In an effort to build on what they were learning, and to avoid stressing the teachers, Melanie asked the teachers to observe a learning activity in literacy or math and then teach that same lesson in their classroom within a week.
The model has been a real success at Lakelands. They have just started their third term of coaching and all but one teacher, who is new to the school, is involved. Melanie regularly updates the principal every two weeks; sharing who is working with whom and what topics they are working on. These briefings insure the principal understands how Peer Coaching supports the school’s goals. Teachers are focused on improving student learning and making the kids more competent 21st Century learners. He has faith and trust in the program and has continued to use two thirds of the school’s professional development budget, which Melanie is quick to note, “…is really a lot of money for any school,” to support coaching.
Coaching has had a profound effect on school culture. Teachers are routinely collaborating, sharing programs and lesson content. No one is surprised to see a grade four teacher in the kindergarten classroom. Teachers are talking about their student’s improved learning and how they are achieving these goals in the classroom. While the coaching model at Lakelands may be different, it is working.