Sunday, May 17, 2015

Math Coach Reflections: Goals and Progress for 2014-2015

I am writing a series of posts to wrap up my evaluation and reflection process for the 2014-2015 school year.   I like the process of blogging, and I believe that blogging about my goals and progress can be valuable for both myself and other math coaches (and hopefully any math teacher!).  I also believe that it is important for math coaches to learn about other programs of support, and to use the knowledge of other program successes and challenges to improve their own program.  If you are a math coach or math support provider I would love to hear from you about successes and challenges.  I am guessing that plenty of math teachers will also have great feedback about their district math support program.  Please feel free to share in the comments, or if you write a blogpost you can add your link to the comments.

Below are my goals plus reflection on goals for the 2014-2015 school year.  I took out a few that were mostly logistical (like meet with groups x, y, and z.  You can read about my meetings and calendar in this blogpost).

1.  OBJECTIVE: Send out a Math department survey of needs based on services I think I can provide.

Survey not sent out.  Initially a survey made sense because we are still building our program of support in my district.  After week 1 of school I noticed many emails sent out by admin that would require attention.  In an effort to not add to beginning of the year workload, I held off on sending out a survey.  Instead, I discussed main needs with each department head and checked in with individual teachers and course teams that were interested in getting started with support in curriculum and instructional technology.  Looks like I never sent out a survey, but I did meet with department heads of  both the high schools that I work with along with course teams over 50 times throughout the year.  For next year I am interested in checking in mainly with department heads and course teams to learn about needs.  I'm always happy to work with individual teachers (Over 80 of my meetings this year were with individual teachers), but we've had more success with implementation of common core curriculum and technology at the course team level.

2.  OBJECTIVE: Identify teachers to work with at various points throughout the year on both lesson planning and team teaching. 

This objective is fairly general, and I had a lot of ideas on the different ways that I could work with teachers.

                    i.  Technology integration at the teacher level
                    ii.  Technology integration at the student level
                    iii.  Formative assessment or other instructional strategies 
                    iv.  Concept development lessons aligned with Common Core 
                    v.  Rewrite of current tests to align more closely with Common Core 
                    vi.  Integration of performance task activities and assessments similar to those from the SBAC test. 

            This ended up being the bulk of my job, as it should be (I am a math instructional support teacher if you are reading this blog for the first time).  Time spent on each of the categories was all over the place, so spending some time narrowing the focus for next year might be helpful.  We are also piloting new curriculum, so time will be spent on that area as well.

T         3.  OBJECTIVE: Attend conferences and workshops on math instruction, educational technology, and coaching new teachers.                                                                                                       
            Three of the bigger events that I attended are below:

-California Math Council Northern Section Conference, December 2014
-Silicon Valley CUE conference attended in March 2015
-Laura Lipton Coaching Institute September 2014

There were not as many learning opportunities for math teachers in my area this year as during the 2013-2014 school year.  Hoping for more next year.

4.  OBJECTIVE: Document and share best practices and common core integration lessons/strategies.  Curate this work through a blog for district math teachers.  The purpose of the blog is to share information, and to build a positive culture around sharing and improvement of practice.

This was fairly successful for year 1.  Most teachers opted to subscribe to the blog via email. The district math blog now has 40+ posts with over 500 site hits for 30ish math teachers.  See blog at if interested.  Posts cover topics such as SBAC information, Common Core information, demo lessons, and other great resources.  I'd like to hear more from teachers about how they have used the blog, if at all, and then make it more useful for next year.

5.  OBJECTIVE: Provide training and support around cloud environments.  Share best practices for sharing and collaboration in a cloud environment.

This didn't really happen.  Due to limitations on meeting times, I implemented cloud based learning for teachers during demo lessons.  This was accomplished by using Doctopus in 16 of those classrooms, and by using a google form to collect document links with the other 4 teachers.  Next year my district is moving to the Google Domain and Google Classroom, so I am guessing there will be lots of time to work on this.

The second part of objective 5 was to share best practices for collaborating with Google Docs.  I've met with several teachers about this, and am working on a presentation about collaboration and organization with Drive that will take place in early June.  Wish me luck!  

6.  OBJECTIVE: Locate and develop performance task types of activities and pilot in classrooms.   Share the outcome/experience at department meeting.  Possibility:  Share the outcome/experience via the district math blog. 

These types of activities were piloted with 20 teachers in over 40 sections, reaching over 1000 students!  Outcomes and experiences have been shared at department meetings and on the district blog.  To maximize effectiveness, a lot of the debriefing happens during the lesson as students are working.  I share ways in which I tweaked the lesson from previous demos, and teachers give their take on successes/challenges as well.  

7.  OBJECTIVE: Plan and design professional development for the math departments or course teams based on needs survey and feedback from admin and department heads.

There was less interest in department based professional development this year, as indicated by both department heads and individuals.  Professional development shifted to the course team level, and I was able to work with at least 10 different course teams.  

8.  OBJECTIVE: Identify professional development opportunities for math teachers and assist with the writing of the Curriculum Institute Grants to secure funding.

This has been ongoing. Math teachers attended the CMC North Math conference, Silicon Valley CUE, and we have 18 math teachers signed up for some sort of summer work.

Did I miss anything?  To be clear, this does not tell the entire story of my job as an instructional support teacher.  I meet with administrators and other stakeholders on a regular basis to clarify goals and areas of focus.  

Next steps are to send out an end of year survey to get feedback on the effectiveness of support.  Overall, support was well received, but I believe there is always room for improvement.  More to come on 2014-2015 reflections.

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