WORTHINGTON Since 2018, District 518 has partnered with Southwest West Central Service Cooperative in Marshall and the New Teacher Center to train instructional coaches who support both new and tenured teachers in Worthington. Instructional coaches work beside teachers to increase teacher effectiveness, reflect on instructional practice and improve student achievement. Through training, instructional coaches gain knowledge of teaching strategies, standards alignment, and how to engage teachers in conversations that elicit reflection and goal setting.

Instructional coaches work beside new, non-tenured teachers for 30-90 minutes each week. The work consists of goal setting, analyzing student learning through the examination of assessments, lesson planning with clear learning objectives that are aligned with state standards, and classroom observation focusing on various areas of teaching and learning. Coaching keeps students at the center of every session by paying close attention to the emotional, social and academic needs of every learner. Each week brings new discoveries and conversations that lead to greater classroom success.

Tenured staff meet with instructional coaches as part of the state of Minnesota’s statute to establish a three-year professional review cycle. This includes an individual growth and development plan, a peer review process, the opportunity to participate in a professional learning community and at least one summative evaluation by a school administrator. The school year begins with meetings to build rapport and assist tenured staff with creating SMART goals to help guide their professional and instructional growth. Staff meet with their coach to complete an observation cycle and set action steps for moving forward with refining their craft and instruction for students. At the end of the school year, they meet again to review progress toward meeting their professional and instructional goals and to look ahead at the upcoming year to consider new goals for continued growth.

The instructional coaching framework that District 518 has adopted is centered around teacher and student growth. Both teachers and coaches are excited to continue to grow and improve teaching and learning through the job-embedded support they are provided by this program.

Julie Bauman, Valerie Spielman and Tessa Dierks are District 518 instructional coaches.