6 key elements to build a successful coaching program

A successful coaching program can have an extraordinarily positive impact on teachers, students, and schools. A recent national survey of educators showed that most districts agree — 75 percent see the connection between coaching, teacher growth, and student achievement.

Here are 6 key elements of successful coaching programs that can serve as a roadmap for building and sustaining a successful instructional coaching program.

1. Create a strong vision for the coaching program…Read More

Hey teachers–what is your ‘why?’

More than half of the teachers in the US are seriously considering leaving the profession earlier than planned. A number of factors have led to this, including Covid-19 learning interruptions, lack of resources and support for teachers, and more.

Right now, teachers are also experiencing burnout at an all-time high. This has shown to impact our students’ learning and future success. In fact, both teacher burnout and constant turnover have serious negative consequences for students. Teachers who are highly dissatisfied with their job and have intentions of leaving can impact their effectiveness and disrupt students’ academic progress.

While the burden to improve teacher conditions lies with school districts, communities, and legislators, both teachers and students benefit when teachers intentionally reflect on and connect with the current that moves them to be a teacher. Every teacher has a reason that drives them to teach–whether it is connecting with learners, sharing content you feel passionate about, believing that every learner deserves a high-quality education, or something else. Every teacher has a “why,” and school districts, departments, and teachers can intentionally build in opportunities for teachers to reflect on their why and connect with colleagues who may share that “why.”…Read More

How to make project-based learning a reality

One of the many reasons I love working for Van Andel Institute for Education is that I get to be a teacher Fairy Godmother. Teaching is an important but difficult job, and sometimes educators can get stuck on a specific need for their classroom. Maybe it’s finding the perfect resource for a lesson or connecting certain content to a project idea.

Whatever the situation calls for, my colleagues and I love to swoop in and help make their dreams a reality. But every Fairy Godmother needs a magic wand to work her wonders, and for my part, there’s no better resource to meet teacher needs than project-based learning.

What is project-based learning, anyway?    …Read More

Problem-based learning helped boost my underserved students’ engagement

As educators, our charge is to impart knowledge onto our students, open new doors for them, and encourage them to stretch beyond their comfort zones. We try to show them every day that they are capable of doing anything that they set their minds to, but how often do we follow our own advice and push our own boundaries to try or learn something new?

As a physical education teacher in an underserved community, finding ways to connect with my classes during the pandemic and a time of remote learning was challenging. With sports being canceled, I was searching for new avenues to engage my students when I came across the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest, a program encouraging problem-based learning.

The contest tasks middle and high school students with identifying a solution to a real-world problem using STEM, and I was hesitant to apply as I do not teach a traditional STEM discipline. However, I knew that my students have a passion for making their community a better place for themselves and their families, and I decided to step outside the box and go for it.…Read More

Kentucky Educational Cooperatives Partner with BloomBoard to Increase Statewide Teacher Retention

Cold Spring, KY and Murray, KY —  Bloomboard, the leading provider of teacher micro-credentials, announces a partnership with  Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services (NKCES) and  West Kentucky Educational Cooperative (WKEC) to administer an innovative, on-the-job  rank change program. This program aims to accelerate the careers of Kentucky teachers while supporting Kentucky school districts’ efforts to attract and retain talent.

“Teacher shortages are affecting the day-to-day demands of teaching and learning in school districts across the state,” said Amy Razor, Executive Director of NKCES. “These programs will support Kentucky school districts by attracting and retaining teachers in a way that’s sustainable to achieve long-term outcomes.”  

The Education Professional Standards Board’s approval of the program qualifies it as a rank change vehicle for teachers to achieve permanent Rank II or Rank I and to receive associated recognition and salary advancement in all public and private school districts in Kentucky. The Foundations in Teaching and Learning program provides an on-the-job approach, allowing educators to learn and demonstrate mastery of subjects by showing what they know in their classroom practice. …Read More

Optoma Unveils “Create. Connect. Inspire.” Teacher-Led Technology Campaign with Creative Touch 5-Series Interactive Flat Panel Displays

FREMONT, CA. – Optoma, a world-leading manufacturer of large display solutions and the #1 4K UHD brand and the #1 DLP® brand worldwide and in the Americas,* today launched its new Creative Touch Interactive Flat Panel Displays (IFPDs) for education and corporate environments. Offering intuitive and easy to use software, the new 5-Series Interactive Flat Panel Displays feature Creative Board, an enhanced whiteboard with a floating toolbar and several annotation tools, bringing collaborative thinking and idea-sharing to life. With new tools and added functionality, Optoma’s IFPDs are the perfect cornerstones for educators and professionals to create and connect their way, enhancing learning and remote collaboration in classrooms, lecture halls, boardrooms and other professional environments. 

