Data as an Instructional Coach Part 2 - Creating a Data Room

Data is a big word when it comes to instructional coaching. As an instructional coach, you are expected to keep track of teacher growth as well as student growth throughout the school year. It is vital to your success as well as the success of your teachers.

 
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One way to ensure you are keeping good track of data is by creating a data room. A data room can be a physical place in the school or you can do something digital.

If you are looking at creating a physical data room in the school, you’ll want to make an overall school goal. Having a “goal display” for each teacher could be very overwhelming for you to keep track of and update regularly.

When you are creating a data room you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Follow the guide below for creating a successful data room in your school.

#1 Location, Location, Location

Whenever you are making a data room or displaying data, you need to be careful where you present your information. Depending on where you put your data display and who has access to that room will make a big difference as to what you can share on the data chart.

If you decide to make your data room a more “public” area such as a classroom or an area parents and students go to, you may not use names. You would need to find some of sort of number system or color system to differentiate between students. I would suggest using:

  • A symbol for each student

  • A student ID number

  • Or a made up number

You should have a key for the data chart in an area where people can look up who is who if they need to know specifics.

If your data room is in a non-public area, you would not have to worry about coding names although you could if you wanted to.

You can have a “goal display” for each teacher if you wish, but you may want to keep that in the teacher’s classroom and the rules for names is that of “public” area.

 #2 Get Creative

Once you have decided on a location for your data room, get creative as to how you are going to display your data.

For example, the Mississippi Department of Education suggests you use STAR Screening Reports in your Data Room. When you display your STAR Report, put each color (green, blue, yellow, and red) on the wall. Then have your teachers fill out a “data card” for each student. Finally, you would put the plot cards on the wall where they belong. You can color code the cards by classroom or section off the wall for each grade as well to keep detailed data.

You can also get creative by using colored tickets. Put the goal on the wall and then put a red, yellow, green, or blue ticket underneath the goal to represent where students are at. As you progress through your coaching you will be able to switch some reds to yellows or greens.

There are several ways to creatively display data in your Data Room. By being creative, you are making the data easier to read and therefore easier to use. The easier your data is to interpret, the easier your job becomes. Teachers will see more of a need for change in areas and the resources you provide will be treasured.

 #3 Accessibility

 While it’s great to have a cute data chart hung up, sometimes it is easier for things to be online for accessibility. When you are putting your data online you need to be aware of the confidentiality rules. I would avoid using student names online because you never know who will get into the system.

 Much like in a Data Room, you can color code areas and put symbols or checkmarks where students are currently measuring along with resources to achieve goals.

 One of the easier parts about an online Data Room is all the data and resources can be in the same place. In addition, there are many free apps out there like Good Drive (formally known as Google Docs).

 Whether you choose to a do a physical or a virtual Data Room, it’s important to display and distribute data regularly so teachers keep their goals at the forefront of their teaching. In addition to keeping data available, make sure you keep resources available. By keeping the data available, you are giving teachers the resources they need to succeed. 

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 Where is your data room located? What do you include in your data room?

Data as an Instructional Coach Part 1 - What Data Do I Track as an Instructional Coach?

A big part of being an effective instructional coach is using data driven information to help your help teachers do more for their students. While data can be your best friend in the classroom, it can be hard to know exactly what kind of data you need to be tracking. Between teachers and students, there is so much to observe. In addition to knowing what to track, it can be difficult to find a way to track your data effectively. So how can we ensure we are tracking the right data?

Follow the tips and hints below for super data tracking!

 
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Teacher Data

Keeping track of your teachers’ progress is data that you should track for your records especially if you have the same teachers year after year. When you first meet your teachers, you’ll set up a goal and the steps that need to happen in order to achieve that goal. After each observation, you should look at the teachers steps and write down anything that happened to get closer to moving up the ladder towards the overall goal.

