The Role of Instructional Coach and Prinicpal in Support of College Readiness Standards in High School Writing: a Case Study
Fitzgerald, Nancy 1954-
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Writing is the gatekeeper for college readiness. It is critical to marry the relationship of writing to the processes of analysis and synthesis, the levels at which college readiness is assessed. As more and more teachers enter the teaching field needing systemic support during their first years of teaching, instructional coaching provides that specific content knowledge. The differentiated support that instructional coaching offers teachers is viewed as the single most powerful answer to the question of what policies and procedures a school leader needs to put in place in order to develop and retain teachers and address the college readiness standards. Researchers have identified four cornerstones necessary to every teacher’s repertoire: classroom behavior, content knowledge, instruction, and formative assessment. These cornerstones of professional development define an instructional coach’s workspace and provide a school leader’s framework for organizing, communicating, and implementing learning goals. One high school instructional coach, purposefully selected to participate in this case study, illustrates how a job-embedded model of professional development implemented with fidelity to Jim Knight’s The Big Four principles and supported by campus leadership impacts college readiness standards in writing. The instructional coach’s impact strengthens when campus administration supports instruction with the constructs of a professional learning community. The foundation of the work is a focus interview and surveys with the 9th grade English language arts teachers and their interactions with the instructional coach and campus administration in one suburban high school. Observations, instructional coaching interviews, campus administration interviews, and archival records gathered throughout the school year reinforce the data collection process and provide substantial documentation for the case study.