An article co-authored by two local educators in the international Journal of Reading Recovery describes the Long Beach Unified School District’s expanded use of effective coaching techniques to help teachers and administrators continually improve their craft.
The article, “The Sweet Spot of Coaching: Where Teachers and Administrators Find Common Ground While Developing a Comprehensive Literacy System,” appears in the Spring 2019 edition of the Journal of Reading Recovery and is co-authored by Jill Baker and Kathleen A. Brown. Baker is LBUSD’s deputy superintendent of schools. Brown has worked for 35 years as a teacher, literacy specialist and Reading Recovery teacher leader.
Reading Recovery aims to reduce the number of first graders who have difficulty learning to read and write. The journal is produced by the Reading Recovery Council of North America, a not-for-profit association of professionals, advocates and partners.
The article notes that the effectiveness of coaching on performance is well-documented across industries. In LBUSD, coaching is key to maintaining the school district’s high rate of teacher retention (95 percent) while developing teachers as leaders. Almost all of the school district’s administrators come from within the teacher ranks.
The 10-page piece delves into a modern history of professional development that began here more than two decades ago, describing a collaborative system built on trust and a commitment to continuous improvement. Coaching, once an isolated activity between two teachers, is now used between fellow teachers, between fellow administrators, and between administrators and teachers. Collaboration among these personnel includes discussions of school walkthroughs, a process that is detailed in the article.
The school district’s model of coaching transcends rank, allowing for everyone to maintain a learner stance. For example, this approach results in an assistant superintendent being able to actively learn from a literacy teacher, and a literacy teacher to actively learn from a peer or administrator.
“Whole-school improvement and the development of comprehensive literacy systems must involve teachers, school administrators and central office leaders – all of whom collaborate, communicate and contribute to the sweet spot that reveals itself from working together,” the article states.
Read the full report .