MyNotes: Beginning My Exploration of Student-Centered Coaching

“When schools lack a clearly articulated coaching model, confusion reigns and a precious resource is wasted.” -EL Magazine

In this fantastic book, Student-Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals, Diane Sweeney nails the essence of instructional coaching. As I read her book, listened to her videos, I was struck by how easy Diane made it seem (which is a testament to her writing and organization!). For example, check out the seven core practices:

Seven Core Practices for Student-Centered Coaching
  1. Setting student learning goals for coaching cycles
  2. Creating learning targets for coaching cycles
  3. Using student evidence to co-plan instruction
  4. Organizing coaching through coaching cycles
  5. Co-teaching with a focus on effective teaching practice
  6. Measuring the impact of coaching on student and teacher learning
  7. Partnering with the school leader (Source)

Diane had thought through much of what coaches actually need to know and then put the tools together. It was one of the most comprehensive books on coaching I have read (or begun to read). What's cool is that there's an online course you can go through.

As you might imagine, it's now on my reading list and I'm making my way through it in my Amazon Kindle app. I want to read her other books, but I had to start somewhere.
Learn more at

Unintended Discovery

The funny thing, I'd stumbled on Diane Sweeney's Twitter account (@SweeneyDiane) by accident. I'd been skimming my Twitter feed, and found a tweet from my friends at the SAISD Curriculum office. They had just had Diane over for some professional development in the last two weeks (I kicked myself, I could have snuck into the room, certainly, and listened in). Since I didn't know about Diane's work, I googled her and, "OH MY GOSH! I HIT THE JACKPOT!"

"Effective coaching makes it easier for teachers to learn and implement new ideas. Indeed, without follow-up such as coaching, most professional learning will have little effect." -Jim Knight

They say an unintended, fortunate discovery is serendipity. I guess it was. The reason why is that I had decided to revamp my digital coaching workshop, well-received at the TCEA Elementary Technology Conference and TCEA Area 1 Conference this year, because I felt like it needed something more.

Something More

What was the something more? In the brief time of a workshop, what I noticed was that I was talking about coaching, not showing what coaching was. The problem with that, though, was that my workshop was focused primarily on introducing coaching's big picture to edtech folks who were trying to figure out how to use coaching to push edtech. With all the Schmoker, Hattie, Magana, Fisher and Frey, I've been packing into my reading schedule these past few weeks, I found myself wanting to also caution new edtech coaches (a.k.a. "digital coaches") about what to be careful about.

What's more, I felt that my scenario-based activities needed a bit more scaffolding. From my time facilitating Reciprocal Teaching workshops for TCEA, I realized that sentence stems might come in handy. While I had some frameworks and ideas for various coaching models, once I saw Diane's work, I realized that I needed to showcase her ideas. I'm working on a blog entry for TCEA TechNotes on the subject of coaching models (I have it burning in my brain even now, and it's dying to get out).

So, in this blog entry, I start my exploration and share my takeaways from Diane Sweeney's book. But you know what? I'm going to encourage you to check out her blog and this video before I do that.

I'm super excited to share what's next in this book. Of course, you can read an outline on Diane's website. You won't regret it!

Would You Buy the Book?

Yes, you bet! It's a must-read. The Kindle or ebook set me back about $30. Definitely worth the investment, however.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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