The coaching program at Urban Teachers provides differentiated opportunities for practice through real-time, cognitive, one-on-one, and professional learning community-based (PLC-based) coaching. Through the coaching activities, coaches generate data (i.e., observation notes, comments, next steps, feedback, ratings, or scores) that are shared with the participant. Coaching activities are typically face-to-face but may be enabled by video recording, bug-in-the-ear technology, or virtual conferencing.
Coaching activities can also be categorized by desired outcomes, which fall into one, or both, of the following domains:
DOMAIN 1: COACHING ACTIVITIES THAT FOCUS ON SUPPORTING PARTICIPANTS TO CULTIVATE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH STUDENTS, FAMILIES, COMMUNITIES, AND PEERS
- Alliance-Building opportunities are purposeful experiences between the participant and their coach. This coaching activity ensures that the coach and the participant can establish a productive relationship, learn about each other, and establish trust and mutual agreements. The Urban Teachers coach can use the coaching time allotted per their professional discretion to make informal pop-ins, pulse-check, etc.
- Community Engagement or Walks are opportunities for the participant and their coach to learn more about students, families, the school community, and the situational factors that are unique to their school placement site. The knowledge that is acquired continues to evolve and deepen as they both learn more about the assets and the challenges to equity that exist within the students’ immediate environment. Eventually, the experiences of Community Engagement or Walks should influence the participant and coach to make meaningful adjustments to the instruction, the physical environment, and socio-emotional climate of the classroom. For example, the coach may do a neighborhood realia walk with the participant where items are identified for use in an upcoming lesson, debrief the impact of policies being discussed at a recent school-board meeting, or assist the participant with determining different ways to connect with students and families through home visits.
- The inter-visitation is an opportunity for participants to learn from other educators by visiting their classrooms, observing an aspect of their practice, and setting goals for personal development. During an inter-visitation, participants observe and examine the teaching practice of a fellow classroom teacher who is exhibiting progress in identified areas. Inter-visitations may sometimes be done within a professional learning community, allowing each participant to also converse with their cohort-peers about the shifts they have made in their own instructional practices and glean next steps for shifts in their own work. Inter-visitations are coordinated and supported by the coach; this may include the coach going on the classroom visit with one or multiple participants on their coaching roster.
HOST TEACHER/SCHOOL-BASED COACH MEETING
- The Host Teacher or School-Based Coach Meeting is an opportunity for the participant, coach, and school-based support personnel to triangulate their support of the participant’s entry and transition into the school community and classroom. This time may be used to clarify the roles and expectations for the resident in the classroom or to understand what teaching practices or instructional programs are unique to the placement site. This is also an opportunity for the coach to build relationships with school-based instructional personnel.
DOMAIN 2: COACHING ACTIVITIES THAT FOCUS ON SUPPORTING PARTICIPANTS TO CULTIVATE STRONG, CULTURALLY RELEVANT TEACHING PRACTICES
- An elbow coaching round is a concise, targeted coaching session that includes a real-time coaching component. Feedback to the participant is immediate (during the lesson), guided for implementation through elbow or bug-in-the-ear coaching (during the lesson), and debriefed with the teacher (during and following the lesson). During Elbow Coaching, the coach observes to gather baseline data, determines what feedback to give in-the-moment that will improve the effectiveness of the teaching behaviors, provides elbow coaching and/or models the teaching practice, and then debriefs with the participant after the lesson concludes.
- Cognitive coaching supports the participant by purposefully examining a cross-section of their developing practice. The coach supports them by “zooming in” on the alignment between their lesson planning and implementation. The coach works with the participant to plan or prepare for an upcoming mathematics or English Language Arts lesson. The coach observes the lesson implementation and gathers information about student learning and the participant’s ability to implement effective teaching practices. Following the classroom observation, the coach and participant reflect on the lesson implementation through the lens of examining student learning and the participants level of practice. The coach also provides Glows, Grows, and Next Steps.
LESSON PLANNING OR PREPARING MEETING
- The lesson planning or preparing meeting is a one-on-one, or PLC-based, session that is used for lesson planning with the coach. The goals of lesson planning meeting are expected to change throughout the school year as the teaching practice of the participant and their knowledge of their students increases, e.g. backwards design, long term planning, substitute plans, unit or thematic lesson plans. Participants in clinical placement sites where the curriculum is scripted or mandatory must still demonstrate evidence of their ability to intellectually lesson prepare by reviewing the required content, examining connections to the local instructional standards, anticipating any entry points or barriers to learning for their students, and appropriately modifying/adapting content so that it is relevant and meaningful for the students they serve.
PROGRESS DEBRIEF MEETING
- The progress debrief meeting is a one-on-one coaching conversation that helps the participant synthesize and reflect on their overall practice during the prior coaching round in order to prepare for the next coaching round. The coach may prompt or elicit reflection based on the participant’s level of readiness. The participant is encouraged to identify the Glows and Grows of their teaching practice and establish specific, measurable goals for the work moving forward.
- Self-select coaching takes place within a specific time span during the spring or fall semester and is available only to fellows. This experience allows the participant and coach to differentiate the teaching practices or coaching activities that the participant receives. The goals for self-select coaching can be identified by the participant, the coach, or identified by the site team in alignment with school partner needs. A fellow chooses from any of the Urban Teachers coaching supports during the self-select window (i.e. lesson planning meeting, elbow coaching experience, or community walk).
Observations are used to gather data about the teaching practice performance level of the participant at critical junctures in program matriculation. They focus on a discrete set of teaching practices—the Accountable Teaching Practices (ATPs)—which participants must demonstrate evidence of being able to enact throughout their first three years as teachers.
- The comprehensive observation consists of a pre-conference, lesson observation, and post-conference. The coach and participant review the prepared mathematics or literacy lesson and discuss where the ATPs will be implemented. The coach observes the implemented lesson, gathers evidence, and evaluates the participant on their current level of ability to implement ATPs by assigning a rating for each ATP. Following the classroom observation, the coach conducts a post-conference to share evidence gathered during the observation and to provide clear, specific feedback for growth. The data generated from comprehensive observations are used for accountability decisions.
- Note: This observation type is only used at our Dallas Fort Worth site in order to meet the Texas Education Agency requirements.
- The global observation consists of a lesson observation and post-conference. The Urban Teachers participant provides the prepared lesson and details about when the ATPs will be implemented prior to the observation. The coach reviews the submitted information, observes instruction, provides post-conference Glows, Grows, and Next Steps for the participant, and assigns a rating for each ATP. The post-conference may be in person or by virtual conference. The data generated from global observations are used for accountability decisions.
- Note: This observation type is only used at our Baltimore and District of Columbia sites.
- The independent observation consists of a lesson observation and written feedback. This observer is an Urban Teacher coach who is not the assigned coach of the participant. Participants are observed for a full lesson and evaluated on their current level of ability to implement the ATPs by assigning a rating to each ATP. The Independent Observer does not post-conference with the participant, and they provide written feedback within 24-36 hours after the observation. The data generated from independent observations are used for accountability decisions.
COACHING SCOPE & SEQUENCE
The scope and sequence for coaching outlines the types of activities and the frequency by which they occur throughout the first three years of the participant’s teaching career. It includes the coaching and the observation activities. The current coaching program scope and sequence for three program years can be found here.