a friend of a friend, not a family member, but truly the best that you have. They should be providing professional development to teachers and helping them implement new reading/math series in the best way possible. Coaches should not be worried about how one writes lessons plans, what is on someone's bulletin board, or giving the teacher more work.

I look at a true coaching position as more of a mentoring program where you not only help the teachers with their teaching, but also help small groups of kids with their learning.

As a coach I worked my tail off, because I wanted the best for the kids in my school. I worked with all of the teachers in the k-8 school in reading/language arts. I may be in Kindergarten in the AM and in Sixth grade at lunch, and 3rd grade in the afternoon. I had to be prepared for each lesson and work on strategies for improvement.

You could have one per school or one per two schools. The problem in DCSS is that Coaches are paid on a scale above teachers, and not on the teacher scale. We could be saving a great deal of money if the coaches were on the same scale of the teachers, but that will never happen.

In theory, a coach shouldn't be at a school forever. The teachers should learn new skills and be applying them to the lessons that they teach and then the coach should move on. In other words, the administrators should be requiring the classroom teachers to retain what they have been taught.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that we'd be better off with no coaches. Instead, take that money and hire more teachers so that class sizes could be reduced.

Most teachers would be just fine if classes weren't so large and getting bigger every year!

Anonymous said...

I agree, there is no reason to be spending money on programs with no true value or return on investment. We need coaches teaching kids! The Principals and Asst. Principals, at the schools, should know their staff well enough to make the decisions as well as offer techniques to get better. I know our principal at my kids elementary school does a great job at giving teachers better tools to teach. She has them read, has seminars on different techniques and also has the teachers suggest ideas. It's a great process and it keeps the decision making at the local level and not some national web based program that seems to be a drain on financial resources that could be spent in the classroom.

These coaches DO NOT TEACH! They critique the teachers. I thought we already had people to do that like the the teachers bosses, the Principals, the assistant principals, Dr. B and his team. Why do we need another layer of "coaches" to grade teachers? Seems to me if we could lighten the teachers class sizes, they could spend more time with the students!

America's Choice is a bad program with a bad name at a very bad price. It's time to put that money back into the schools. Better yet let's use it to give the teachers a raise and the full support they need to be successful.

Anonymous said...

Part of the reason we have coaches is that all teachers don't have the same abilities. As mentioned, their purpose is to help teachers become better at their craft. Think of it as a type of 'professional development' that is ongoing. I believe if you match a good coach with a teacher that is willing to apply suggestions provide, it benefits everyone. Who knows, perhaps it could have an impact on the teacher retention rate.

To say we don't need coaches could possibly condemn students to ineffective teachers for longer periods of time. An ineffective teacher with a small class is still an ineffective teacher. Coaches can be an extremely valuable resource if they are utilized properly.

Anonymous said...

Great post. It's horrible to be a veteran teacher who know's a thing or two about teaching a class and have a "coach" breathing down their necks in the classroom.

A coach once told me that if I didn't modify my lesson and my natural teaching style to fit this ridiculous, rigged method she tried to show me, then I would be written up as failing to comply.

Hell, I did it, under silent protest. She said it was the best example of that teaching method she'd ever seen.

I never saw her again. Then went right back to doing what I do best in the best way that I do it.

Anonymous said...

It's "knows." Before someone sicks the grammar dogs on me.

Anonymous said...

The solution is simple...Dismiss inefective teachers! Better yet, don't hire based on a resume, application or sham interview.

Demand the teacher teach a lesson to you. Treat it like a role play.
If a teacher can not explain long division or adding fractions withou worksheets or manipulative, don't hire them.

If a teacher can not contruct a reasonably coherenet paragragh free from outrageous spelling errors, don't hire them.

If a teacher can not read a story aloud from a current news magazine and them summarize the information and then brief you on the article, don't hire them.

If the teacher's first language is not English, be very wary. While you might be able to understand them clearly based on years of your adult experiences, this does not mean the kids will understand.
This also applies to teachers who have gotten the idea that Ebonics is the default language of our school system.

It's not rocket science!

