Instructional Coaches

What exactly is the purpose of instructional coaches? We have had one at our school for the last 3 years without any noticeable results. Is there any accountability for these positions? If the school sees no gain(s)how is thier job performance quantified? I noticed on the database that some of the coaches make very large saleries.

I am the original poster of this discussion

I did not realize that I would bring up so many mixed emotions. I just saw the highest earning instructional coaches and saw some names I was really suprised they made that much. Some of the highest paid I know for a fact that they do not take on responsibility, rarely show up when input is needed and their working in the office on Fridays...I wish I got a 3 hour lunch and did not have to show up in my classroom until 9.

How would you know

How do you know what coaches do, just because they leave your building doesn't mean they are at lunch. They may have gone to their office. Don't assume what you don't know. Many coaches have meetings in the morning or go to the office before they show up at schools.

Instructional Coaches Resources

Instructional coaches are used not only in DISD, but in many districts throughout the country. Here are some websites that explain the purposes of and uses for instructional coaches.

http://www.instructionalcoach.org/about.html
http://www.nwrel.org/nwedu/10-04/coach/
http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/tcsii/ch10/instructnlcoaches.aspx
http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmin...

Instructional coaches are on the same salary scale as teachers, except they work either 215 or 226 days as opposed to 187 teacher days. They make the same amount of money, per day, as they would if they were teaching. They may even make less (per day) in that as teachers, they often tutored after school or were eligible for various stipends. The coaches who have high salaries are veteren teachers who have 25+ years of experience and so are at the top on the teacher pay scale. In addition, many have masters and doctorates so they are eligible for a few thousand more.

Instructional coaches

Instructional coaches are in a no win situation. They are not teaching students and they don't have authority over teachers. So they tend to work with the willing. Many campuses have had gains due to their coaches, because of the resources and information many coaches provide and the number of questions coaches help with. Also coaches know the curriculum because many of them write the curriculum. But remember, they do not teach the kids so they can on help the teachers that want to be helped.

do NOT get it

If these instructional coaches are great teachers, why aren't they in the classroom? How are teachers who are not even certified teaching classes, while these instructional coaches are accountable to no one?

It appears that this practice stems from not having enough master teachers in the classroom. So hundreds of uncertified interns are put in place, with the excuse that instructional coaches will pick up the slack.

Sounds like bull.

Coaches are held accountable...to everyone.

To say that instructional coaches are not held accountable is a HUGE misconception. Coaches are held accountable to administrators on their assigned campuses. They are accountable to the teachers on their campuses. They are accountable to their supervisors in the departmental offices. They are accountable to district administrators who ask them to sell all the district bullsh*t like PLC and and the POLs to the teachers on their campuses. They are asked to provide new teacher support, old teacher support, and even worse asked to observe and discuss performance with teachers in their classrooms. Don't leave out that coaches are on campuses to provide assistance to teachers who primarily are not interested in the help available to them through their coaches. One of the teachers at my school (and by one I mean several) uses our coach as a sounding board for complaints that the coach has nothing to do with. I think the solution to this problem is not getting rid of coaches or ACs, but to get rid of teachers like you who are too afraid of something other than the same old "normal" that got our district in this spot in the first place. Get over yourself and deal with different. You aren't perfect, so don't act like you are.

Grow Up

I'm asking these questions as a taxpayer, and I'd say you gave more information than you ever intended.

If you are stating you are accountable to everyone, then you are actually accountable to no one. Who directly observes your behavior on a consistent basis and completes your evaluation based on your observed behavior and its impact on student achievement? It is those appraisals that may determine whether you have a job after the feds turn down the idiot currently playing superintendent. It is highly improbable that Title I money will be used to keep from riffing instructional coaches, as Hiney planned.

My question regarding your self-pronounced worth centers around the question of using instructional coaches, rather than using these teachers in the classroom full time. If the teachers you "coach" seem inferior to yourself, why is it a good use of taxpayer money to have both of you employed? In the RIF, should the coaches be returned to the classroom and bump those teachers with faulty appraisals?

Or is the coaching position a way to escape the classroom? Why fund both? If coaches are superior teachers, why not put them back on campuses with an extra period to coach other teachers?

By the way, the old "normal" wasn't half as inefficient as the new "normal." Count the number of National Merit Scholars this district USED to produce, and take a look at the current numbers. The same could be said for most measures of achievement (SAT scores, etc).

Be careful about drinking your own kool-aid. We know Hiney the Naked Emperor wasn't exposed fully until lately, but most of us are not fooled by the "reforms" that have left us with mostly low-performing high schools that will probably tank at the end of this school year.

As far as TAKS improvements, those are correlated to nothing, so again, don't take bragging rights when there is no real evidence.

If it comes down to it, will you return to the classroom or quit? Can you make the argument that other teachers should be riffed before you? What are the ethics of using coaches when students in some core classes have permanent subs?

Oh and...

