We are very excited to share with you details of a plan that we have developed with input from hundreds of our teachers and which we believe will have a very positive impact on the learning experiences of our students. Next fall, we will be expanding coaching and feedback opportunities for our teachers through our SAS Professional Learning Community (PLC) coaching prototype.
Since our founding in 1956, our core commitment at SAS has been to great learning and academic excellence. But this doesn’t just happen by chance—great learning and academic excellence are the results of great teaching. Research is clear that the biggest impact on students’ academic progress at school is the quality of their teachers, and we are fortunate at SAS to have such talented, dedicated teachers.
Our most important long-term priorities at SAS are to recruit and retain talented educators and do all we can to help them learn and further grow in the extraordinarily complex profession of teaching. We know that generally, the most effective way to grow in a very complex profession like teaching is by practicing it, receiving thoughtful and trusted feedback, and then having a chance to reflect and adjust—and to do that on a regular basis. Everyone, including top-performing professionals, benefits from regular, actionable feedback to further develop their professional practice.
In short, the stronger we are as a learning organization of educators, the stronger will be the educational opportunities we offer our students, and the more we will attract and retain excellent educators.
Under the PLC coaching model that we will prototype next year, experienced teacher leaders will coach for approximately half their schedule, supporting teachers on their teams, facilitating peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and strengthening PLC work focused on classroom teaching and learning. The purpose of the prototype is to provide more opportunities to provide teachers professional coaching and to strengthen our PLC teacher teams. To stay firmly grounded in instructional best practices, the PLC coaches will continue to teach for the other half of their schedule. For more detail on the prototype, please click here.
Nearly two dozen teaching teams applied to participate in this prototype next year, and we have selected the following 10 PLC teams and PLC leaders:
Ying Chu - Chinese immersion
Omar Rachid - Elementary and middle school Spanish
Mary Bellone - Second grade
Simon Gustafson - Elementary school music
Jennifer Yang - Elementary school Chinese daily language
Kim Williams- Middle School math
Latham Cameron - Middle school interdisciplinary team
Ashley Quark - High school learning support
Jessica Applewhite - High school science (multiple subjects)
David Knuffke - High school science (multiple subjects)
We are excited about the impact these coaches will have on our students’ learning experiences. Studies conducted by the Aspen Institute and Bain & Company have found that implementing this type of coaching model positively impacts student learning and organizational culture. Speaking from personal experience, I have seen this type of teacher leadership and coaching model work very successfully at schools in the US and internationally.
I am excited about the opportunities ahead of us as a learning organization. As we continue to hire strong educators and invest in them, I am confident we will continue to see terrific learning experiences provided for every student at SAS.