Who am I?

Sarah Allred is the Instructional Lead Teacher at Braxton Craven School, an all 6th grade middle school. She has 15 years of teaching experience at the middle school level. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education earned at the University of NC Greensboro, National Board Certification in Early Adolescent English Language Arts, and a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology earned at East Carolina University. She has taught language arts, social studies, science, and technology. She serves her school in many leadership roles. Her passion is searching for new ways to use technology to improve student learning. Additional roles she fills are mother of two amazing kids, and wife of a police officer. She enjoys reading, gardening, and digital photography.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Instructional Coaching

I attended an excellent training today titled Introduction to Instructional Coaching provided by PTEC and presented by Michael Price.  This was a very informative and timely professional development for me.

By this point in the school year, I have settled in to my position as Lead Teacher at BCS. I feel good about some positive effects I believe I have had, and am ready to reflect and improve from here.  Looking back at the goals I had as I began this position, I feel like I have had some successes.  I think that I have gone a long way in transforming the role of Lead Teacher at my school to that of a colleague who is there to collaborate and assist, who can be trusted and seen as a colleague rather than another administrator.  I feel like I have continued to encourage my staff toward collaboration in order to work smarter and share the load.  I also am happy with my efforts to keep parents more informed through our weekly email newsletter, and more detailed web page. I have also encouraged teams to build identities and team spirit which is a valuable part of a positive school climate. I have most definitely been very busy with many projects that also come as a part of my role, and have done fairly well in keeping up with these.

My biggest downfall at this point is that I have not been in classrooms as much as I hoped, and although I have assisted in rooms some, I haven't had the opportunity to do any co-teaching or modeling.  I also have been able to assist teachers in finding  resources, however  I haven't done any coaching, or assisting in instructional planning.  I also haven't collaborated as much with my principal as I would like because we are both in the midst of so many projects and duties, that we at times are just able to catch each other quickly in passing to discuss what we need to. I don't see any of these things as failures, though, just as things I would like to work on improving to be as effective as possible.

With that said, I am putting together a list of goals for the rest of the school year:

1- Learn more about and practice instructional coaching. Steps:

  • Read the book by Jim McKnight.
  • Put together a presentation to share with the staff the 3 roles I will work with them in (resource finder, coach, evaluator) and how the coaching process will work.
  • Prepare or locate forms/documents to use in the coaching process.
  • Model for teachers the coaching process by having them observe, record, and coach me.
  • Invite teachers to engage in the coaching process with me, and set aside time for the full coaching cycle.
  • Share copies of the walk through forms I complete when visiting classes, and encourage teachers to use this to identify areas we might address through coaching.
2- Schedule a time to meet with my administrator regularly to discuss needs and goals.

3- Be in classrooms more frequently. Walk through each teacher's classroom at least ____ (twice?) per week, and aim to do a longer observation (30 min or more) once a month.

4- Continue to be a support assisting teachers to become familiar with the Common Core and Essential Standards, as well as planning units to use with them.

5- Continue to keep parents informed through the email newsletter and webpage, and explore the options of using Edmodo or a texting tool.

6- Continue to support team identities and team spirit to boost morale of students and teachers.

I realize these are many goals to consider in combination with all the other projects that I frequently must work on.  I don't necessarily expect to complete all of these goals 100% by the end of the school year, but I plan to make a diligent effort to work on each.  

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