About those teachers from Spruce becoming coaches...it happens like everything else in this district, nepotism and friends helping friends. The problem with our hiring process is that jobs go to sorority sisters instead of qualified individuals.

I am not a coach...

Let me be clear, I am not a coach, I am a first year, AC in this district. I happen to benefit greatly from the coaching of one of the most respected teachers and now coaches in the district. My coach is held accountable to the desires of a district that doesn't know how to properly use coaches. The district would like for coaches to pimp out professional development and the other major reforms that the district has put into place. Truthfully, my coach is outstanding. Not because she tells me I need to use PLC more wisely, or because she tells me how to use the POLs. She helps me be a better teacher because she is a great teacher. And not just because she has had outstanding TAKS scores and awesome AP scores for years. She is a great teacher because she knows what it means to connect with the students in this district. She knows what it means to make the content in my classroom relevant to the world around these students. She knows how to make me want to wake up in the morning because I love the very idea of using everything she has learned over the last 25 years in education will benefit the students looking to me as a responsible party for their success. As wonderful as she is in the classroom as a teacher, she can serve the district and its students so much more effectively by guiding teachers like me, and the other teachers who choose to use her advice and knowledge, in our quest to become the best teachers this district has ever seen. Who is she accountable to? She is accountable to my students, because without her, they would not be receiving the absolutely incredible education she is equipping me to provide them.

That is why good coaches are necessary.

Now the released teachers from spruce that became coaches in the various departments...they have no business doing what they are doing. I am fine with them going wherever they can as long as it is as far away from my students as possible.

AC questions re: coaching

Question: As an AC, aren't you paying for some type of mentor already? If that person is being paid to mentor you, then what need have you of a coach? On the other hand, if the coach is outstanding as a mentor, shouldn't the AC department pay some of his/her salary out of your AC fees and 86 the mentor? Just asking....seems like you are paying one person and being serviced by another. If there are good instructional coaches to be had, then I think the New Teachers Initiative Dept. and AC department could be morphed into one group of "cadre" teachers located on a campus and financed with AC funds. Lastly, if there are instructional coaches on a campus, then why is there a CILT team--that's approximately 10-15k in stipends PER CAMPUS,right? I mean if there are teachers that are providing instructional leadership, then why are they performing at a level that requires coaching? Just seems like alot of wasted money.

More Questions

Again, as a taxpayer seeking the least damage possible to students because of this fiscal nightmare, why aren't these coaches stationed full time on campuses where they continue to teach part time?

We are getting reports of them goofing off, traveling around to campuses, and in general, accomplishing nothing.

Some of them were not master teachers when they were in the classroom, so the question comes up of how they were chosen.

If push comes to shove, should these coaches bump teachers?

And again, why leave kids with permanent subs when these teachers have content knowledge and experience? Wouldn't it be more productive to have them return to campuses and teach part time?

Is there a qualitative difference between those used at different grade levels? Are elementary or middle school or high school coaches more effective?

How did released teachers from Spruce become coaches?

We really do agree...

I would say that you are asking the right questions for all the wrong reasons. Coaches should not be a target for RIFs or be forced back into the classroom just because they are coaches and some of them don't do their jobs. If that was the case, we would all be calling for the dismissal of several board members (ahem, those that went on cruises instead of attending the most important meetings this district has ever faced). The very fact of the entire situation is that right now, we do not need to be aiming the burden of RIF at coaches because some don't do what they should, or at ACs because some will inevitably leave the classroom. We should be aiming the RIF at everyone who has neglected their duties. That means that coaches that don't go to their campuses, or that don't accomplish gains on the campuses they do go to, or teachers that consistently harm their students' performance. If a hospital was facing these kind of lay-offs, you would not blindly aim at all of the interns and residents...you would look at successes and failures. In this situation the district needs to look at teachers on an individual basis and see where we can cut away some of the excess fat. If we continue to point the finger at entire groups of people without looking at every group, we won't be able to get out of the budget crisis and out of the woods with school closings.

I think I ranted for a bit but to sum it up, hold people accountable for their actions, not for the actions of people they cannot control.

ENTIRE GROUPS!!!!

ONLY entire group that can be looked at are Bilinguals!!! They are the chosen ones. So, be careful not to single out any other group, that would be fair. Bilinguals are the only chosen ones. Didnt you get the memo!!!!!

Ummm What?

I don't remember singling out bilinguals. I don't think any one group should be looked at as the solution to this problem. Frankly, I love the idea of bilingual education in elementary schools. It would be wonderful if students could speak English by the time they got to me.

Exactly

If you approach your coach for help, they will gladly help you...typically. There are a few that (like many teachers) do just the bare minimum required. But generally speaking, coaches are there to offer teacher support and guidance. They don't have any administrative authority so they are vulnerable to the desires of administrations and the willingness of teachers to receive their help. Some coaches are more than impressive and have been responsible for huge gains because teachers and administrators have given them the freedom to help students and teachers. However, many teachers at campuses across the district have negative attitudes toward the very idea of coaches, and it is those teachers that ruin the system, not the coach.