The STEM Academy for Science Teachers and Leaders is currently providing support to 43 teachers that participated in 90 hours of professional development this past summer. The ongoing support is in the form of one-on-one coaching and professional learning communities; an instructional coach meets with the teachers at least seven times during the academic year, approximately once a month from October – May.
This support for teachers focuses on further honing their use of the knowledge gained from the summer professional development. The Summer Academies focused on active learning, the scientific process standards, deepening content knowledge, and differentiation through social and emotional learning.
The coaching model includes a pre-conference, observation of a lesson, and post-conference. During the pre- and post-conference the coach follows a protocol with questions designed to support the teacher in reflecting on their instructional practices. Additionally, the coach engages the teacher in collegiate conversation to identify one to two areas for the teacher to focus on as they are planning and implementing lessons until the next coaching cycle.
I can hear [my coach’s] voice in my head saying ‘active learning’. It is a big focus in our conversations pre- and post-observation, for which I am grateful. [My coach] has a plethora of ideas and resources to offer when I’m stuck, and [my coach] pushes me *just* enough past my comfort zone that I know my skills are developing at a reasonable rate. – STEM Academy teacher
In addition to the one-on-one coaching cycle, teachers engage in a professional learning community focused on continued professional development from the summer. This gives the teachers an opportunity to spiral back to these topics and reiterate best practices.
The RME coaching team will continue providing ongoing support this spring and then teachers will return to SMU for 90 more hours of professional development in the summer of 2019, followed by one final year of coaching support during the 2019-2020 academic year.