Using Coaching and Mentoring to Improve Instructional Quality

by Phyllis Glassman on April 20, 2011

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Student achievement is highly dependent on instructional quality, yet many teachers receive few opportunities for ongoing professional development. Instructional coaching deepens, expands, and sustains professional learning. Effective coaching and mentoring initiatives instill a culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing throughout the entire school community.

An instructional coaching program provides professional learning for teachers that is on-site, on-going, and job embedded.  Instructional coaching provides a direct connection between a teacher’s work in the classroom and the professional development the teacher receives. 

Instructional coaches provide ongoing consistent follow-up by way of demonstrations, observations, team teaching and conversations with teachers as they implement new strategies. Experienced professional mentors provide professional learning opportunities for coaches, offer one-on-one counseling to them, and reflect with them on their evolving practice. 

For the past ten years, Foundations, Inc. has provided districts and schools with coaches and mentors that support the complex task of creating a culture that engages teachers in job-embedded learning activities that are integrated, cooperative, and inquiry based.  With funding from the Annenberg Foundation, a partnership with Developmental Study Center brought instructional coaching to 10 elementary district and charter schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In another project called the Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative, Foundations, Inc. provided instructional and leadership mentors to ensure the integrity and efficacy of coaching practices within schools. ClassroomsFor the Future, a Pennsylvania Department of Education initiative, has engaged Foundations, Inc. to provide coaches to schools within Philadelphia to assist teachers in the integration of technology into content area instruction, grades 5-12.

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