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Tools for Coaches

The role of an instructional coach carries responsibility for developing teacher capacity through building content knowledge and understanding of pedagogy to foster student learning.

We know that effective teacher practice is refined through a structured, collaborative effort among stakeholders across levels of a school system, and it is often helpful to have structured tools and processes to guide collaboration. Here, school leaders can find resources to support their work with teachers.

Developing Strong Collaborations: Principals & Instructional Coaches

Effecting positive change in classroom practice depends on strong collaborative relationships between principals and instructional coaches. This protocol includes guiding questions to support the development of a principal-coach partnership agreement. The tool is based on content from Taking the Lead: New Roles for Teachers and School-based Coaches (Killion et al., 2017) and was adapted by the Charles A. Dana Center as part of a series of supports for coaches.

Professional Teaching Innovation Configuration Maps

The Professional Teaching Innovation Configuration Maps by the Charles A. Dana Center are a suite of tools to gauge current teaching practices at a school. It provides a description of the "ideal" state of professional teaching, then moves along a continuum of progressively less fully realized states, focusing on 6 dimensions: Worthwhile Tasks, The Learning Environment, Teacher Role in Discourse, Student Role in Discourse, Tools for Enhancing Discourse, and Analyses of Teaching and Learning.

Based on the data gathered, a team of educators from a school can then determine where on the Innovation Configuration the teaching practice most closely aligns. This becomes a starting point for conversations by the team to best support the teaching staff on moving forward to the next level as defined by the Innovation Configuration. You can learn more about this resource in the book Making the Most of Your Coaching Investment (2011) by the Charles A. Dana Center.

Clarifying Instructional Leadership Innovation Configuration Map

The Charles A. Dana Center’s Innovation Configuration maps are organized around four dimensions of sound instructional leadership – Strategic Competence, Facilitating Adult Learning, Planning and Collaboration, and Data Support and Analysis. Download an example of the map for Strategic Competence.

For additional information on these tools or to inquire about professional learning opportunities on the use of Innovation Configuration maps and other topics for coaches, contact the Charles A. Dana Center.

Additional Resources

We also recommend these sites and tools by other organizations:
School Reform Initiative protocols 
Project Zero's Thinking Routine Toolbox - Harvard Graduate School of Education
NCSM Coaching Corner