How virtual learning coaches support powerful school growth

Equipping educators with customizable PD and data to change student outcomes
By: | Issue: March 2020 | Thought Leadership
March 18, 2020

Q&A with Christine Fletcher, Virtual Learning Coach, Istation

What are the critical elements for creating a sustainable professional development model for educators?
First, there needs to be a shared understanding of what constitutes effective teaching and robust data behind that to create an aligned, rigorous and conventional student-assessment system. Second, essential common strategies to improve teacher practice, such as high-quality coaching, are needed. A well-designed teacher development process with clear communication drives measurable learning for students. Lastly, it is vital to have administration buy-in. PD needs both teachers and administrators to develop the vision, language and tools to observe, analyze and lead classroom instruction.

How do virtual PD coaches help educators uncover growth opportunities and support objectives?
Effective PD should focus on classroom instruction and use research-based content. Technology training for instructors unlocks the learning potential in students through the use of integrated tools.

At Istation, our virtual learning coaches are former teachers who possess real-world instructional experience. They create customized, hands-on workshops that help navigate our resources, and provide best practices and proven-to-work approaches that are meaningful for the educator.

Why is it essential to have data to support instruction and drive professional learning communities?
Data about students, teachers and administrators supports instruction and the content of active PD. Evidence-based and data-driven approaches to PLCs encourage reflection, inquiry and dialogue. When PD starts with data analysis, it will better align to school goals and meet the unique needs of educators in individual, team and schoolwide PLCs.

“At Istation, our virtual learning coaches are former teachers who possess real-world instructional experience. They create customized, hands-on workshops that help navigate our resources.”

How does real-time data combined with PD provide immediate action steps and strategies?
Real-time data helps teachers reflect on, analyze and plan instruction. Teachers who monitor student progress and use data to inform planning and decision-making have higher student outcomes than those who do not. Data can identify at-risk students, provide automatic and continuous progress
monitoring, and facilitate differentiated instruction. Istation’s PD team helps educators interpret that data through technical support resources and an extensive library of implementation, product training video and step-by-step instructions to help educators see classroom success.

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