Refining Coaching Practices for Impact

“The puzzle really came together for me here as far as the expectations of coaches and teachers in the coaching relationship and how to best support teachers in helping them to grow.”  

~Technology Training/Integration Specialist, Cobb County Public Schools

When a team of highly accomplished educators decide that they are ready to refine their coaching practices and measure the impact of their work, the challenge is to put together the right tools and process. Through numerous conversations, it became evident that the Profile for Innovative Educators (PIE) may be just the tool to amplify the work of the Technology Training/Integration Specialists (TTIS) in Cobb County School District.

PIE, the framework, is a validated growth tool that includes a progression of teacher competencies along a continuum of four domains. As one might expect, progressions for an innovative educator are complex. To truly leverage the power of the tool as part of a coaching process, all stakeholders would need to value the alignment of the tool to desired coaching outcomes and existing expectations, and have a common understanding of the language used in the progression. These two drivers provided direction for the work throughout the winter and spring.  


The TTIS team leads collaborated with ALP consultant on the design of the orientation session to ensure each team member could find an entry point for the work. Throughout the course of the first day together, each TTIS had the opportunity to dig deep into growth mindset, the design of the PIE framework, the connections to other district frameworks, and the alignment to the coaching process. As the team explored the language, they pointed toward examples of things they are seeing implemented in classrooms that are reflective of language in the framework. They also practiced applying the language in a coaching scenario based on a videotaped lesson. After having input into the implementation plan that they would pilot for the remainder of the year, each TTIS made a commitment to practice part of the process with one teacher before the next session.

A Second Helping

With an overarching understanding of PIE and some experiences applying the framework and process with a teacher, the specialists were prepared for the next challenge. The second session was co-designed to refine skills in addressing current challenges, preparing the TTIS to support teachers as they develop along the continuum. After reflecting on the first round of the PIE process and addressing current challenges, the team started to “dream big,” exploring the possibilities for each of the domains. This brainstorm turned into exemplars that would fuel the next phase of implementation- a curation of resources that the TTIS could use to support teachers as they pursue their teacher-defined goals.

Deep Dive

With a few months of practice using the language with teammates and implementing the process with a teacher, the team had an appreciation for the need to calibrate around the language in the framework and discuss high-yield coaching strategies. The video reflections and discussions from previous sessions had helped, but could never replace the power of authentic job-embedded experiences. So the team formed small groups to visit classrooms and engaged in ALP facilitated “PIE conversations.” Modeling the use of the tool in different ways, the TTIS practiced using common language to ask questions and try out coaching moves.

The internal struggles that were revealed during each session and the feedback shared each month pointed directly toward the need for multiple points of contact, support and resources to fully actualize the vision.  It was clear that in order to help the team own the framework and shift practice to incorporate PIE into their coaching cycles, it would take identifying the pieces of the puzzle and helping each individual engage in experiences to place the pieces.



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