Stop hiring the factory seconds and other less than satisfactory products coming out of our universities. Demand a better product!

Anonymous said...

Please excuse all the typos above. When my BP rises, my typing accuracy goes in the opposite direction!

And this blog certainly is one to pump up the BP.

Anonymous said...

So how do coaches become coaches?
According to this coach, there are few classes and no credentials. Perhaps I'm exhausted by my large (and always increasing) classes and jaded by Dekalb's ineffective, costly administration and programs, but I can't understand why a good coach (if paid the same and trained no differently) isn't better used as teacher.

Also, no amount of "coaching" is going to alleviate the cumbersome tasks that chip away at instruction and motivation.

Anonymous said...

"I'm concerned about the preparation of teachers in our schools of education that produce a product that is so high maintenance! Sorry but why to we have to create another level of administration that are teacher-teachers?"

We shouldn't need more administrators to fix these problems. A school principal or AP is more than qualified. The problem with our coaches is that they should be targeting teachers who really need assistance. Asking a highly successful teacher to "change her ways" because it fits some new educational theory may be counterproductive. Over the past 30 years we have had many highly promoted instructional programs that were later called failures. Anyone remember whole language or the even older new math? Then, there is our current high school math curriculum. Some teachers were very successful with these strategies, but many others were not.

As for teaching degrees, I think we should be asking teachers to earn a BA or BS degree before being admitted to a college of education. It might take an additional year to earn that teaching certificate, but we would have highly qualified people going into education. It is really sad to see someone with an education degree struggle to pass the state certification tests.

Anonymous said...

Principals and APs are constantly called out of their schools to attend meetings - let them stay in the building to manage, teach, evaluate, and assist their staff!

Anonymous said...

I remember about three years ago that Dr. Lewis had a plan to take about 20% of the administrators and give them lower paying teachers jobs. Whatever happened to that one?

A good school system starts with a good and strong superintendent who really is dedicated to education of the children. DCSS has not had this for quite a few years. Dr.Brown may have been that man, but he was never given the chance. Out of the present nine members of the BOE, my estimate is that three are dedicated to preserving the status quo, three (including the two new members) would really like to improve the system, two are living on another planet, and Mr. Bowen would probably go with the status quo group. Therefore, I am doubtful that DCSS will get the strong leader superintendent then it really needs.

Anonymous said...

Do we really think teaching the teachers or professional development and making them teach to some national program is worth 20 million dollars a year? I know some is Title 1 money blah, blah, blah. The office of improvement and Audria's Army has only made DCSS worse with far more fewer improved schools than before she went to the Bahamas and Reynolds Plantation on the taxpayer dime. I thought DCSS mission was to teach kids not the teachers!

Anonymous said...

Thoughts About Teacher Pay
by Trea Kimball

Are you sick of high paid teachers? Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM

with 45 min. off for lunch and plan — that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

Now how many do they teach in day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

LET’S SEE…. That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 peryear. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children

X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your



Anonymous said...

I come to this blog to laugh.
Here are the facts:

Intelligence is highly heritable. That means that intelligence is one of the most genetic traits a child has. This is a fact. No matter what school your kid goes to, no matter how dumb or smart he/she is, it's not going to matter. A smart kid, with smart parents, will be self-motivated to learn, and will do just fine. A dumb kid, it will be the opposite.

Trust me. I know. I am a product of very poor public schools in MS, then went on to very elite universities and received graduate degrees, as did my siblings.

Coaches? This is making me laugh so hard! What's next? Coaches to teach kids and teachers how to wipe their butts?

The good news is that the AJC reports this morning that Dekalb county will not raise taxes, and there will be cutbacks.

This is great news for those of us who don't depend on the government to support our every move.

Teach your children, protect yourselves, and if things get really bad, move.

Quit being parasites.

Anonymous said...

