Participants in the first three years of the program receive coaching support with a designated coach. The conversations, questions, and meaning-making that take place in coaching conversations establish the blueprint for the recursive planning, implementation, and reflection cycle that effective teachers employ throughout their careers. Urban Teachers expects its teachers to monitor and understand their observation feedback and scores.
Above all, the intent of the coaching is to develop habits of mind that will serve Urban Teachers educators throughout their teaching careers. Being an excellent teacher is difficult work that takes significant time. Urban Teachers’ participants – the primary learners in this process – have to be highly engaged and deliberately invested, while being continuously mindful about the ways in which their practice is growing.
THE COACHING ROUND
Coaches conduct numerous classroom visits, using the Teacher Practice Rubric (TPR) to assess implementation of specific teaching practices. These on-site visits include planning meetings, comprehensive coaching cycles, and focused observations. Much of this feedback is immediate and actionable. Coaching cycle observation results are posted promptly on the EdReflect online platform, which is accessible to all program participants.
The coaching work takes place in rounds. The intent is to give participants multiple ways to step into and own the coaching support. The varied formats and opportunities for differentiation provide ongoing, regular guidance and instruction to residents and fellows. Each coaching round is intended to give participants opportunities for support, practice, and reflection over time.
Planning meetings are dialogues centered on specific areas of teacher practice. While the planning meeting may be scheduled and facilitated by an Urban Teachers coach, the participant actively contributes to the shared goals of the meeting. Participants may reflect on their current level of teaching practice, plan and prepare for shifts in their instructional work, or even rehearse teaching moves under the guidance and direction of their coach. Specific observable and measurable action steps and timelines are identified by the end of each planning meeting.
A classroom observation provides the opportunity for the coach to gather relevant data on the participant’s developing practice within the context that matter most, with K-12 students. Classroom observations may sometimes be unannounced. The data that the coach gathers is used to inform coaching work that will be coming up and/or look for evidence of the solidification of the coaching work that has already taken place. Each observation, regardless of purpose, provides the participant with targeted, constructive feedback.
Comprehensive Coaching Cycles:
The comprehensive coaching cycle is a metacognitive approach to the coaching work. The comprehensive coaching cycle may be conducted face-to-face or take place through a virtual video model. The coach may support the participant with the development of a lesson that targets both instructional goals for students in the classroom and the participant’s teaching practice. The coach then observes the lesson as it is conducted. Finally, the coach provides feedback for growth to the participant on their teaching practice and student understanding. Comprehensive coaching cycles support participants to critically examine and reflect on how their teaching practice can improve. Comprehensive coaching is an evaluative observation of the participant’s clinical practices. Urban Teachers residents and fellows receive feedback and scores on their performance on the selected indicators from the Teacher Practice Rubric (TPR).
A focused observation is a concise, targeted coaching session that implements a “real time” coaching approach. The focused observation is sometimes unannounced. Focused observations provide an opportunity for the resident to demonstrate that they can enact the feedback that their coach is providing. The focused observation is typically short in duration, with the coach observing for finite, discrete behaviors. The coach observes the participant to gather baseline data and determines what feedback to give in the moment that will help that participant improve the lesson. Coaches often provide “elbow coaching” or employ “bug-in-the-ear” technology to guide the participant with implementing the feedback in the moment. The coach debriefs with the participant after the conclusion of the focused observation session or the actual classroom lesson.
During arranged inter-visitations, participants conduct site visits to other K-12 classrooms. The logistics of the visits are coordinated and supported by the coach in order to provide the participant with an opportunity to learn from the practice of others. In many instances, the coach may accompany their participant to help guide their observation lens. Participants have an opportunity to focus on and examine the practice of a classroom teacher who is exhibiting progress or high levels of skill in specific areas aligned to the Teacher Practice Rubric. Participants may also have an opportunity to observe and converse with their peers about the shifts that have been made in their own instructional practices.
A progress debrief is a coaching conversation that helps a participant reflect on their overall practice over a period of time (e.g., an instructional quarter or semester). As the coach encourages the participant to examine available data, identify the successes and challenges in their work, and set goals for future practice. More importantly, the participant is asked to set explicit goals for moving forward. The progress debriefs support participants with being reflective practitioners and taking ownership of their professional growth. Progress debriefs do not occur at the end of every coaching round. Residents and Year 1 fellows will have progress debriefs at the end of Summer Institute and prior to the second comprehensive coaching cycle. Year 2 fellows will have a progress debrief prior to the second comprehensive coaching cycle if they are not on pace to meeting program expectations.
The independent observation is an evaluative observation of the teacher’s clinical practices within an identified evaluation period. An independent observation is always a scheduled observation. This observation is conducted by a neutral, qualified observer, not the participant’s assigned coach. The independent observation is used to assess the participant’s performance in targeted areas of practice – the Power Indicators. Although the data from independent observations is used in a summative manner, participants are able to rely on the scores to provide them with formative data.
EdReflect is the online platform that Urban Teachers uses to manage the data derived from coaching and evaluative cycles. Coaches and participants log in to personal accounts to:
- Set appointments for pre-conferences, classroom observations, and post-conferences.
- Upload lesson plans and supporting documentation.
- Tie lessons and feedback to specific strands of the Teacher Practice Rubric.
- Provide self-ratings and feedback to improve practice.
Participants are expected to:
- Receive and acknowledge EdReflect calendar invites (scheduling coaching visits).
- Access EdReflect to review coaching data (e.g., anecdotal data, TPR scores, next steps)
- Upload lesson plans and student work (for comprehensive coaching cycles and independent observations).
- Click the SHARE button to share data with their assigned coach.
Please access EdReflect Support for additional assistance.