Learning Forward recently hosted a webinar detailing the Coaching with Impact (CWI) research project for Title I middle schools being conducted with The American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Instructional Coaching Group (ICG). In this webinar, the panel of presenters – including Andrew Wayne and Debbie Davidson-Gibbs, researchers at AIR, and Jim Knight and Amy Musante from ICG – break down the partnership approach and the coaching model being used in the project and offer information about the project for any schools interested in participating.

Click to watch webinar

Andrew Wayne, managing researcher at AIR, describes the beginning of the research project as a response to evidence from earlier studies that instructional coaching to increase student engagement is far more impactful on student learning and takes much less of a teacher’s time than other forms of professional development he had studied. After first partnering in 2018, AIR and ICG are now conducting a new study on the impact of instructional coaching.

One of the foundational elements of ICG’s approach to coaching are the Partnership Principles, developed by Jim Knight. Jim provides an overview of each principle, adding questions that can help determine how fully we embrace each principle and how it affects our relationships with others.

The Partnership Principles

  1. Equality: I don’t believe any person or group is more valuable than any other, and I recognize and honor the dignity of every individual.
  2. Choice: I communicate in a way that acknowledges the professional discretion of others by positioning them as decision makers.
  3. Voice: I want to hear what others have to say, and I communicate that clearly.
  4. Dialogue: I believe conversations should consist of a back-and-forth exchange, with all parties hearing and responding to one another’s opinions.
  5. Reflection: I engage in conversations that look back, look at, and look ahead.
  6. Praxis: I structure learning so that it is grounded in real life.
  7. Reciprocity: I enter each conversation open and expecting to learn.

The Partnership Questions

  1. Equality: Do I interrupt or judge others?
  2. Choice: Can I let go of control?
  3. Voice: Do others know that their opinions matter?
  4. Dialogue: Do I see others’ strengths and want what’s best for them? Am I open to being shaped by their ideas?
  5. Reflection: Do I avoid the advice trap?
  6. Praxis: Does our coaching allow sufficient time for necessary adaptations?
  7. Reciprocity: Am I a learner or a judger?

“The more we treat participants as partners, the more engaged we all are and the more we all learn. When coaches treat teachers as partners, the more engaged they both are and the more they both learn about students and instruction.” – Jim Knight

Amy Musante, ICG consultant and coach champion, discusses what instructional coaches do in their work with teachers. The coaching process developed by Jim Knight and used by ICG is the Impact Cycle. Made up of three stages, Identify, Learn, and Improve, the Impact Cycle provides a framework to help teachers meet set and meet instructional goals.

Identify:

  • Teacher gets a clear picture of current reality by watching a video of his lesson or by reviewing observation data (video is best).
  • Teacher works with coach to answer the Identify questions and identify a goal.
  • Teacher identifies a student-focused goal.

Learn:

  • Coach shares a checklist for the chosen teaching strategies.
  • Coach prompts the teacher to modify the practice if the teacher wishes.
  • Teacher chooses an approach to modeling that he would like to observe and identifies a time to watch modeling.
  • Coach provides modeling in one or more formats.
  • Teacher sets a time to implement the practice.

Improve:

  • Teacher implements the practice.
  • Teacher or coach gathers data (in class or while viewing video) on student progress toward the goal.
  • Teacher or coach gathers data (in class or while viewing video) on teacher’s implementation of the practice (usually on the previously viewed checklist).
  • Teacher and coach meet to confirm direction and monitor progress.
  • Teacher and coach make adaptations and plan next actions until the goal is met.

One of the key elements of this process is that the goals set by the teacher are PEERS goals:

Amy also highlights one of the most crucial tools an instructional coach can have: an instructional playbook. An instructional playbook helps coaches deepen their knowledge, then communicate that depth of knowledge effectively.

The Instructional Playbook

An instructional playbook is made up of three parts:

  1. Table of Contents of high-impact strategies
  2. One-pagers (descriptions for each strategy) “What is it?”
  3. Checklists (to help coaches describe each strategy ) “How do you use it?”

About the Coaching with Impact Project

  • U. S. Department of Education – Education Innovation and Research Grant awarded to AIR– no cost to districts
  • Eligibility to participate: Grades 6-8, minimum of 2 Title I middle schools; must have a school-based coach at each participating school
  • Implementation:
    • Starts in fall 2022
    • 3 years
    • 80 total schools within 8-10 districts
    • Impact study

Benefits of Participation

  • Builds a cadre of skilled coaches
  • Builds teacher agency and confidence
  • Develops student writing proficiency
  • Offers a well-established coaching model
  • No cost to the district- 3-year project
  • Builds the research base on the model

Training for School-based ELA Coaches

  • Receive 36 hours of initial training
  • virtually (July 2022)
  • Ongoing support from Jim Knight’s Coach
  • Champions
    • Biweekly 1-1 video conferences
    • Monthly video conferences with other coaches

Impact Study

  • Schools and coaches volunteer to participate
  • Schools in district divided into 2 groups via a lottery approach
  • 3 teacher cohorts and 3 student cohorts
    • 2022-23: 6th grade
    • 2023-24: 7th grade
    • 2024-25: 8th grade

Data Collection

Teachers

  • Classroom video (fall and spring each year)
  • Survey (fall and spring each year)
  • Logs (2-3 times intermittently each year)

Students

  • Survey (1 randomly selected classroom in fall 2022 and spring 2025)
  • Writing assessment (1 randomly selected class (fall 2022 and spring 2025)
  • District ELA assessment data

Project Timeline

Watch the full Zoom webinar.

Find resources mentioned in the webinar.

For more information, please visit the Coaching with Impact website.