Optoma’s range of Creative Touch IFPDs are perfectly suited to accommodate the ever-changing needs of educational environments. Designed to support distance learning, the IFPDs allow students to work together in real time from home, in the classroom, or anywhere, maximizing engagement in remote and hybrid learning environments. With the ability to connect to webcams along with Optoma’s unique software, the Creative Touch 5-Series IFPDs provide the ultimate collaboration solution.  

Customization is front and center with the new IFPDs, which feature several intuitive tools that allow users to modify and tailor the display to their specific needs. The quick-launch pen features a dual-tip, enabling teachers to switch between note taking and highlighting in nearly any color – ensuring lessons flow with ease. Simply take the pen from the holder, and the Creative Board app or annotation mode will launch automatically. …Read More

Using house points and digital coins to promote school values

GEMS American Academy in Abu Dhabi has had a Houses system for a number of years. Over the last few years, while I was working in the PE department, my team and I worked to revamp the system that was in place. The old system meant that students were changing houses each year based on which class they were in. This created some limitations and also meant that students were not learning to be loyal to their house and develop the team spirit.

Last year, I changed from being a PE teacher to being the elementary innovation and technology coach and coordinator, and also joined our PBIS team. As a team, we saw that the faculty wasn’t able to use the old system to support our PBIS framework as well as we wanted.

We’re a K-12 American Curriculum/IB school, so our goal with Houses is to support our learners to develop specific skills that have a positive impact on the school culture. Our elementary school follows the PYP Program, which uses the 10 IB Learner Profile Attributes, which include being principled, caring, and a risk-taker. These help our students to become global citizens.…Read More

Free, On-demand Videos on PLtogether.org Feature Interviews with Education Leaders About Topics Ranging From Professional Development to Teacher Wellness

SAN FRANCISCO – The PLtogether resource site powered by Edthena now features more than 75 video interviews with education experts. Educators can access the free, on-demand “Lounge Talks” video series to hear about and learn effective strategies for a number of timely topics ranging from professional development to teacher wellness.

“Created as part of our commitment to video-powered professional learning, PLtogether helps educators learn from some of the most-respected researchers and thought leaders in education,” said Adam Geller, founder and CEO of Edthena. “The dozens of videos featured on the site provide educators with tactical, bite-sized advice on many of the topics that will matter most to them this school year and beyond.”

The recent PLtogether videos have covered a number of important topics, including:…Read More

How to ensure clear communication with your paraprofessionals

As back-to-school commences this fall, in addition to the students and teachers returning to school buildings, somewhere between 160,000 and 250,000–or more–folks will be joining those students and teachers. Known by a variety of titles, from paraeducator and paraprofessional, to aid, to assistant teacher, these educational support personnel have the least training of people working in schools. Add the fact that most paraprofessionals are assigned to work with students with the most significant needs, and one can see why these positions are difficult to fill and have generally high turnover rates.

There are a couple of things that can be done to better assist paraprofessionals in their roles within schools. The first is to ensure more effective communication between teachers and the paraprofessionals who work with the same students and support them in the classrooms.

Building administrators should make sure that teachers provide clear and direct guidance for paraprofessionals at the beginning of each term. Often, paraprofessionals might be new to education and might not have much time to prepare for their assignment. One effective method is to have teachers who will work with paraprofessionals complete a short checklist explaining the items they want the paraprofessional to focus on and what they would prefer is left to the teacher. Building administrators then need to facilitate conversations between the teacher and paraprofessionals so expectations are clear. Such a practice can help eliminate problems before they arise by ensuing clear expectations are set for each paraprofessional.…Read More