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Enhancing Teacher Practice at Charette High School

Jaretta Konneh

Jul 21, 2023

Charette Charter High School in Providence, RI, collaborates with New England Basecamp (NEB) to implement a highly effective instructional coaching program. Through the 5 Step Coaching Cycles and utilization of the Danielson Rubric, NEB coaches provide personalized support to educators, fostering continuous growth and development. The partnership empowers teachers to improve their practice and positively impact student outcomes, aligning with Charette's commitment to academic excellence and strong community relationships.

Instructional coaching is an essential component of professional development, involving an individual who works with teachers in a non-supervisory, supportive capacity (Gallucci et al., 2010). Evidence strongly suggests that a well-designed instructional coaching program can have a positive impact on both teacher practice and student outcomes (Booker et al, 2022). Charette Charter High School, a community-based independent public high school located in Providence RI, is committed to maintaining high academic standards and fostering strong relationships within its community. Recognizing the importance of instructional coaching in improving teacher practice and student outcomes, Charette has partnered with New England Basecamp (NEB), to provide instructional coaching and support to educators.

To achieve this, Nate McMullen (NEB Professional Learning Specialist) and Julie Maruska (NEB Director of Team Talent) supported six educators at Charette High School using 5 Step Coaching Cycles. The process begins with a pre-visit meeting where NEB coaches establish a relationship with the teacher, gain insights into their strengths and challenges, and discuss logistics.

Following the pre-visit meeting, NEB coaches conduct classroom visits, actively observing and taking notes while interacting with students. These visits serve as an opportunity for the coach to gather valuable data and identify areas for improvement. After the class visit, the coach and teacher engage in a reflection session, discussing the observations made during the visit and setting specific targets for improvement. If necessary, the coach may provide additional support by visiting other classrooms or co-planning and co-teaching with the teacher.

The coaching cycle continues with subsequent class visits, during which the coach takes further notes and data related to the targeted areas for improvement. Finally, the coach and teacher engage in a second reflection session, evaluating progress made and reflecting on the overall coaching process. This iterative approach ensures continuous growth and development for teachers and facilitates the implementation of effective instructional practices.

During the 5 Step Coaching Cycle at Charette High School, NEB coaches incorporate the use of the Danielson Rubric, which consists of four domains and 22 components that assess different aspects of teaching practice. These domains include Classroom Environment, Planning and Preparation, Instruction, and Professional Responsibilities. By carefully considering the highest leverage change for each classroom, coaches align their strategies with the relevant components of the rubric, ensuring a direct connection to the established standards of effective teaching practice. 

It's important to note that the Danielson Rubric is not used as a means of judgment or evaluation. Rather, it serves as a guide for focused coaching conversations and supports teachers in their professional development journey. The collaborative and supportive nature of the coaching process fosters a positive learning environment and promotes continuous growth among educators.

The personalized coaching and support provided by NEB have been well-received by Charette teachers, with all participants expressing their appreciation for the valuable assistance they have received. Jose Reynoso, a math teacher at Charette, enthusiastically acknowledges the impact of the coaching, stating, "Everything is very valuable." Allie Roderick, a social studies teacher, appreciates the support she receives from her NEB coach, Nate McMullen, mentioning, "Nate has made it easy to meet online and check-in. He has also sent resources that are relevant to what I am struggling with."

By implementing the 5 Step Coaching Cycles and utilizing the Danielson Rubric, Charette High School and New England Basecamp have established a fruitful partnership that addresses the need for improving teacher practice and enhancing student outcomes. The collaboration between these organizations not only supports Charette's commitment to academic excellence but also helps teachers develop professionally and deliver high-quality instruction. With the continued guidance and support of NEB, Charette remains dedicated to equipping students with the skills they need to become critical thinkers and active contributors to their communities.

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