FIE Strategic Coaching
Developments in technology, early childhood education, and the importance of early learning experiences have refocused the care of young children. In order to increase children's language and literacy experiences and close the readiness gaps between children living in poverty and their more affluent peers, teachers are expected to create rich-learning programs that optimize learning for all children characterized by teachers who
- are culturally responsive to the children they teach and to their families,
- not only attend to the care and safety of children but to take seriously the need to help children acquire the knowledge and skills needed to become successful learners,
- use screening and progress monitoring to guide instruction,
- ensure children are achieving expected outcomes and performance standards, and create nurturing and safe environments where exploration, questioning, and taking risks are the norm.
What and how much children learn is highly dependent on the adults with whom they interact. Teachers vary greatly in the amount and kind of preparation they have, increasing some children's learning and limiting the learning of others. To level the playing field requires intervention and support through high-quality professional development for teachers. Effective professional development is job-embedded and collaborative, focuses on instruction and learning, extends over a long period of time, and is supported through intensive and ongoing assistance. At the national, state, and local levels, policy makers and educators are looking to coaching as a means of creating rich-learning programs and ensuring all children have the opportunity to learn to read and read to learn.
Addressing a Critical Need
The Florida Institute of Education created and implemented the FIE Strategic Coaching Model to help build capacity of teachers and address the school readiness gap between children living in poverty and their more affluent peers. Initially, the model focused on improving teacher skills in the areas of reading aloud, oral language, letter/sound knowledge, phonological awareness, and emergent writing. The model has now been expanded to address learning in the content areas of math, science, social studies, and the arts. The model also focuses on developing teacher skills in using conceptual development and teacher-child interactions. The foundation for the model reflects findings from the teaching and learning knowledge bases related to: (1) standards of professional development, (2) effective professional development design, (3) coaching and learning science research, (4) early learning literature, (5) leadership research, and (6) novice to expert research.
Intensive and Ongoing Support for Coaches
Beginning in 2002, FIE has implemented summer institutes for coaches. FIE has also provided ongoing professional development and support for coaches through regional meetings, weekly coaching seminars, technical assistance, and site-based consultations. Coaches from Jacksonville, across the state of Florida, and from other states have participated in the FIE coaching institutes.
Four Strategic Components and Associated Core Competencies