Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Moving forward; looking back

Look how far we have come! Where are we going?

The past 5 years have been a blessing. It has been such a marvelous opportunity to work with 700 Instructional Technology Coaches across PA. They are a most devoted group of educators.

I want to begin by commending our first cohort of coaches during our initial year. There were about 90 of them. We kidded that we were building a plane in the air, but, in a real sense, it was true. We really had no idea what it was going to take to get a laptop on every child's desk in the 4 core four subject areas, nor what they were going to do with them once they got there! In addition, we didn't know if the grant would be a one-shot deal or last for years. So, if they received 4 carts in the first year, was that all they'd get? And, what on earth, was a coach to do?

It was baptism by fire! The rollout began with formal professional development for every teacher in the grant. The coach would facilitate the PD in most cases. This would lay the groundwork for what CFF was all about. I remember the number of emails we received on our listserv 24/7, as we figured it all out. This part-time job had me working nights and weekends, and I loved it!

As we began to see the pictures of stacks of boxes arriving on loading docks, the resource management piece unfolded. Should a coach be spending time unpacking and setting up equipment? In many cases, we knew that if the coach didn't step in, it would be weeks before they could do any coaching! In other cases, a tremendous support staff moved into action, and the coach began coaching even before equipment arrived. They visited classrooms to get a sense of teacher style. They talked about curriculum with teachers. And they co-planned. By the time the equipment arrived, they were ready to go into action!

More to come...this is only the beginning.

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