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Columbus City Schools Celebrates Instructional Coaches

Instructional Coaches Day

October 6, 2022 -- Columbus City Schools is excited to celebrate Instructional Coaches Day! But what exactly is an Instructional Coach?

"Instructional coaches partner with teachers to analyze current reality, set goals, identify and explain teaching strategies to hit the goals, and provide support until the goals are met," said Jim Knight, a leader in the instructional coaching field.

Coaches partner with teachers to set powerful, emotionally compelling, reachable, and student-focused goals to improve student outcomes.

"It would be difficult to overstate the importance of instructional coaches. Coaches play a critical role in building teacher capacity through specific, real-time, ongoing support and feedback,” said Dr. Todd Walker, Chief Curriculum and Instruction Officer at Columbus City Schools.

The District’s instructional coaching model follows the tenants of Knight's work. The model began with a small cohort of CCS schools during the 2021-2022 school year. Here were a few conversations that took place:

  • "Over the summer before school even started, I went to drop books off in my building. A teacher who was at the school asked me to look over her plans and critique her learning intentions and success criteria. She asked for coaching before the year even started!"
  • "A teacher came into my room and asked if she could talk to me. I quickly said yes, and offered her a seat. She then shared her thoughts and a few goals that she has for herself in regards to implementing the curriculum. We discussed the importance of engagement and how it helps to keep positive student behaviors when students are more engaged. We left the conversation by scheduling me to visit her room next week."

There are now 113 CCS Instructional Coaches in the District, with at least one in every CCS school. The District also has three Mentor Coaches that support Instructional Coaches in the schools. In addition, coaches receive ongoing, differentiated, high-quality professional learning from the Instructional Coaching Group founded by Knight.

The 7 Partnership Principles guide the coaching model: Equality, Choice, Voice, Dialogue, Reflection, Praxis, and Reciprocity. In addition, instructional coaches use a process called the Impact Cycle to help teachers set and hit powerful goals.

"We are creating a different culture, one that is more intentional about helping our teachers in a very safe and a strategic way," said Dr. Talisa Dixon, Superintendent at Columbus City Schools.

We recognize and thank the Instructional Coaches that support our teachers and students. Thank you for all you do!