The implementation of instructional coaching : building district systems of support



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Educators continue to search for research-based support for the implementation of strategies and processes associated with improving education. Instructional coaching is one promising and positive strategy to provide ongoing, job-embedded teacher support (Russo, 2004). Despite widespread utilization of instructional coaching, there are few studies that document clear and specific implementation processes of instructional coaching models. As indicated by Russo (2004), more and better school-based research was needed to know whether coaching makes a positive difference. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine how a school district implemented an instructional coaching model to build teacher capacity and improve student achievement. Further, this study attempted to document the processes used to sustain a coaching model as a viable district support system. The following questions guided this research: 1) How do district administrators implement instructional coaching at the district level? 2) How do district administrators measure the effectiveness of the instructional coaching models in place? 3) How do district administrators provide systems of support for instructional coaches? Findings of this study revealed that instructional coaching is implemented in a systemic form of teacher professional development through: funding acquisition, hiring district coaches, expanding coaching, collaborative connections, orientation training, Harvard Instructional Rounds, Common Instructional Framework strategies, Knight's instructional coaching, instructional coaching structures and processes, and instructional coaching implementation challenges. Furthermore, measures of instructional coaching effectiveness is accomplished by applying Common Instructional Framework rubric, applying instructional frameworks, utilizing the GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Wrap-up) model, conducting instructional coaching evaluation, analyzing student achievement data, and conducting a classroom teacher observation. Additionally, providing support of instructional coaches requires administrators to offer: external partnerships, coaching training, systemic methodology, active participation, coaches' quadrants, and mentor assignment. Finally, implications for additional research and practice are offered.