People who are against coaching really do not understand what a real coach does. I am not talking about a DCSS coach, but a coach in a good school district outside of Georgia. Coaches help teachers to read the quality data that they have gathered on children and work together to devise plans on how to help the children who are behind. Coaches will even pull small groups. Coaches help teachers to teach lessons that they know didn't go well, but don't have an idea on how to make better. Coaches help teachers to teach material that they may not understand well themselves-few colleges do not teach phonetics, phonemic awareness, and not every person teaching young children has it or even understands it. Coaches help new teachers in a way a mentor would, but without having to find coverage for another teacher's classroom. Coaches help a veteran teacher who is struggling to use best practices and continue to use worksheets or struggle using technology in the classroom. Coaches help teachers who show too many videos or do not have classroom management skills to have students work on.

Coaches can help a good school become a great school or a failing school become a good school and eventually become great.

Yes, maybe principals and APs should be doing this, but reality is that a good principal and AP really don't have the time to do this correctly.

I don't see a coaching program done correctly in DCSS, but I know that it could help our schools improve. In DCSS our top teachers will not be used as coaches, but it will become a thank you job for friends and family members.

Anonymous said...

okay -- throw stones now -- but we are one of the only societies where Darwin's pinciple of "survival of the fittest" hasn't been allowed to work... with all of our "entitlement" we are one of the only places on the planet where we are holding up our weakest at the expense of our strongest. Doesn't really bode well for the future now does it?

Cerebration said...

I was always taught that our compassion, vision and sense of fairness and democracy is what made this country great—I'm very glad to be a part of that idealism, if it still lives.

I firmly believe that children born into poverty have just the same ability to learn as other levels of income/class/parent gene pools. As an enlightened society (at least the kind I have learned to love) we are beholden to hold up our weakest and most vulnerable. It is to everyone's advantage to educate absolutely everyone. If that takes more effort (from society) for some than for others, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

I would rather see all 90+ (average cost $100,000 per coach) Instructional Coach positions discontinued in DCSS and 150 Title 1 teachers placed in the elementary schools for double dose (small groups of struggling students) math and reading. That's what many of the most effective states do. Title 1 funds are absolutely appropriate for this use. All the coaches in the world won't help when a teacher has 30+ students, many of which cannot read or compute.

Anonymous said...

You can not replace coaches with teachers because of the Title I and GADOE mandates that the money be used for coaches. Get rid of the coaches, lose the money.

Anonymous said...

Then maybe we need to lose the money?! Should we be wasting our money? Where ever the money comes from-state, local or federal-it is our money and we are wasting it spending it on coaches worried about bulletin boards and not helping the children.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:05
That's simply not true. Title 1 teachers are a perfectly acceptable way to use Title 1 funds. Federal funds do not mandate $100,000 a year Instructional Coaches who never teach a child.

Look at the number of Title 1 schools that have failed to Make AYP. The number and percentage of schools not making AYP has increased, not decreased. The Office of School Improvement has preside over declining student achievement. When the graduation rates are adjusted in Georgia, that one spot of improvement will show hhis department is terribly inept and ill managed. Why Audria Berry has been allowed to oversee the disposition of hundreds of millions of dollars ($128,000,000 just last year) while less and less Title 1 schools are making AYP is a mystery that Lewis, Tyson, and the BOE need to be explaining to taxpayers. Title 1 and federal funds are not "free" money to be used to hire legions of non-teaching personnel. Title 1 funds come from federal income tax. They are meant for our lowest income students and in particular for our lowest income lewdness struggling with math and reading. Somehow this concept has been perverted into the creation of highly paid non-teaching positions with no accountability when students do not achieve.

Anonymous said...

... Meant to say:
... For our lowest income students struggling with math and reading.

Thumb typing is not my thing.

Anonymous said...

That's simply not true. Title 1 teachers are a perfectly acceptable way to use Title 1 funds. Federal funds do not mandate $100,000 a year Instructional Coaches who never teach a child.
Wrong Wrong-Federal funds mandate a fixed perecentage of title I to be used for staff development and the accepted manner is instructinal coaches-what you don't know about Title I would fill a barn.

Anonymous said...

Hey, everybody, it's up to 72 degrees out there, an the Columbia High School swimming pool is open for a splash! Alls you got to do is come on down to the lower level of Columbia High School and get your swim on! Principal Uras Agee III don't care if you dive and dip on in. No matter there is no certified adult there to save you if you don't know how to swim. Just bring your own flotation device and you'll be okay. OK?

