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Coaches' Corner - November 2016

Coaches' Corner - November 2016
Posted on 11/03/2016
Welcome to the VLUS Coaches’ Corner. This is a new monthly feature in which Sarah Foleno and Matt Dunkel, the VLUS instructional coaches, will share some of the important professional learning that our teachers are doing together. VLUS teachers are constantly collaborating to improve their teaching practice, and we’re excited to share their learning with the entire VLUS community.

Since this is the first edition of the Coaches’ Corner, we’ll start with an overview. The VLUS Mission Statement says our school is “committed to collaboration and creating environments in which all students learn at high levels.” To that end, we’ve established a multi-year goal for school-wide professional learning: “Strong professional learning communities across the school will improve instruction and contribute to high achievement and growth for all students.”

In 2016-17, there are four main ways in which teachers are working toward this goal:
–Each grade-level team participates in weekly Teacher Rounds. Teachers observe colleagues’ classes, debrief, and use what they’ve seen to experiment with new teaching practices in their own classrooms.
–To enhance collaboration in our co-taught classrooms, general educators and special educators are participating in weekly (or bi-weekly) Co-Planning sessions. These sessions are facilitated by a coach, based on the Co-Teaching frameworks of Dr. Marilyn Friend.
Content teams (both Math and Literacy) are collaborating to share effective practices and build coherence across grades and programs.
–On a quarterly basis, ELA and Math teachers are using data meetings and/or formative assessment feedback days to analyze student progress and improve instruction.

We’re already seeing signs that these school-based structures are having a positive impact. For example, in last year’s spring survey, teachers agreed strongly that VLUS learning communities “are structured for teachers to engage in the continuous improvement cycle (i.e., data analysis, planning, implementation, reflection, and evaluation).” Stay tuned for next month, when we’ll take a deeper dive into the week-to-week learning that teachers are doing to serve their students even better.