Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Power of Coaching

I used to work with adult literacy, ESL and GED teachers, helping design and facilitate professional development opportunities. Now, I work to design training for the people around the world who answer customers' questions about Adobe software. In both fields, I have seen the power of coaching as a professional development activity. When designed and implemented well, it has transformative power that goes way beyond what is likely to happen from more traditional professional development activities like workshops and lectures.

Happily, Rosalind Wise, K-12 math-program manager for Seattle schools, and Governor Christine Gregoire and the legislature seem to agree with me.

"Currently, Seattle has five districtwide and 10 school-based math coaches. As more are added in the coming years, "We should see a huge increase in the quality of math instruction," Wise said

...Gov. Christine Gregoire signed legislation May 9 allocating $5.4 million to train a small cadre of 50 math coaches in the 2007-09 biennium and 25 science coaches in 2008-09. The pilot project is part of a $69 million state initiative to boost math and science achievement and includes a revision of state math standards and curriculum, pay incentives for math and science teachers who teach in challenging schools and $40 million in teacher training."


These quotes are from a Seattle Times article today, Math coaches help teachers help kids, that gives me hope that the district's money and effort is being targeted well. Providing good coaching and instructional feedback to math teachers in our district has the potential to create real, positive differences in what kids are learning and how well they are learning it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

and how much of the coach's time is going to be burned up attending to bureaucratic nonsense ...

well, unless you're one of the bureaucrats who needs the nonsense to justify your cubicle and your check.

I know someone who really liked the coach and got to see the coach twice.

anon on sat

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how many Seattle schools will have access to these math coaches? I asked our vice principal about it the other day and he said that only the poorest schools will qualify (not us, we're only 27% FRL), but we didn't discuss how many students would benefit.

Maureen

Michael Rice said...

Just to follow up on what Maureen has said. I have not seen a math coach all year. I could probably really use one and given that I teach at RB, I'm sure we qualify. I know that the freshman I have in Pre-Algebra would benefit.

Michael A. Rice