Yo, and if you let yourself in with one of those Columbia High School master keys you got from the locksmith there at Glenwood and Columbia next to the chicken wing place, you know, those master keys that don't have "Do Not Duplicate" on them, well, make sure you don't dip and dive after eating some of those $3.99 wing/fries specials you be getting at the chicken wing place if you flash your Columbia High School master key and say Jonathan Woods sent you.

Now make sure you bring your flotation device so you don't drown, all the kids at after school athletic practice be jumping on in. None of them has drowned yet, an there hasn't been not one certified adult there in swimming first aid! Uras Agee III sure do know how to run a school.


Anonymous said...

I work in a school with a "small learning communities" liason who taught MAYBE three years (while working on her leadership degree, no doubt) in Business Education. My principal has directed her to go into core subject classrooms to evaluate the teachers. Give me a break!

I am willing to embrace research-based and proven strategies. However, I am sick to death of jumping on every bandwagon (ie America's Choice) and then ditching the new program within 2 years.

Further, the evaluation process has been COMPLETELY PERVERTED by administrators in DCSS. Instead of using the evaluation process to develop and retain quality instructors, our administrators use the process to punish the teachers they dislike. Evaluation in DCSS is a disciplinary tool used to intimidate and demoralize.

Please show me a knowledgeable coach I can trust!!! I am willing to learn!!!

Anonymous said...

What is interesting is that the bulk of research on teaching coaches paid for out of Title I in most places is money well spent. It helps retain new teachers (Research says that new teachers have coaching mentors do better and stay in teaching longer). It was one of the answers to how do we (nationally) losing over 40% of our new teachers in their first five years. Conversely you have no data or research to show that coaching in DCSS is ineffective. However, several local research universities are collecting data about the DeKalb County experience. Finally some of you have little idea of the vast range of restrictions and hoops that are included in Title funding. I think Satchel was right when he said it's not what you don't know that will hurt you-it's what you think you know. The wonderful or awful thing about federal Title funds is that in order to use them your local school board, the state of Georgia Department of Education and the US Department of Education all have to approve how you use them. Along the way the have requirements and suggestions. The amount of actually discretionary money available to a principal is usually not enough to hire staff but the principals use it well for the most part. Yes there are Title I teachers but they are part of a formula. And, of course, not all our schools get Title I funds-only the ones on the Title I list which are the ones with a majority of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. Some people say that the funds follow students who leave these school but you can’t send part of a Title I teacher or a portion of teacher or Intervention specialist, or teaching coach to another school. There have to be a significant number of Title I students at a school for the funds to be significant enough to be noticeable. And finally if the yearly audit shows any misuse of funds someone will go to jail.

Anonymous said...

T ANON 2/18/2011 6:33 am...

Sure, intelligence is genetic--no argument there. However, we still must teach ALL children (whether they can learn or want to learn, or not). What else are we gonna' do with them?

My problem with the current system is that we continue to allow children to progress through the system, even though they have not mastered essential skills and concepts.

My solution would be to enforce retention. Children should be grouped by reading level, not age. People do not develop at a uniform rate. Thus, we should group and instruct children based upon level of ability. I have 9th grade students fully capable of working at a 12th grade level, and 11th grade students who cannot read at a 4th grade level. Those performing below grade level should never have been allowed to continue on beyond their level of ablility.

The whole conversation about accountability is a waste of time if we are not going to insist that our students actually master the skills and concepts BEFORE advancing to the next level of education. Set the baseline for success and hold EVERY STUDENT accountable. Then teachers can spend LESS time on remediation and MORE time actually teaching.

Oh yeah...based upon MY experiences with instructional coaches, they are a waste of time. Perhaps if I had been exposed to effective coaches, I would feel differently.

Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Title One money is not left to school systems by the Education Fairy!! Good grief...the talk about these funds is incredible!

It's like this money from heaven!

Where in the "opposite of heaven" do you think this money comes from??

Anonymous said...

