For the upcoming school year, my building just added an instructional design coach. This position will be new to the high school as we pilot for the other high schools in our district. An instructional coach is a supporting role for teachers – guiding teachers through the coaching cycle or model. There are many different models or cycles that can be followed. Click here to view the Future Ready Instructional Coach Framework.
When looking at this framework, I noticed overlap with the framework for instructional coaches and school librarians. Click the two resources below from AASL and Future Ready to analyze the librarian framework.
- Future Ready Framework for Librarians
- National School Library Standards crosswalk with Future Ready Librarians
I am fortunate to have a supportive principal that saw an opportunity to add teacher support and immediately got the library staff involved. The two school librarians and the principal met to discuss our pros and cons of adding this position to the building. I was honest about my fears which included fearing the roles will overlap and a competitiveness between the two positions that could develop. I discussed the importance of having a team approach and casting a vision that the coach would at times work with us and at times be able to work with individual teachers on instructional strategies in the classroom.
The principal included us in the interview process and asked for feedback throughout the process. It was exciting to see potential candidates be open about a team approach and thinking outside the box when creating the coaching position.
But now, the school year is upon us and we have so many questions about making a strong first impression with our faculty about this team. The instructional coach is a teacher from our building who is an amazing classroom teacher and strong library collaborator. He has a strong understanding of the importance of school libraries and school librarians and he is excited about the way we can craft the team.
If I have a chance to figure out a dream scenario, it would be this – I see a classroom teacher coming to the school library (or I visit a PLC or classroom during plan time) and we discuss a possible research project. We discuss the objectives and the research process. We determine the needs of students and background knowledge. We solidify the best technology tools for this project. We discuss how to assess the process and the product. At this point the teacher asks about a rubric and how this can fit into the unit assessment. I find our instructional coach and bring him into the conversation (if he is not already). He is able to give input about the assessment and continues to explore the entire unit with the classroom teacher. They begin to discuss lessons leading up to this unit. The coach may even plan another meeting to discuss more questions and ways to work with the teacher. The class arrives at the scheduled time in the school library and the classroom teacher and I co-teach a lesson(s). We work with students in small groups and individually through the research process. The classroom teacher and I work together to assess the final product and process. The instructional coach follows-up with us to reflect on the process.
As I think about the difference and similarities between our roles, I created a graphic organizer. (This is a draft document.)
I have many questions for those of you that work with instructional coaches in your building.
- How do you work with instructional coaches in your building?
- Do you work together? Do you notice overlap in the duties?
- What would you have done differently in the beginning?
I would appreciate any advice. Please comment below or send me a message on Twitter .
Author: Becca Munson
Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.