Our instructional coaching team at Wissahickon is the driving force behind professional learning in the district. The Instructional Coach team includes: Marjorie Milunic K-5; Carla Percevault K-5; Nicole Bainbridge Math; Cassidy Alston 6-12; Dianne Krause K-12 Technology and Michael Mandel K-12 Restorative Practices.
They provide support to our teachers, administrators, and students including planning and delivering professional learning workshops, classroom visits to collect data to improve classroom instruction, modelling lessons for teachers, brainstorming ideas for lesson design and assessments, help with instructional technology and goal setting with teachers.
Each year, the coaching team has several goals. In 2022-23, one goal was focused on supporting Kindergarten and First Grade teachers with teaching writing skills. Teachers met with the elementary coach on a monthly basis to share practices, collaborate, and learn with and from each other. At the secondary level, there was a professional learning series offered during district In-service time as well as during the school day on strategies to assist our students in the English Language Development (ELD) program. These are just two examples of how teachers worked with coaches to enhance their own professional practices.
All teachers who enter Wissahickon work with our coaches for their first three years of employment, and other teachers can request to work with coaches anytime. Outside of formal and informal workshops, the work with coaches consists of a coaching cycle that includes the PIR model - Plan, Implement, and Reflect. Teachers and coaches will meet to plan a learning activity, or a classroom visit with data collection, towards a professional goal. Then, the coach and teacher will implement the plan, whether it be a model lesson, a classroom visit, or another type of project. Another meeting will occur with the coach and teacher to reflect on the implementation of the plan and to discuss next steps. This could lead to yet another coaching cycle and continued professional growth for the teacher.