"Intelligence is highly heritable. That means that intelligence is one of the most genetic traits a child has. This is a fact."

Yes, you can make the case that intelligence is inherited. However, IQ tests vary. Many are culturally biased. You score may depend on how well you slept the night before or whether you ate breakfast. That leaves us with one thought on IQ. It is only an estimate of intellectual ability. Some people work well below their tested IQ level and some people work well above their tested IQ level.

I prefer to work with students where they are. If that means they are working hard and are ready for advanced work, I will provide it. You can have a high IQ and find yourself working at a fast food restaurant. It all depends on what you DO when you are in school.

Anonymous said...

I don't think "Survival of the Fittest" doesn't mean leaving the weakest with nothing. I think that we do a tremendous disservice to society by constantly increasing the entitlements and at the same time weakening the educational structure so people can not fend for themselves. I think it also means that we need to give kids real career options -- not just, essentially, college, jail or entitlements...which is how I think the current system is set up (and maybe how many in "charge" actaully want it). Call me a cynic. I think we need to give kids the skills to provide for themselves, however they are best able to do so -- that is the job of our system of education and government. Nothing else. Self-reliance has made America great. The inability of future generations to fend for themselves will be our undoing.

Anonymous said...

I have seen many instructional coaches in my years of teaching in DeKalb and they are typically not the best teachers. Those jobs include a pay raise and are considered "plum assignments" for those teachers anxious to get out of the classroom. The individuals who get these jobs are more often hired through some personal connection, not because they are exceptional teachers.
I personally wish they would do away with the whole concept. But, if DeKalb MUST hire instructional coaches I have a simple proposal: Hire one extra teacher in the math and language arts department at each school and allow the teachers in the department to choose the coach for the year with the understanding that that teacher would return to the classroom the following year. Each year a new coach would be chosen (with no extra pay, BTW.)
Talk about genuine staff development.

Cerebration said...

I completely agree, Anon 8:21 PM... The vocational programs are so necessary and wonderful. Everyone deserves a chance to grow into a productive citizen able to provide for their own family. Poverty is a cycle and education is one of the few things that has the power to break that cycle. That doesn't necessarily mean college-prep education. We also need to prepare young people for decent jobs.

Anonymous said...

Please cite one source that we can access that shows the statistics that definitively link increases in student achievement in DCSS to Instructional. Perhaps you can provide a weblink that will compare teacher attrition over time specifically in DCSS since you base much of your argument on that. There is plenty of data that shows a decrease in The number and percentage of Title 1 schools Making AYP. Maybe you don't consider it a Coach's job in a Title 1 school to ensure students make adequate yearly progress, but to my mind student achievement is paramount and this program has failed in that regard. The state of Georgia Title 1 data show over time that more Title 1 schools are failing to make AYP. That is particularly true for last year when testing monitoring was instituted. The nu
Bed of Title 1 schools in DCSS showed a sharp decrease.

Anonymous said...

Meant to say the numbers of Title 1 DCSS schools making AYP this past year showed a sharp decrease.

Anonymous said...

It's simple, the taxpayers and parents want a decent education for their kids. The DCSS leaders and Central Office personnel are treating DCSS as their personal gravy train. That train has run off the rails, thanks to the current leadership or should I say lack of it! Enough, get rid of everyone or nothing is going to change.

Anonymous said...

I agree Anon. There is so much corruption in Dekalb County School System it makes me sick to my stomach!

DCSS cant fix DCSS. Our Board chair has shown us that by appointing two board members to finance committees who have compromised ethicsand legal matters.

When will we learn! SACS did it to Clayton and it is going to happen to Dekalb! I thought the issues with the Clayton County School system board was embarrassing. Dekalb is a public disgrace!!!

When the raft of SACS come down it will affect both the North side and the South side of DCSS. We will truely then be "One" Dekalb. One Dekalb with no Accrediation!!

Anonymous said...

Things will not change with the high salaries, hiring of friends and family members and promoting them without justified qualifications until accreditation is lost. I do not wish this on the children, but it could be the only way that we can get rid of the wrath of New Birth and the other corruption that permeates the County and school system.