Frequently Asked Questions

What is Coaching for Learning?

The WVDE is working to build the capacity of state educators to continuously improve their practice through the use of coaches. Coaches work closely with school leadership teams, teacher collaborative teams and individual teachers to provide intensive and ongoing, job-embedded and relevant support aimed at improving teacher practice that translates into increased student achievement. This system of support is called Coaching for Learning and the work is called "Coaching for School Growth".

Coaching for Learning Goals:

  • Elevate and improve teacher practice by supporting team development
  • Build the capacity for Peer Assistance and Peer Coaching through the collaborative teaming process
  • Provide technical assistance to beginning teachers and their mentors through a supported induction process
  • Assist coaches by maintaining a supported community of learning and practice

What does research say about the effectiveness of coaches?

According to research (as indicated in the chart below), without technical assistance and support after professional development, the knowledge and skills presented in trainings are not carried over into the classroom. Because teacher effectiveness is the single most important school-based factor in student success, it is imperative that school systems provide support for improving teacher practice. Students who have highly effective teachers for three years in a row will score 50 percentile points higher on achievement tests than students who have less effective teachers three years in a row (Sanders & Rivers, 1996).

How will Coaching for Learning support coaches?

  • Providing resources through Web sites:
    • WVDE Coaching for Learning web site
    • WVDE Title I and Title II web sites
  • Advocating for the hiring of coaches to support teacher development and school improvement
  • Facilitating meetings (face-to-face trainings) where coaches can meet, team, network & learn
  • Promoting networking and sharing resources among coaches through:
    • Online real-time Meeting Rooms
    • Coaches' Online Networking Platform (Edmodo)
    • Sharing of email addresses, role-alike listings & coaches' Listserve

How do coaches provide support for ALL teachers leading to positive outcomes for all students?

Coaches can influence such things as:

A school culture that has:

  • a sense of collective responsibility for all students, not just individual responsibility for some
  • learning at its heart -- where teachers continually learn for their practices
  • school, staffroom and classroom environments where teachers can talk about their teaching
  • room for all to make and correct errors -- and learn from them
  • a sense of trust and openness between stakeholders
  • a strong collaborative work culture that develops long-term capacity for change

Increased teacher effectiveness by:

  • Facilitating collaborative teaming among teachers
  • Guiding the work of continuous improvement through collaborative teaming and individual goal setting
  • Promoting the use of data to set goals and monitor progress
  • Helping teachers discuss, evaluate, and plan their teaching in light of the feedback evidence about learning (good and bad)
  • Imparting knowledge of effective strategies and then monitoring implementation
  • Customizing professional development to match individual teacher needs and interests
  • Providing quality feedback to teachers based on data from observations
  • Collaborating with others to set high expectations for instructional performance
  • Being a resource on such things as effective lesson design, curriculum alignment, formative and summative assessments, the effective use of data, classroom management, etc.
  • Creating opportunities for learning and sharing within and outside of the school
  • Provide access to materials or equipment
  • Modeling, co-teaching, doing observations and holding reflective conversations, setting up observation visits to highly-effective classrooms, and having conversations around data
  • Collaborate with other state/district/school personnel to support teachers through professional development, the dissemination of information or materials, etc.

What monies can be used to fund coaches?

Title I, Title II, and Rural and Low Income Schools (RLIS) monies can be used to fund coaches.

Since coaches use the latest research to implement comprehensive, school-wide instructional reform strategies and promote student achievement through the use of data, academic coaching can be- and has been- supported through the use of various federal funds.

Under the federal school improvement grants (SIG), can districts/schools use an academic coach as part of their "school transformation" process?

Yes, coaches can assist districts and schools in implementing the many activities required for school transformation under the grant using West Virginia's continuous school improvement process. Coaches could support such required activities as developing teacher and leader effectiveness, building and implementing comprehensive instructional reform strategies through collaborative teaming.

Where can I find out more information about Coaching for Learning?

Contact Linda Bragg using the information at the bottom of this page.