Tracking when the teacher masters each step and then, of course, the overall goal, is important. You would write down when the goal was achieved and evidence it was achieved. You can track this data on a simple teacher coach goal sheet that you keep with their observation sheets.

Student Data

One of the biggest pieces of data you will be able to utilize as an instructional coach is student data. This is often where your teacher goals come from. You can find where students need the most help by looking at one of the following:

  • Standardized Tests/State Tests

  • Student Observation  

If you are using standardized tests or states tests, you will want to look for specific content areas that need to be built upon.

Once you identify the focus area, you’ll want to make a pretest, find resources to give the teacher to help teach that skill, then, after a sufficient amount of time, you’ll be able to give the students a post test and hopefully see growth. Between the pre-test and the post-test, there should be formal and informal assessments that will show whether students are progressing or not.

When using standardized testing, you would be focusing on the students’ academic success. The data you will track includes:

  • The scores of the pre-test

  • Information about growth in between

  • Strategies that are effective

  • Strategies that aren’t effective

  • The scores of the post-test

You should track all of the physical numbers (the testing data) as well as the strategies and techniques that worked for the students. You can keep track of this data with a corrective action plan and keep it with your observation notes.

If you decide to base your goal off of student observation, you can focus your instructional coaching on either academics or behavior.

You can always observe areas where students seem to struggle. When you see struggling “cues” you can write them down and then make a goal with the teacher. Then you would follow the same steps as before.

  • Set a goal with the teacher

  • Give a pre-test

  • Give formal and informal assessments during instruction

  • Give post-test

After taking the above steps, you’ll track the same type of data you did before.

Sometimes what you are coaching isn’t how to teach an academic concept. You may find yourself coaching a teacher on classroom management. This can be especially true for new teachers. Whenever people are new to something it takes them time to get adjusted to it and you’re there to help them adjust.

When you decide to set a behavioral goal with the teacher, you follow a similar process as you did with academics. You want to make sure write down the overall goal with the teacher. Next you’ll want to find the teacher resources to help the teacher with different strategies to achieve their goal. 

Finally, you work with the teacher and observe how these strategies are working in the classroom. You can keep track of this data by noting student behavior and the overall “fluency” of the classroom. If the classroom is running smoother, the strategies are working.

Keeping data as instructional coach is vital to your success and the success of the teacher. You want to ensure you have clear goals so you have accurate data. As instructional coach you’ll want to keep data for your teachers, you’ll also want to track student success data. Doing both ensures you are helping your teacher help their teachers all year long.

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How do you currently track data for your work as an Instructional Coach?

Choosing Your Instructional Coaching Model

Instructional coaching is an art; just like every type of art, there are several different models you can use to be effective. While there are several different models of arts, it is important you find the right type for the occasion. This holds true for instructional coaching. It’s important that you find a model that works best in your school and in your position.

Time Management for Instructional Coaches ~ What Should I be doing?

One of the biggest struggles in life is not having enough time in a day. This holds true when you are an instructional coach. Upon first getting hired or first getting into the field, the amount of time, paperwork, and observation was probably overwhelming and maybe it still is. Time management is one of the most difficult aspects of being an instructional coach and often times we find ourselves asking: what should I be doing? 

How to maintain your sanity while still being a great Instructional Coach

Being an Instructional Coach can be taxing to say the least. We are teachers of teachers. We are data bases. We are advocates for students. We wear so many hats that sometimes the ones that are most important get put on the backburner. It’s important we remember to pull out the “I’m still a person” hat, “mom/dad” hat, or any other hat we previously enjoyed wearing before school started up again. Not getting to wear all the hats you want to can be frustrating, but wearing too many hats can be downright stressful.

Fostering Strong Relationships Through Positive Feedback

The biggest and most important job we have as instructional coaches is to give feedback to the teachers we work with. While it can be easy to focus on the areas teachers need to improve on, it is always important to provide teachers with positive feedback. There are many ways and reasons to provide positive feedback to teachers and in doing so, you will create stronger relationships with those you work with.